Category: "Movies: General"
As my fourth week "post-op" (knee surgery. no big deal.) comes to a close, I face an exciting milestone. Tomorrow I get to put weight on my right leg for the first time in a month. I told my physical therapist that I will crutch through the office all day and take my first step(s) under her watch. Though I admitted that it will be something like Steve Martin towards the end of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. (I apologize that the link isn't to the exact scene referenced, but I cannot find it. This is the closest I could come.)
Have you ever done that? Where you slip a movie reference, allbeit maybe an obscure movie reference, into day-to-day conversation and then immediately turn your eyes on your audience, watching intently for any signs of recognition? You don't do it to feel superior by stumping this person, someone may not know at all (though this happens, but under different circumstances). You do it reaching out in the night for someone you may call "brother." Simply someone with whom you may share a moment, however brief.
My reference was lost on my physical therapist. She's never seen Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I was a man on a lonely island with no one to appreciate my reference. My solution? you ask. You should all get your hands on a copy of this movie.
If somehow you have managed to stay under your rock for the past few days and have neither read nor heard the hubbub about Mel Gibson, let me fill you in. Late last week Mr. Gibson was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. The story starts out as our prying into the private affairs of a celebrity, but gets a little meatier when the arresting officer speaks. The hand-written statement (.pdf) from the officer details abusive and anti-semitic language from Mr. Gibson.
The backlash has been ugly and VERY public. Apparently when you tell your arresting officer that Jews are "responsible for all the wars in the world" you cause a scene. I know I am the last person on the internet to write about the incident, and all of the details are known. I will stop there and move on to Rob Schneider's reaction.
Schneider Slams Gibson
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo star Rob Schneider is the first actor to publicly announce he will never work with Mel Gibson due to the anti-Semitic remarks he made when he was arrested last Friday. Schneider took out an ad in Hollywood trade paper Variety slamming the star for his behavior in "An Open Letter to the Hollywood Community." The ad appeared yesterday and said, "I, Rob Schneider, a 1/2 Jew, pledge from this day forth to never work with Mel Gibson-actor-director-producer-and anti-Semite." Schneider then went on to say even if he were offered the lead role in Passion Of The Christ 2 or a "juicy voice-over role in his new flick Apocalypto and spoke ancient Mayan" he would still turn them down. He also repeatedly praised Hollywood talent manager Bernie Brillstein for publicly saying he would refuse to work with Gibson because "I just don't like bigots." The actor continued by saying he had recently directed a film called Big Stan in which there was a part for a Nazi gang leader "which apparently Mel would be perfect for." Schneider said he would still not cast Gibson in that role and ended the letter by saying, "Of course that would only be after I talked with my financial backers. Some of whom share Mr. Gibson's hankering for a good bottle of tequila. Because, after all...I don't get to call all the shots." -IMDb
So the way I have it figured, comedic actor Rob Schneider wanted to remind us all that he is alive and available for bit parts in any Happy Madison films that may be coming out in the near future. He could not have been serious about his verbal flogging of Mr. Gibson because no one knows better than he does that he does not now, nor has he ever had a snow ball's chance in hell at gracing the silver screen along side Mel Gibson. So I applaud Mr. Schneider's successful attempt to get his name in the news.
As I just mentioned how much I prefer DC villains, and named The Joker specifically, and wrote such a glowing review of Batman Begins, they are throwing this news in my face. I have stated before, in other write-ups, that Mr. Ledger is horrible. You know how there are actors specifically because of whom you will see a movie? I will actually go see a movie just because Heath Ledger is NOT in it.
The casting choice does make some sense in keeping in line with Cillian Murphy's role as Dr. Crane in Batman Begins. Use a younger actor with a creepy look in his eye rather than an established bad-guy personality. Much debate has gone on in and around the rumor mills about who would next plague Gotham City. I am still extremely excited for the next Batman movie (which comes out in 2008) and I will plan to keep an open mind for Mr. Ledger. Maybe it is seeing him as my favorite bad guy that will change my opinion of him. Maybe after Batman Begins 2 I will sing Heath Ledger's praises.
But probably not.
UPDATE: Cinematical reports Ledger has signed. Also, the movie has a name!!! The Dark Knight.
When will a production studio pop up that specializes in Comic Book Hero movies? Similar to how Dreamworks and Pixar have found their niche, let someone come in while the getting is good. These movies are a graphics expert's dream come true and the effects have largely been a disappointment.
These characters are mutants and super heroes. They have special powers that can only be apparent on the big screen through special effects. People today love special effects and comic book hero films. Strike while the iron is hot. With so many spin off series being made, I cannot see the hesitancy behind this idea.
Do not tell me I am the first person to think of this. Who knows, maybe one already exists that I just do not know about.
