Monday, March 2, 2015

My Eight Days a Week-Long Sabbatical From the Blogging World & Some Fun (?) New Things Coming Soon to the Ole Blog

They, whomever they are, say that blogging is over. They, yeah, they again, say that blogging is no longer relevant. Thanks to social media, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to GrizzleFeed, and everything in between, many claim that blogging is going the way of the Brontosaurus. Well, I'm here to say bah! Blogging is as relevant as ever. And on that note, I humbly take a week off from said blogging. Yup, that's right. It's only a short little sabbatical, just 8 days long (I'll be back on Wednesday next week with the start of a brand new series - see below), but I will be away from the ole blog for a period of time. heck, we're even skipping this week's Heavenly Body of the Week. Yeah, even the heavenly bodies need a break now and again. But not to worry, they will be back next week, and speaking of things coming soon...

So, along with the continuing Heavenly Body of the week segment, other faves will still be going on here at All Things Kevyn - once I return. My film and TV reviews will continue, and there will be new editions of The Great Albums series (I've been slacking on those of late) and of course, everyone's favourite (for some silly reason), People Who Need To Be Punched in the Face. Couldn't go on without that one. Also, my Alphabet Game will continue monthly. And not to worry true believers, more top ten lists will also be coming your way. This Spring will also see the return of The 11 Question Interview, with lots of great new celebrities galore! For my local readers, I will also be doing a local version (with local celebs) of The 11 Question Interview, which will be seen at a local blog called Today's the Day Harrisburg. More on that when the time comes. I will also be bringing back my Great Recasting series (at least one or two) later in the year, and more Classic Cinema Corners will also be coming your way. There might even be some more comic book reviews for Comic Spectrum and some new top tens for the GLA. You can check out all these regular series (and irregular ones too) on my Index page, found conveniently through the link in the tabs section at the top of this blog. But what about that new stuff I spoke of in the post's title? Good question.

A new regular series I am excited about is a thing I like to call, Worst to Best. Basically, it is an offshoot of my regular top ten lists. Yeah, I like lists, what of it!? Anyhoo, this series actually got its start a few weeks back, when I did my exhaustive (and exhausting!) list of every single SNL cast member, all 143 of 'em, listed from worst to best. So, I had fun with that one, and have decided to make a regular gig out of it. And don't worry, the ones I have planned are not going to be quite as exhausting. The first one of these will be on The Beatles. I will be taking the band's 13 official studio albums, and ranking them from worst to best. Yeah, I don't actually dislike any of these 13 albums, but someone has to come in last place. And yes, the connection between this first segment of the series and a certain few words from the post's title, are not coincidental. I also have some plans to do ones on Stanley Kubrick films and Oscar winning Best Pictures. There might even be some new La-La & Lu-Lu's. Hey, and my Comic Stripping series (of which there has only been one so far) will also be coming back soon. And don't forget to keep up in April as I will be taking a second stab at the annual Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, wherin I blog every day but Sundays, and do it alphabetically. So there!

Anyhoo, that is all I have to say on that. In other words: that's it gang. See ya 'round the web. And try to enjoy your 8 days without me. Of course, I will surely still be all over Facebook and Twitter and what have you. Can't get rid of me that easily. I'll also be working on my book over this sabbatical. Still hopin' to have that up and ready for publication by year's end. Live Long & Prosper. (#LLAP)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Alphabet Game: This One Is For Lovers Edition

Hello, and welcome to The Alphabet Game, where I take a look at 26 different things in one common category. This is a special Valentine's Day (a week or two belated) edition. Have fun.

A is for Annie Hall - So, here you have the film to which every director making a romantic comedy should look. Allen's greatest film, and the start to the auteur's Golden Age (from this film to Crimes & Misdemeanors, twelve years later), Annie Hall is a brilliant, sardonic look at the relationship between a neurotic New York writer and a neophyte country girl new to the city. Starring the Woodman himself, and Diane Keaton (whose real name is Diane "Annie" Hall), five years after the real life couple broke up, the film never delves into the sugary ridiculousness of many a modern day rom com. Allen and Keaton keep the film a smart satire on love.

