And the oscars are wrong again…

•February 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

slumdog_posterI cannot stand Sean Penn. He is my least favorite actor ever. He is a bad actor, who cannot do anything without pushing his agenda. I am shocked that the Academy gave him best actor, but at the same time, I guess I am not too surprised. The Academy has a history of giving awards to undeserving individuals only to push their own Hollywood progressivism. Yes, Penn won solely because he played a gay man. Mickey Rourke, Frank Langella and Richard Jenkins were all better than Penn in their roles.

To further the Hollywood progressivism (that we are all supposed to buy into as the “it” or “cool” thing), the Academy selected “Slumdog Millioniare” for Best Picture. As I said, I love this movie, but it was not the most well-made movie of the year (that was undoubtedly “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”). Hollywood wants us to think this is the best movie of the year to broaden our minds, which I agree that Slumdog does. But that is not the point of the award. 

I love foreign cinema, but I consider the Academy Awards to be strictly American, so I don’t like to see a foreign pic (albeit a British one) win best picture. O well, congrats to Slumdog, who turned in a great movie and basically swept the awards.

And look at best original screenplay. Another gay rights pushing from Hollywood (not to mention the poor loser and his acceptance speech). Tell someone who cares, honestly.

So, I was 16 of 19 in my guesses. That’s not bad. Better than I did last year. I’m glad to see Hollywood get cinematography right. And best director. Anthony Dod Mantle and Danny Boyle have collaborated in some great stuff over the years, and I couldn’t be happier to see them grab awards on their best work for the same movie.

Nothing else too shocking in the awards. Who cares about the presentation? I only care about who wins what. Sadly, Hollywood can’t seem to get it right sometimes.

Congrats Slumdog. Apologies Mickey Rourke. Apologies Bruce Springsteen. Apologies Benjamin Button. Apologies David Fincher (you will be back, I know it).

And the nominees are…

•February 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

ideas_oscars_001pThe 81st Annual Academy Awards are Sunday night. Here is a look at a decent year. I’m going to kick it off with smaller stuff I know something about.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

This has always been one of my favorite categories, because I am so amazed by special effects. This category is hard to peg for me. Last year, I thought Transformers was a lock (arguably the best special effects I’ve ever seen), but The Golden Compass took the golden statue. I really like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button here (if you haven’t seen, you better, cause it is going to win a handful of awards). The Brad Pitt aging of old man head on child-sized body is magnificent and unlike anything I’ve seen. The Dark Knight was good but nothing extraordinary from years past (this one gets the best explosions for sure). Why is Iron Man even on this list?

Sound and Sound Editing

Both these went to The Bourne Ultimatum last year. Don’t really care much about this one. Look for Slumdog Millionaire and/or The Dark Knight to pick up these little technical achievements.

Original Song

Where the freak is Springstreen’s “The Wrestler.” It was easily the best song I’ve heard in a movie theaters in years. It captures the soul of the movie so perfectly it should be illegal. Instead we get two Slumdog nominations, and unless some miracle will likely win with a 67% chance. So, so weak. None of these songs are extraordinary.

Original Score

Another seemingly weak cast. I expect Button to take the crown on this one, but expect Slumdog to give it a run for its money.

Makeup

This is laughable. I don’t even know why they bothered nominating Hellboy and The Dark Knight (well, The Joker did look awesome…). Button has some of the most impressive makeup I’ve seen in its ability to age Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Amazing stuff here.

Editing

This is the toughest call I’ve had to make. Knight, Frost/Nixon and Slumdog are all terrifically strung together. I still think Button stands out the most as far as editing (thought I would not be surprised to see another Slumdog win).

Cinematography

My favorite category. My favorite cinematography = Slumdog Millionaire. The shots of the kids running through the streets to escape the police and thugs is reason enough to hand Anthony Dod Mantle (28 Days Later, Last King of Scotland). The man is good and he deserves a win.

