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March 2006 Archives

March 30, 2006

Brick: where do you eat lunch?


Brick is the debut feature film from 32 year-old writer and director Rian Johnson. It's getting a lot of press about its inventive style: noirish detective movie set in a southern California high school. The concept of the movie is simple but original; it won a special prize at Sundance last year for Originality of Vision.

But I'm happy to say that the movie rises above any gimmicky self-conscious coolness, probably because it's written as a serious murder mystery with all the stylized dialogue and standard characters of a typical 1940's noir, and doesn't resort to winky jokiness. I think the new settings (high school soccer field, the dumpsters behind the school, parents' basements) keep it from looking like a straight rehash or parody of noir. Knowing where different students are during 4th period, where they eat lunch, where their lockers are, and how to get invited to an exclusive party at a rich girl's parents' house are all part of the social hierarchy of high school, and these get mixed into the story along with usual crime-movie elements like drug deals and anonymous threatening phone calls. But in Brick, the law-enforcement figure the detective character is always dodging is the Assistant Vice Principal (played by Richard Roundtree from Shaft!)

As the movie's creator points out, the high school setting really lends itself to the clannish underworld of noir detective stories. "Once I made the decision to put it in this high school world, it was actually weird how easy it was and how neatly the world of detective fiction and high school conventions slid on top of each other... It's kind of little microcosms of society at large. It is exactly that self-contained dark little world that has its own set of very precise rules, even down to the different character archetypes from detective fiction."

The cast is mostly 25 year-olds playing 16 year-olds, with a few notables: Lukas Haas plays an out-of-school crime figure--it sure is something to see Lukas Haas again, all grown up. That scene from Witness where he sees the murder and resourcefully hides from the killers in the bathroom stall is one of the most tense movie moments I've ever seen. I missed Gus Van Sant's Last Days that he starred in, but I guess soon we'll get to see him in Chris Penn's last movie and Winona Ryder's latest attempt at credibility The Darwin Awards.

Lost's Emilie de Ravin also stars as the dead girlfriend at the center of the mystery. Considering that Lost's producers do a pretty good job of killing off characters when they run out of interesting things to happen to them, I've been thinking that Claire's days are numbered. So I'm glad that Emilie de Ravin has been freshening up her resume with movies like Brick and The Hills Have Eyes lately.

Brick has a nice website too. It opens in NYC and LA tomorrow, and in the rest of the country next week.

March 28, 2006

Who'Dat™: Boy-he's-starting-to-look-old Edition

Here's another edition of Who'Dat™, the game where you see if you can figure out who looks like crap in the picture we provide you. Here you go:

Here's a hint: he may or may not be Chris Noth.

Click the image to see if you are right.

Guess They'll Be Looking for a New "Platnium" Sponsor Next Year

poor signage

24 special guest stars

Kiefer grills Collette

A lot of familiar faces have been popping up on 24 for the last week or two--at least they're familiar if your life revolves around TV and movies.

Last week's German agent Theo Stoller was played by the same actor who played Desmond, the Mama Cass-loving Dharma guy down in the hatch at the start of this season of Lost. Kiefer uses Theo Stoller to get access to this season's mega-fox secret agent Collette Stenger. Stana Katic, who plays Collette, has appeared on a bunch of dramas, including The Shield and The Closer.

Then this week, we were introduced to yet another pretty young thing (did the producers go out of their way this season to cast a lot of really beautiful women?), Shari Rothenberg, who is brought in to replace Edgar Stiles. Shari is played by Kate Mara, who played the 19 year-old Alma Jr. in Brokeback Mountain--the one who looked like a young Julia Roberts.

My favorite moment in last night's episode was shortly after Shari told Chloe about her previous sexual harassment accusation against creepy Homeland Security official Miles Papazian. Buchanan and Chloe are trying to figure out which city gas center is being targeted by the terrorists, and Shari tells Buchanan about her background in chemistry, nerve gas will be made inert by pressurized natural gas, meow meow meow, and then when Buchanan says "good work" and briefly puts his hand on her arm as he walks away--a completely innocent gesture--she flinches, gets a far-away steely look on her face, and says, "that wasn't right." Uh-oh.