B is for Butt Stuff - Really? Only on the Letter B, and already we've sunk to this level? Okay, whatever. I'm not sure what to say about this one. I thought this was supposed to be about "the Lovers" in a more romantic Valentiney kinda way, not a more...well, you know. Anyhoo, comic book writer Matt Fraction (Hawkeye, FF, Sex Criminals) has a Twitter account that used to be @Butt Stuff Werewolf, but is now @Butt Stuff Reindeer. So there's that.

C is for Casanova - The historic figure of Casanova is known as the ultimate lover, though the ultimate sexual predator is probably a bit more on the ole accurate side of things. There is a funny meme going around in cyberspace right now, that mocks that 50 Shades of Grey nonsense. It states how the film/book (using both of those terms loosely) is romantic because he's a billionaire, but if he had lived in a trailer, it would be an episode of Criminal Minds. One supposes the same could be said of Casanova, the original Christian Grey.

D is for Doodlebug - Now here's a good one. Doodlebug, as all my regular readers (and stalkers) already know, is my (adorable!!) pet name for my loverly wife. As you might also already know, the missus and I got married four weeks after we met. Yeah, that's right. We are getting ready to celebrate our seventeenth wedding anniversary inn March. Still not sure how I've managed to get her to stick around for so long, but seventeen years and counting. So there ya go my peeps. Love works sometimes. Both of us had to wallow through some mud to get to each other, but here we Doodlebug and Me.

E is for e-Love - No, I am not talking porn. Yes, I have heard that porn can be found on line (not that I would know personally, of course), but the e-Love of which I speak here and now, is the whole dating scene in this modern day of social media. Back when I was on the so-called dating scene (centuries ago - literally, it was last century) people went out on dates or at least hung out first, and got to know each other. Nowadays though, there is no need to even go out with a person to get to know them. Checking them out on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and whatevs, is all that is needed. If they don't pass the social media test, fuck 'em. Yup, that is the dating scene today. Of course, there's always porn to fall back on. 

F is for The F-Word - Here we go again with the so-called seedier side of this edition of The Alphabet Game. But ain't the F-Word grand. I always claim it is my favourite word, because it can be so many different things. It can be a noun, a verb, and even used as an adjective. It can be a fun thing to do or an insult to your enemies. It's the best of times and it's the worst of times. Of course, in the aspect of our little game here, I believe it is being used in the purely "Fuck me like a wild animal" manner. But I digress. Let's move onto higher aspects of this For the Lovers edition.

G is for Garbo, My Not-So-Secret Crush - If time were really a fluid thing, and I could go back to any time period, that period would be 1930's Hollywood. Yes, it's because I dream of being a star of classic Hollywood, but also it's because I might be able to meet Greta Garbo, maybe even work with her. I could be her leading man even. Yeah, I know, I have a lovely wife right now, whom I love and adore and all that goes with that, but if she can have Marcel Proust as an imaginary boyfriend, then I can have Garbo, dammit! Oh, she'd probably want me to leave her alone anyway.

H is for The Herp & His Friends - Here we are back in the gutter again. This time we are taking a look at sexually transmitted diseases. I can proudly say I have never had one of these, so like with the Letter B, I really do not know what to say here. STD's are bad kids. Don't get one. How's that? Does this count as my court-ordered public service announcement? I hope so. Stay off STD's kids.

I is for The Inn of the Dove - So, back in my high school days, I first heard about this local motel called The Inn of the Dove. It was the kind of place you went to after prom. It was the kind of place a white trash couple would go to think they were sexual sophisticates. How's that for a sleazy romantic rendezvous? It was the kind of place that probably reeked of aqua velva and desperation. I've never been there, but one can certainly imagine.

J is for Jackpot (Tiger) - To be honest, I always preferred Gwen Stacy to Mary Jane Watson (and I think Peter did too) but she's dead, and Mary Jane came along, so... Don't get me wrong, there's never anything wrong with a hot redhead to come home to after a long day of fighting supervillains, (Peter definitely enjoyed it) and therefore, Mary Jane's famous, "Face it Tiger, you've hit the jackpot," is romantic enough to make our list today. Of course, it's kind of egotistical too, but we'll let that go for now. Gwen Stacy would never say anything like that, but again, we'll going to let that one go for now.