Best Motion Picture of the Year: Crash
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: George Clooney for Syriana
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Rachel Weisz for The Constant Gardener
Best Achievement in Directing: Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Crash
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published: Brokeback Mountain
Best Achievement in Cinematography: Memoirs of a Geisha
Best Achievement in Editing: Crash
Best Achievement in Art Direction: Memoirs of a Geisha
Best Achievement in Costume Design: Memoirs of a Geisha
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score: Brokeback Mountain
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song: Hustle & Flow
Best Achievement in Makeup: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Best Achievement in Sound: King Kong
Best Achievement in Sound Editing: King Kong
Best Achievement in Visual Effects: King Kong
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year: Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: Tsotsi
Best Documentary, Features: Marche de l'empereur, La
Best Documentary, Short Subjects: A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin
Best Short Film, Animated: The Moon and the Son
Best Short Film, Live Action: Six Shooter
Here are a few thoughts I have on the Oscars, focusing, primarily, on the 78th annual awards given out last night.
Jon Stewart, though hysterical, is too...rough around the edges...for a big time award-show-hosting gig. His opening monologue received maybe three giggles from the crowd, and I think they all came from the same person. I do not think he had the mass-market appeal. I hate to say it, since I am such a fan of his work, but his show is most likely still on cable for a reason...
The crowd did warm up to him a bit as the night progressed, though a few of his jokes were met with chirping crickets. He seemed to begin a few of his speeches with unscripted remarks taking jabs at his being Jewish and a Jewish peer (Ben Stiller); it was those jokes more than any that were greeted with silence from the crowd. I wonder if anyone finally told him to just stick to the script.
Does anyone else think he has a pretty serious man-crush on George Clooney?
I had almost completely sworn off watching the Oscars. I was teetering on the edge when it became apparent that if a Peter Jackson movie is nominated in any category, it will win the award. "Congratulations, you have been nominated. So was a Peter Jackson movie, though. So I am sorry you do not have a chance at winning." Why do they torture the other nominees? Do they feel the need to humiliate them publicly? "Sure, we'll put your face on screen, but we both know you won't win." I guess before you know it the nominees in the category will be, "The people who worked on Peter Jackson's latest movie, and some other potentially more talented individuals, but we won't waste your time with their names."
In case you had not noticed, I am still quite bitter over three years of monopolized awards by the Lord of the Rings team. I did not feel the movies merited all of the awards they won. Some, sure. All, no. I still adamantly believe that the Academy voted for Return of the King for so many of the awards simply because Fellowship and The Two Towers won them. Return of the King was the best of the three movies, but it was also up against the most competition for the Oscars. Shame, really. I will try to get over it in time.
The Academy did redeem itself some in my eyes with voting Crash as the Best Film in 2005. Congratulations to everyone associated with that movie. It was truly one of the best movies I have ever seen, and definitely the best in 2005. I think that they really got one right in that category.
I had been too worried that Brokeback would take home the "important" awards. I had a bad premonition that it would receive 2 of 3 of Best Actor, Best Male Support and Best Picture (in no particular order). The only award I would have given to Brokeback was Best Female Support for Michelle Williams's performance, but I have not seen enough of the other nominated films to speak to that category intelligently. (You needn't tell me that you don't think I am talking about the other categories intelligently either...)
Even though I would have liked to have my cake and eat it, too, "life isn't fair" rings in my mind. My picks for the other awards did not turn out as I would have liked, but I rationalize that as political. For instance, I feel that Terrence Howard delivered the Best Performance by an Actor in 2005 for his work in Hustle & Flow. The movie, however, did not have the mass appeal compared to...oh, say a movie based upon Truman Capote. And since I am ever so conveniently on the topic of Capote, which was my 2nd place pick for Best Film, I think Phil Hoffman won Best Actor so the Academy could give recognition to the movie since it was not going to win Best Film.
That same line of thinking led me to the
silly lesser-anticipated awards that Brokeback did take home last night. The movie that got that so much attention could not go home empty handed, so the voters gave it some pity awards.
I am glad to know that 36 Mafia has a hard time selling records, yet they can still get an Oscar. I guess the irony there is how their sales will go through the roof this week as a result of the award. Good for them, I guess. It really did take the show down a peg or two when the members of the group were accepting their statues and one had to be bleeped out, but I thought they were pretty gracious otherwise. Jon Stewart, if I can get back to him for a moment, really did not do a good job about hiding his reaction to the rappers for winning the award, which did not seem to be the most positive.
So I guess all listed above and the fact that I think more creativity went into Oscar commercials than Super Bowl commercials this year are how I feel about last night's 78th Annual Academy Awards.
At the risk of bragging about my awe-inspiring social calendar, I will divulge just one juicy tidbit. When I go to the movies, more often than not I go alone. You are jealous, I am flattered and no, you cannot touch me.