From now on, we shall refer to Shari Rothenberg as DON'T TOUCH ME THERE!

Also note that Miles is played by Stephen Spinella, an openly gay actor who won two Tonys for his work in Angels in America, starred in the stage and film versions of Love! Valour! Compassion!, and And the Band Played On.

March 23, 2006

Therapists, remember this name: Cameron Bright

Cameron Bright

Two great movies are out in theaters now, and both feature 13 year-old Canadian actor Cameron Bright in memorable roles. He does a really good job in both movies, but personally, I'm going to remember Cameron as the child actor most likely to need therapy once he reaches adulthood.

In Thank You for Smoking, he plays Joey, son of tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor. Joey adores his universally loathed father, and through the course of the movie he pretty much exists to be manipulated by the adults in his life. He's fought over by his divorced parents, taught to use flexible morality by his dad, singled out to represent American childhood during a Senate hearing, and has a shotgun pointed at him by Sam Elliott.

And I'm not even sure where to begin with what happens to this kid in Running Scared, one of the most relentless and ruthlessly violent movies I've ever seen. Let's just say that poor Cameron's character Oleg gets assaulted and nearly killed by a lot of different adults in an impressive variety of horrible ways, including getting shot at, abducted, suffocated, beaten, and molested. Aside from what happens to him personally, he also witnesses incredibly awful and traumatic things pretty much non-stop for the whole movie.

And let's not forget that Cameron's first big role was in 2004's Birth, in which he had to do that weird naked bathtub scene with Nicole Kidman. Which might not seem so bad, really, but the kid was only 10.

So now he's going to be in X-Men:The Last Stand in which he plays Leech, a hairless young mutant. I'm personally hoping the poor guy makes it through this movie without getting flayed or gang raped, but we'll see.

Since Sarah Polley let the world know how traumatic the production of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen was for her at age 9 (and that was a children's movie) I think it's safe to say that even very responsible and sensitive directors don't always know the impact of traumatic subject matter on child actors. So if you're a counselor looking for some future business, you might want to keep your eye on the talented Cameron Bright. Who one of these days might get to be in a nice wholesome Dakota Fanning movie.

March 21, 2006

Elephants on 34th Street

Last night was the annual arrival of the big animals for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth™. The elephants and some zebras and horses walked through the Midtown tunnel and along 34th St. to Madison Square Garden. It was a cold night out there for animals native to Africa.

Here's a shot that a spectator took near the corner of 34th and 3rd [click for larger image]. No images of screaming PETA protestors, unfortunately.

Elephants on 34th St

March 20, 2006

Thank you for smoking tax-free cigarettes

Aaron Eckhart in Thank You for Smoking

In a lawsuit that would bring a smile to Nick Naylor's face, supermarket chain Gristedes is suing the Unkechaug Poospatuck Tribe and the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Long Island for what they think is unfair cigarette sales. Indian reservations currently don't have to pay state or local taxes on products they sell, and Gristedes says this is cutting into their profits.

The suit states that Gristedes has "lost in excess of $20 million in cigarette sales revenue and lost ancillary sales", all because consumers prefer to buy their cigarettes tax-free (taxes are up to $3 per pack in NYC.) I just saw Thank You for Smoking over the weekend (it was great, really hilarious--Aaron Eckhart and Maria Bello are both fantastic) and I'm sure that tobacco lobbyists out there are pleased to see so much fighting among retailers over who gets to sell cigarettes in the most advantageous and profitable way.

Tobacco lobbyists are probably also big supporters of Gov. Pataki, who has delayed enforcing for another year the state law that requires reservations to start collecting state sales tax on the cigarettes they sell, because it gives consumers a way to get around those taxes that were partially designed to discourage cigarette sales.

New Yorkers also support Pataki in this 2-to-1, which I'm pleased to see. There is something called economic sovereignty for reservations. And continuing to add more and more taxes to cigarettes just makes the incentive to buy them on a reservation that much greater. It's ugly to see organizations fighting each other to sell us cigarettes, but I sure do hope Gristedes gets this suit thrown in its face.