Screenplays

Slumdog pulls another victory with its amazing adapted novel interpretation. It really is a fantastic movie. As for written directly for screen, the only contestant I’ve seen is In Bruges, but I hear Frozen River is good.

Directing

Definitely has to go to Danny Boyle (yet another for Slumdog). He has done some awesome stuff in the past, and this is is masterpiece. I would also like to see David Fincher (Button) get some recognition, as this is his masterpiece as well.

Acting

Heath Ledger is an easy win for supporting actor. I would like to see Penelope Cruz grab an oscar for Vicky Christina Barcelona, but I don’t think she will. In lead actress, Anne Hathaway is good, but I think that freakin Kate Winslet is going to win for The Reader. Three-way tie for lead actor – Mickey Rourke, Frank Langella and Richard Jenkins. Of course I would throw my money in Rourke’s direction as The Wrestler, but how can you not love Jenkins in The Visitor (go rent it now!) or respect Langella as Tricky Dick in Frost/Nixon

Best Picture

While Slumdog won Golden Globe best pic and was my favorite movie of the year, Button is just too amazingly good to pass up for best picture (I noticed some flaws in Slumdog that should discount it as a main contender). Ya, I do want Slumdog to win, but Button is the premier production of the year. It is too beautiful in everything to not take home the ship.

Slumdog takes away the most wins with its 10 nominations, while Button with its 13 nominations takes home the grand prize.

Life is more than just “Being There”

•February 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

being_therePeter Sellers missed an Academy Award by 30 seconds just a year before his death. The movie: 1979’s “Being There.” The role: Chauncey Gardiner, whose name implies both his professional and symbolic nature. The reason he lost: the bloopers in the closing titles five seconds after the end of the movie.

What is so disappointing about these stupid bloopers (they might, might have been funny out of context but never belonged anywhere in this movie) is that they completely take away from the stunning ending we just witnessed. We are trying to grasp with what we’ve just seen, and we have so many questions.

So, why jump straight into this pointless sequence? Supposedly some versions omit the sequence replacing it with white noise instead. Wish I could have seen that one. Peter Sellers was the most infuriated by the injustice both to his character and person (of course he wanted the award). He pleaded for its removal, but the producers are apparently smarter than the rest of us.

Anyway, let’s dive into all that was right with this movie. Sellers is brilliant as Chance. He is forthright and there for us all just when we need him. His innocence is what the audience loves, agrees with and reacts to.

“Being There” takes the old adage of the simple man that everyone believes is a genius through his use of unintentional gardening metaphors and exceedingly loyal agreement. His innocence is so beloved that people want it to be the answer to all the problems of the world.

Chance is a man of TV. He learned all he knows about life from that TV. He has no idea how to act in the outside world other than what he learned from TV. Looking at this concept, I am ashamed that television is a representation of our society. An innocent outsider would unfortunately draw the wrong perceptions from our society through today’s MTV and such (thankfully Chance wasn’t soaking that garbage up).

Golconde

Golconde

Chance leaves home for the big wide world. Immediately representative of Magritte’s famous bowler hat paintings especially “Golconde” and “Decalcomania.” I loved the images of him walking around D.C.

Decalcomania

Decalcomania

Chance exists throughout the film to give us the hope of innocence and freedom in expression. All turn to Chance for comfort, yet no one knows where he came from.

We want Chance in our lives for support, for comfort, for company. 

The ending is one of the most magnificent I’ve seen in years. So spell-binding and beautiful, and mainly unexpected. An answer to our questions. A realization of our worst fears and greatest hope. For it was more than chance, Chauncey existed for a reason where just “Being There” was enough to give us all comfort. 

Great quotes at the end:

  • “I have no use for those on welfare, no patience whatsoever, but if I am to be honest with myself, I must admit that they have no use for me either.”
  • “I do not regret having political differences with men that I respect. I do regret however, that our philosophies kept us apart.”