It has become second nature to me and I do not think twice anymore about going alone. For a long time I had my reservations about going stag to the movies, but then I realized that it is no big deal. It is not like we are going to talk during the movie anyway, right? So what is the point of having to have someone next to you? All it would really mean is that I have to share my popcorn. Not cool. There are certain movies and genres of movies where it makes more or less sense to see them alone as opposed to in a group.
It is legitimate to request company to a horror movie; you will get no arguments from me if you need an arm to squeeze at the scary parts.
Some people feel that in the scenario of a good knee-slapping comedy it is best to have an escort. I will agree that it may be better, but I have become comfortable enough on my own to still belt out with laughter even though I am alone. I did use to struggle with that and would sit tight lipped. I found myself not enjoying movies as much as I felt they deserved. I saw one funny movie on my own, then again with friends. The difference was amazing. The movie hadn't changed, but I laughed out loud much more the second time. With that experience, my inhibitions about laughing by myself went out the window. You may say that the solution to my problem was to find friends with which to go to the movies, I chose to teach myself to laugh on my own. So I'm a touch anti-social. Moving on...
There are also movies where I am glad to see them alone. There is less distraction when the seats on either side of you are empty. You are able to feel isolated. When you lose yourself in the story, you needn't worry about leaving someone behind. A movie with a more profound story, I like to be alone with my thoughts. I want to let all of it soak in.
And you cannot deny the convenience factor of a dateless movie. I have no plans tonight. I want to see a movie. I pick out a movie. I pick out a time. The spontaneity is a luxury of which I take full advantage (even if it angers someone...).
It really isn't as bad as some people make it out to be. You might not feel comfortable walking into a romantic comedy...date movie...ok fine, chick flick on your own. That might not be baby steps towards being able to go to the movies solo.
Try it. You never know. You might like it.
Clapping in the theater at the end of a good movie is as effective as yelling at your television as you watch your team play poorly, yet if I had to pick one of the two that bothered me, it is the applause.
It does not happen frequently; at least not in my experience (and I attend my fair share of movies). But when it does, boy does it get under my skin. The last time it happened was when I saw The Aristocrats! and before then was The Polar Express.
Do people expect the director and/or lead to come out from behind a curtain for a bow? Is there a subculture of theater clappers? Is this something learned from parents? How does one develop into a theater clapper? Is there an elaborate recruitment process by which new generations of theater clappers are selected? I think answers to some of these questions might lead to a seedy underbelly of cinema. Maybe the path to the theater clapper elite would reveal organized crime and corruption that goes all the way to the top! Imagine the possibilities...
Leave well enough alone, you say? Not me.
Oh how I would love to pick the brain of one of them. Do you think it would be frowned upon if I began to go to the movies with a harpoon in hopes of capturing one? Imagine the studies that could be conducted. All in the name of science! I wonder if my prisoner would then be able to be reconditioned. Could we train them to NOT clap after movies? That certainly would be ideal.
Maybe it is not even for the movie itself, but rather the projector operator. This I can get on board with, I guess next time I will applaud you, too. You sure switch the reels well.
Did I really lay out parallels between clapping at the end of a good movie and La CosaNostra? Ok, maybe I am a little too hung up on this.
I was playing with my Blockbuster.com queue early this morning and a feeling came over me as I stared blankly at my 188 movies long list. One thing that is nice about the site is that they allow you to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. Despite the wonderful suggestion I made before that is still ignored, I felt compelled to submit another idea. Here is what I wrote:
How about a button that will randomize your list. You spend an entire day going through lists and lists provided on blockbuster.com adding movie after movie. They are simply now in the order in which you browsed to them. You could sit there and spend just as long if not longer pretending that there is a specific order in which you would like to view them though we all understand how arbitrary that is. If there was a way to simply randomize the list it may save a lot of time and even spice up one's queue.
Think about it.
Let it be no secret that having such a list is daunting. Those nearly 200 movies are my Everest. Getting through them will take time, that is certain. The randomization feature would allow for more surprise in what movie would come next. Ok, ok, ok. I could just never look at my queue and I would have no idea in what order my movies will come to me, but this would be more fun.
New movies come out that you were anxious to see in the theater, though missed for whatever reason(s). You may prioritize them ahead of other movies in your queue, but the prioritization causes conflict for me. The beauty of the service is that you have access to so many movies. I am able to see movies I otherwise never would; the price is right. If I actually went in and played favorites with the movies I queued, some movies may well be taken right off the list. They will be bumped closer and closer to the vanishing point as new movies are added. Or you could let me hit a button and roll the dice. I think it is obvious which way I prefer.
Oh, and if you are curious, my other suggestion to them was to, through an admin interface, create links that I may add to the end of my movie reviews which allow you to queue the movie directly. I would push more for this original suggestion if I were forced to choose, but I think they are both valid and worth Blockbuster's time and consideration.