It's also pretty rich that a big supermarket chain like Gristedes expects to get any sympathy for losing some revenue to Indian reservations. Sorry guys, but I think those people also have something to say about unfair loss.

March 17, 2006

In case "New movie by the Wachowski Brothers" still means something good to you

V for Vendetta

Personally, I've been pretty sick of V for Vendetta since last summer, when we all heard all about how it was scheduled for release, but then delayed out of sensitivity to the London Underground bombings, and we read all over the place about how Natalie Portman liked "shedding that level of vanity" by having a shaved head. Lately the press has centered on Alan Moore, who wrote the comic that the movie is based on, and what "rubbish" he thinks the Wachowski script is. (Moore has had really bad luck with movie adaptations of his books--he's already suffered through some bad adaptations of From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Hasn't learned his lesson, I guess.)

And really, come on. Did you see those last two Matrix movies? Do you really think this movie is going to be anything other than a big-budget arbitrarily-stylized illogical waste of time? It's like the pairing of Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman brings together the worst elements of The Matrix and Star Wars and hurls them into a fantastical new world of crap.

Anyway, this damn movie is finally coming out today. We've already seen those big Parliament explosions one thousand times in the previews, but let's look at what some of the funnier critics are saying about the movie.

Manohla Dargis, New York Times. Thumb suckers of the world unite, the most hotly anticipated film of the, er, week, V for Vendetta, has arrived, complete with manufactured buzz and some apparently genuine British outrage... The usual totalitarian hard line prevails (no dissent, no diversity, no fun) as does the usual movie-villain aesthetic. The shock troops wear basic black with crimson accents, while the leader, played by John Hurt in a goatee drizzled with spit, parts his hair like Hitler.

Inevitable questions and objections have been raised about whether V for Vendetta turns a terrorist into a hero, which is precisely what it does do. Predictably, the filmmakers, actors and media savants have floated the familiar formulation that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter, as if this actually explained anything about how terror and power (never mind movies) work. The more valid question is how anyone who isn't 14 or under could possibly mistake a corporate bread-and-circus entertainment like this for something subversive.

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post. For all that the film gets out of its putative star, Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from "The Matrix" movies), it could just as easily star a radio. Weaving is a fruity, stagy voice emanating from a hole in the polyurethane phiz clamped over his real mug... V for Vendetta is a piece of pulp claptrap; it has no insights whatsoever into totalitarian psychology and settles always for the cheesiest kinds of demagoguery and harangue as its emblems of evil.

To say that the Wachowski brothers, who made the Matrix movies and wrote this picture from the graphic novel that has since been disowned by its creator Alan Moore, are not up to Orwell's level is not to say much. Nobody's Orwell. Nobody writing today has the guts as well as the talent to be Orwell. But they should have come up with better stuff. They say they want a revolution? Then give us a revolution, one that's believable, frightening, heroic, coherent and not a teenager's freaky power trip.

I would like to send a special thank you to Stephen Hunter for his reference to the "eternally underwhelming" actress Natalie Portman in his review. What has she made now, one good movie? Hey Natalie, try to get cast in just one more movie in which you're not the weakest link, and you'll have Winona Ryder beat.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Roger Ebert gave the movie three stars. But clever readers can see through some of the Ebert outpouring of love for everything in the world in his mention of the "audacious confusion of ideas" and "their manic disorganization."

March 14, 2006

Spam, direct from Winesburg, Ohio

Not sure if anyone else has documented this yet, but apparently some spammers are big fans of Sherwood Anderson.