Reminds me of: 

  • Stranger Than Fiction
  • Elf
  • The Truman Show
  • And any movie dealing with reality

Vote today and every day

•February 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

http://buckthenorm.com/contests/clip/44

Congrats on Number Six

•February 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

 

Pic of me after Super Bowl XL

Pic of me after Super Bowl XL

Been awhile. I’ve been swamped. 

 

Anyway, was that not a great Super Bowl? Of course, I’m going to say that as a Steeler fan, but it actually was a really good game. My heart fell out of my chest about six times. I can’t describe how angered I was after that safety. And then Fitzgerald – I mean, what a beast! In my opinion, he is the best wide out in the whole league. He didn’t do anything until the second half. Then, he torched the Steelers twice.

After that game-winning touchdown (what a ridiculous catch and throw!), I was literally on the floor with tears streaming down my face. I had gone through so much emotionally cheering in that game, it was nasty. So, Holmes, congrats on a great catch and the MVP. He certainly deserved it. Nine catches, 131 yards is beastly. He didn’t drop a ball all game. He was hands-down the most consistent player on the field.

O and talk about that Harrison 100-yard interception return for touchdown! That may go down as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. If the Cards score there, they go up 4 into half-time. Instead, the Steelers go up 10! What a swing by the NFL’s defensive player of the year! Not a better story out there and I have enjoyed seeing him rise from being an undrafted free agent. Congrats Harrison on saving the game.

Congrats Ben for all the heartache you have caused me and shining when I doubted you could. You pulled through and made some ridiculous plays. That might be the most accurate I’ve seen him.

Congrats Kurt Warner and the Cards. And Fitzgerald. Not a more quality or classy team in the league. I hope you get back and win (just not against my boys!). Congrats Mike Tomlin – youngest coach ever to win a Super Bowl. Congrats Pittsburgh for taking three years off my life. The whole season, every game, down to the wire – trying to lose, but somehow coming out on top. (I still don’t know how they did it – all dadgum season!)

Six in the case. I’m proud to be a fan. I’ve seen some nasty, but I’ve seen a lot more beautiful.

Congrats Steelers on winning Super Bowl XLIII – two in four years!

What have I been doing?????

•December 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

macbook-proYeah, I asked myself this question the other day, and I definitely couldn’t come up with anything. So, I’ve been trying to think, and I thought this would be a good place to “gather me thoughts.”

So, finals went great. I got 4 A’s and a C (advertising=dumb). I was quite pleased. I worked a couple basketball games in Stillwater since then. O ya, I am currently typing on my latest purchase – a Macbook Pro with all the software bells and whistles. I am so stoked about this thing, I can’t even tell you. 

I thought it was time to get one if I wanted to advance a career in video. So, we’ll see how it goes. I hope to jack around on this thing all break.

Let’s see…O ya! I turned 21, so I did that whole celebration thingy. It was pretty fun. I also saw the OKC Thunder get its third win of the season! Yay!

I had an interview at the Oklahoma Film and Music Office about interning there next summer. Really cool place, and I would love to work there. Spent some time jacking around downtown OKC. It’s actually kind of interesting. There is always somewhere to explore.

I played with my dog. I ran errands for my mom. I got a new suit for my birthday! I’ve been totally busy and haven’t had much of a break yet. 

Looking forward to some holiday action, some movie seeing and watching and some Macbook playing. Should be a blast!

ORIGINALS: Spanish Pelicula

•December 12, 2008 • Leave a Comment

spain-236

This was a pic I took three years ago on my trip to Spain. It is from a top a cathedral at night in Barcelona.  This was one of my favorite events of the entire trip.  The roof access was closing in a couple minutes.  We convinced them to let us go up for a few euros, and it was absolutely breathtaking.  I was shooting with quite possibly the crappiest camera ever (some hundred dollar polaroid digital I got for Christmas a few days before).  The pic came out decent but didn’t quite capture the beauty of what we saw that evening.  We watched the sun set against the Barcelonan backdrop and stayed until dark.

Barcelona is the greatest place I’ve been, and I hope you get a chance to go someday.  I will return for sure, hopefully in the near future.