We received the following email from someone using the nom de spam "Nysse Sterne":

--- Nyssa Sterne  wrote:

> Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 17:12:05 -0800 (PST)
> From: Nyssa Sterne 
> Subject: Re: Your wife.
> To: [redacted]
> Multiple orgasms - Cum again and again!
> Have you ever wanted to impress your girl with a
> huge cumshot?
> Its easy, just follow here
> stock, the respect of Colonel Tom Rainey and the
> directors, the fear of
> for days stayed in Sam's mind as a kind of
> realisation of the part he
> mother and boy had stayed with the girl, out of
> sight in the house, sick

Can you guess which part the spammers wrote, and which part is mangled Sherwood Anderson? I wish I could say I immediately recognized the Anderson passages, but instead I had to rely on my old literary assistant Google (just like when I was teaching and had to show disappointed mothers that their 14-year-olds didn't really write that precocious analysis of Waiting for the Rain). Turns out these literary fragments are taken from various chapters of Anderson's first novel, Windy McPherson's Son.

This makes sense: the erotic promise of multiple orgasms followed by a quick taste of one of America's finest short story writers is the perfect combination of the hard and soft sell. If the spammers keep this up and vary the authors a little bit, I might be able to make it through Light in August after all.

And that might be even more impressive than a huge cum shot.

March 10, 2006

Tasteful Coverage from the New York Post

Oh, New York Post! What would we do without you? It makes my heart proud that when, say, a Restaurateur-to-the-stars is charged with domestic abuse, you'll handle the story with.....class. And sensitivity.

Tasteful new york post cartoon

March 8, 2006

The Wonder Girls Society exposed. Literally. +

Well, let's hope this isn't too mean...

Recently, a non-profit group calling itself The Wonder Girls Society began publicizing itself on the internet and through some upcoming events here in NYC. After a cursory look at their website, we happened upon an "images" directory and learned a little bit more about them than we intended to. But more on that later in the post. For now, let's see how the WSG describes itself.

From its My Space profile:

The Wonder Girls Society is an exclusive, members-only network for goal-driven, ambitious young women who want to accomplish all their goals in life. We are a non-profit organization that believe all life goals are equally important, whether it is involves your personal or professional life, career or leisure, work or play, as long as it is positive, memorable and brings a sense of contentment. The Wonder Girls Society provide services, programs, tools other available resources, to assist, stimulate, challenge and inspire our members in accomplishing all of their goals.

Sounds pretty good so far, right? Maybe you're not wild about the "exclusive" part, but other than that it kind of sounds like a Bust magazine readers circle. Let's see what their official website says:

We are a group of young, beautiful, confident and multi-talented girls with many ambitions in life! Not your ordinary 'girl-next-door' type, we strive to become more than that!

But don't blame us for being so driven, we refuse to live a "normal" life. We want to be the girls that can say "been there, done that" to every lawful -- and some unlawful (without having to break our morals and values) -- experiences you can possibly think of because we believe that challenging ourselves physically, mentally, psychologically and socially is not only good for the health, it's also good for the soul! [source]

Ok, the "beautiful" thing is a little off-putting and ambiguous, and the "morals and values" part seems a little faux-prissy. But let's see what else they say...

OUR PROGRAMS & SERVICES. [...] Women empowerment - Women in general have come a long way, however, gender discrimination and sexism still exist. We are about advocating woman’s rights and creating or supporting policies for women. We promote empowerment by providing inspirational tools and classes that strengthen and educate women to stand up for their rights. [source]

Terrific! But what's the connection between empowerment and the "beauty" you mentioned before?

By definition, a Wonder Girl is a young woman abundant in beauty, style, poise, confidence, ambition, and intelligence; she is an almost-perfect, almost-flawless female that carries all positive qualities; she is the girl with almost-superpower qualities. She is a Wonder Girl.

Hmm. I'm not sure if I measure up. How do I know if I'm right for the Wonder Girls? [Female readers may want to fasten their seatbelts of rage for this next part. -Ed.]

…you are a girly-girl, maintaining your natural beauty and femininity through various “girly” activities such as manicures and pedicures, waxing, haircuts and the works! You love to go shopping and trying on new clothes--you luxuriate in designer shoes as they are your weakness! Your favorite color is within the spectrum of red and purple, have at least a pair of pink pajamas, and will only drink alcoholic beverages that look pretty and served in a martini glass. [source]


So let me get this straight. I have to be abundant in beauty and be "almost-flawless" just to get in? And I have to get waxed? How exactly is this empowering me again? You don't need to be Gloria Steinem to know that pretty much everytime the word "empowerment" is used in the same context as "beauty," you're not going to get empowered. You're going to get exploited.

And, of course, that's when we happened across this images directory on their website that somebody forgot to properly lock down. In it -- surprise! -- we discovered that these wonder girls who are all about "empowering" and "inspiring" women and smashing gender inequalities and sexism and so on are apparently making money by modeling with most of their clothes off for men's magazines.

So here you go: Introducing the members of the Wonder Girls Society who, don't forget, are here to empower all you ladies, without breaking their morals or values in the process...[Update (3/20): We received an anonymous email from someone identifying herself as a WGS member vaguely threatening legal action over these pictures. After a bit of back and forth, we received a courteous email from the WGS claiming copyright and asking us to remove the images hosted on our server. Since the main point of this post can be made even without the pictures, this seems fair enough, so we've complied with their request.]

There are a lot more pictures in the images directory on their site. Many of them are named like "michellejohnson.jpg" or whatever. Due to the amateur quality of those photos, we are assuming that those pictures were submitted by "applicants" and were being reviewed by the other members (or perhaps the only member) of the society. There was something kind of sad about seeing all those pictures and thinking about women sending them in, hoping to get "accepted" into this "exclusive" group of women. These same women could have just as easily gone down to the local community center or settlement house and volunteered. Why go through the rigamarole of getting "accepted"? We'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions on that one.

Wonder Girls, we appreciate some of what you're trying to do, but empowering women isn't the same thing as using your appearance to get what you want. All the emphasis on beauty on your website makes it sound like you believe otherwise. Also, why have an "exclusive" acceptance process at all? Why do you have to be a "girly-girl" to help other women? Why do you have to be a girly-girl to find fulfillment in life?

March 7, 2006

24: Suspension of suspension of disbelief

Edgar Stiles!

With regards to recent storytelling techniques on 24, Amy and ADM have some opposing viewpoints...

Amy says:

Last night's 2 episodes of 24 were like a breath of fresh, bloody air. People got shot! Tortured! Gassed! Did the plot progress logically and make sense? Of course not! But if there's one thing we've all learned about 24, it's that logic sometimes has to be sacrificed for the sake of good television.

Here's what I'm talking about. When Curtis and the other CTU field agents get to the hospital where they've determined one of the canisters of nerve gas ("weaponized" nerve gas, whatever that is) is going to be released, they start evacuating the hospital, then find the gas. They pace around it. They look at the wires. They think about what they should do. Finally one of the guys realizes that the timer says the gas is going to be released in one minute, and then they have to rush the canister up the stairs and out to the containment chamber thingy they brought with them... which is outside the hospital... in the van... out in the parking lot... and stick it in there. The canister explodes inside the chamber. Hooray! Everybody's saved. How lucky that they got the gas contained in time!

Yes, this was completely silly and doesn't make any sense. But watching Curtis and a bunch of other space-suited guys hurtling through a city hospital, dodging around lots of sick people rolling around in wheelchairs and hobbling on crutches who are also trying to get out as fast as they can, while holding what looks like my office coffee maker, is what this show is all about.

I'm also relieved to see that Kiefer is finally starting to break some rules and go renegade again. When Kiefer follows orders, nothing gets done. When he does things his way, a lot more people get killed, but it's all for the good of the country.

Which brings us to a theme raised in the last few episodes: husbands betraying their wives. President Logan was all set to let his wife get blown up along with the Russian president. Henderson's refusal to tell Kiefer how to find the nerve gas led to Kiefer shooting Henderson's wife Miriam in the leg, and he made it clear that Kiefer could pump the poor woman full of lead, he wasn't talking. The combination of shock, betrayal, and excrutiating pain in Miriam's face when she realized she was getting shot on behalf of her crooked lout of a husband was fantastic.

I also liked the dialogue leading up to Kiefer torturing Henderson. Henderson knew what was coming, recognized standard torture techniques (like "showing respect for the subject's agenda") and still kept his mouth shut.

The nerve gas attack on CTU was also sort of ridiculous--why not just shut down the building's ventilation system?--but it was still a shocker that wiped out a good portion of CTU. Including the only CTU staffer from the Bronx (and proud of it!) Edgar Stiles. Sniff. A lot of major characters have gotten killed over the course of 24, but I don't think any of them got such a sentimental moment as the final countdown to 7:00 at the end of the show, with a solemn silence replacing the usual beeps. Edguh Stiles! Sorry to see you go.

This week we also met C. Thomas Howell, who plays Kim Bauer's ratty little boyfriend/lawyer/therapist Barry Landes. It's hard to like a character that tries to tell Kiefer what to do within 10 seconds of meeting him, so we're hoping he won't be around much longer. Considering all of Kim's other boyfriends have either gotten killed or dismembered, he doesn't stand much of a chance.

ADM says:

But the problem is that 24 fails, show after show, to be internally consistent with the rules of its own universe. I am happy to suspend disbelief and believe that the terrorist attack could be thwarted just in time by shutting down the ventilation system at the mall. But when the exact same method of attack is used on the hospital and CTU headquarters, and no one even mentions the possibility of shutting down the ventilation system, how can I help but think, "What the hell is wrong with this show?" It has a tendency to create suspense just for the sake of creating suspense, not because either the plot calls for it or because any logical sequence of events would lead to the suspense. And that's why, year after year, I get fed up with the show a few episodes into the season and stop watching. To put it simply, it's not exciting if it's stupid.

Watching Kiefer navigate the swamps of his psyche is always interesting. Watching CTU agents die unexpectedly is interesting. But watching yet another cliff-hanger moment just because it's time to break to a commercial or because no one realized they could just throw a garbage bag over the nerve gas device is not interesting to me. The hospital scene that Amy loved was so preposterous and unbelievable to me, I couldn't enjoy it as "exciting television"...I could only see it as laughable. They had the thing isolated in the basement, the hospital was all but evacuated, and they're all standing around in bio-suits, yet the show's writers decide to have Curtis pick it up and run through the hospital like OJ in the Hertz commercial, endangering dozens of people in the process, people who for some reason were gathered RIGHT NEXT TO THE CHEMICAL WEAPON CONTAINMENT VAN. In most shows, even this wouldn't really bother me...What bothers me is that according to the show's own internal logic, turning of the air conditioning and leaving the building would have achieved exactly the same thing. But since that is much less "dramatic" than watching Curtis run with the deadly nerve agent in one hand and the timer in the other, we get the more foolish scene.

And this happens again and again and again on this show: the writers invent easily solvable crises out of whole cloth, but present them as difficult to solve, even when the exact same crisis has been solved by the same exact characters just a few hours before. After several instances of this, I can't help but suspend my suspension of disbelief and start laughing at the show instead of being engaged in it on its own merits.

Roger Ebert has been making a point lately of defending his reviews of movies like Flightplan and the incredible Running Scared by saying that it doesn't matter if gigantic plot holes become apparent to him hours after he leaves the theater. What matters is that he was able to enjoy the movies while he was watching them. That's all I'd ask from 24: Tone down the ridiculousness and inconsistencies just enough for us to enjoy it while we watch it. If I don't realize until a few hours later that there is no way Julian Sands could have secured a second army of terrorists within twenty minutes of losing his first one or that Robocop would never have waited seven minutes before detonating the bomb in the bunker, then I'll be happy.

March 6, 2006

Who'Dat?™: Crazy old guy edition

Along with last night's Academy Awards comes a lot of big parties attended by all kinds of celebrities with varying cultural relevance, surgical enhancement, and visible indicators of drug abuse.

See if you can guess who this tragic-looking figure arriving at Elton John's party is, then click on the picture to see if you are right.


Don't do drugs, kids!

Continue reading "Who'Dat?™: Crazy old guy edition" »

March 5, 2006

Worst Oscars Ever?

stiller green suit

Was this the worst Oscars show ever? Let's take a look at the evidence:

  • The theme of this year's broadcast was "Return to Glamour." First of all, if you have to say something is glamorous, it's not glamorous. Secondly, if this event was supposed to be so glamorous, what was up with Incredibly stupid Ben Stiller bit in the unitard? Did more than maybe 30% of the audience even get what that was about? Even if you got it, you still thought it sucked.
  • The stupid animated Chicken Little thing. When are these awards shows going to figure out that these animated presenters are dumb, the premise never works, and nobody cares about your stupid disposable animated character products.
  • Boring-as-hell montages. Salute to the bio-pic? Are you kidding me? The montages have become obligatory, but they've run out of genres. So they're stuck churning out crap like this that has no relevance to this year's films and doesn't make anyone think about the charm or magic of movies. Did they also do a salute to the noir? Why? Even neo-noir has been dead for six or seven years.
  • Slow-motion interpretive dance. These sequences had me yearning for the days of Antonio Banderas and Santana.
  • The music being played during the acceptance speeches. More on this in a second, but this is more stopwatch-gazing that distracted both the audience and the winners themselves during their speeches. A terrible development.
  • The Soup Nazi who runs the acceptance speech timer, conforming to the dictat of executive producer Gil Cates who with each passing year gets more insane about shortening the best moment of all the winners' lives. Cutting off the winner of a technical award 20 minutes into the broadcast is understandable, even if it's not considerate, but cutting off the WINNERS OF BEST PICTURE when you are THIRTY MINUTES AHEAD OF SCHEDULE is really rude, depressing, and unfair. What is the harm in letting them talk for another 30 seconds or another minute or another 5 minutes? Or better yet, cut out two or three of the overlong montages nobody cares about and let everyone talk an extra 15 or 20 seconds.

With few, all-too-brief exceptions, the whole ceremony felt stiff and compulsory. Three 6 Mafia's elation, the Tsotsi guy's heartfelt acceptance, Clooney's little speech, Philip Seymour Hoffman's nervousness, and Reese's corny but sincere gratitude were the only even half-interesting moments of the whole night, and of those maybe only the rappers delivered an unfiltered emotional moment. More was probably forthcoming from the other winners, but they were too busy counting down the seconds before getting violin'd off the stage.

The Oscars should be fun and celebratory and entertaining and inspiring. They should not feel like a military exercise. Fire Gil Cates and find someone who understands this and can restore some creativity to the occasion.

March 2, 2006

Amy's Robot Oscars Pool

Amy's Robot Oscars Pool

The Oscars are this Sunday, in case you care. We've used a nice Ning app that allows you to register your picks--just sign in to Ning (which is the same system that now powers Linkit) and pick away. And as always, this is intended to reflect you think will actually win, not who deserves to win.

Amy's Robot Oscars Pool

[2005 Oscar Picks]

March 1, 2006

Show us your man-tits!

It brought a smile to my face to see the hordes of elaborately costumed locals and beefy red-faced tourists all cavorting around the French Quarter and getting drunk together for Mardi Gras this year. And it brought a heave to my stomach to see all the celebrities who joined the parade, who all seem to look a little less beautiful and a lot more bloated than usual without their professional makeup artists, hairstylists, lighting designers, and photographers around.

Some of the these photos are so unrecognizable they could almost be a Who'dat?™.

There's Sean Astin, who appears to be morphing into Tyne Daly,

Sean Astin

Steven Seagal, with a hefty dollop of Tom Jones and John Goodman in there somewhere,

Steven Seagal

Josh Hartnett, miserable grease-ball,

Josh Hartnett

Dan Aykroyd, who is actually looking just as terrible as he always does,

Dan Aykroyd

Michael Keaton in a shiny white Elvis jumpsuit and Jack Nicholson mask,

Michael Keaton

Anderson Cooper, who somehow still looks as put-together and handsome as ever,

Anderson Cooper

and the always-debonair Sean Connery in a super-sexy Mardi Gras costume.

some weirdo at Mardi Gras

About March 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Amy's Robot in March 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2006 is the previous archive.

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