K is for (Not Me) - Yeah, I could have went and said K is for Kevyn. I'm a lovable guy. Really, I am. I don't care what you've heard. Anyhoo, like I was saying, I could have put myself in this spot, but even though I am a lovable guy (I am dammit!) and am deeply in love with the little missus (see Letter D), I am not big on the whole Valentine's Day ideal. It's just a stupid holiday where lovers are expected to bend over backwards for each other, and those without anyone are forced to suffer through all the love talk of the day. So yeah, maybe K is not for me.

L is for Lady & the Tramp - Cute and freakin' adorable, we all know the scene where Lady and her wayward wouldbe lover boy share a string of spaghetti. It's so iconic that it's been parodied and copied over and over again, and not always in animation. I like this film because it shows how a purebred can be corrupted by one of the wild ones. I also like the film when it was remade as Grease. Go get 'em Tramp.

M is for Marriage Equality - Really? Why is this even still a debate? Why has this ever been a debate? Two people are in love and they want to get married. Who the fuck cares what sex they happen to be!? Their marriage is not going to ruin your marriage, you stupid, ignorant, homophobic jackass!! Get over it! Get over it, now!! I am sick of this debate, and so is everyone else!! I want nothing more to do with anyone who would deny people's right to marry whomever they wish. I want all of these bigots and hate mongers out of my life. So there! And hey, I think the pic to the right says it all.

N is for Nancy & Sluggo - Forget Blondie and Dagwood, or Garfield and Lasagna, or even Charlie Brown and that damn little red-haired girl. They got nothing on these two. Possibly the greatest love in comic strip history is Nancy & Sluggo. One of my all-time fave comic strips, and a very esoteric strip that rarely gets the recognition it richly deserves, Ernie Bushmiller's classic comic is the tale of true love between a chubby, nerdy girl and her rough n' tumble bad boy best bud. End of story. Happily ever after, and all that jazz.

O is for Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh - I think we all know what this sound means. If you don't, I'm very sorry. Actually, this particular oh oh oh (and so on) is in honour of Meg Ryan's portrayal of Sally Albright in the 1989 romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally. More specifically, it is in honour of one particular scene shot in Katz's Deli. Ya'll know of which one I am speaking. The one punctuated by the line, "I'll have what she's having," delivered wonderfully by the director's mom.

P is for The Princess Bride - And speaking of the director of When Harry Met Sally, Rob Reiner also made one of the best romantic comedies of all-time - The Princess Bride. Many might even call it the greatest love story of all-time. Such an assertion is definitely not inconceivable. Ha! Se what I did there? So yes, Buttercup and Westley are one of the greatest, most romantic of couples - real and/or fictional.

Q is for Quagmire - Giggity! When it comes to makin' love in Quahog, R.I., there ain't no better an expert than Glenn Quagmire. Giggity. He knows all the fly moves. Giggity. He knows how to get the ladies to come home with him. Chloroform works best. Giggity.

R is for the Rom Com - Haven't I mentioned the rom com about a dozen times so far? Yup. So here is the sub-genre's official entry in our little ole Alphabet Game. Rom coms can be shmarmy, and probably are most of the time, but when they are done right, like with many of the screwball comedies of the 1930's, or films like the aforementioned Annie Hall or The Princess Bride, or maybe even in the case of that hilarious rom com by Scorsese - you know the one, with the cabbie and the blonde chick. Yeah, the rom com, American cinema at its most, romantic. Yeah, romantic.

S is for The Shocker - Okay, so here we are again back at the bottom of the love canal. Don't know what the shocker is. Yeah, that's probably a good thing. If ya wanna know, please refer to Google for all your much desired answers, because I'm rally not delving into it here and now. Let's just move on, shall we?

T is for T & A - Come on! T & A? This is supposed to be something for Valentine's Day. Yeah, we're about two weeks too late for the Hallmark holiday, but still, we are supposed to be talking about love and all that kinda junk. But no, we have to lower ourselves once again, and like with the letters B and H and O and S, the letter T takes us to the hootchie side of love. Oh well, who doesn't love some T & A once and a while? 

U is for Us - Now here is a letter showing the proper respect for love. Not you or me or them or whomever, but Us. The Us of a couple in love. The Us of me and my lovely wife. The Us of whoever wants to be an Us. Yes, Valentine's Day is a silly make-believe holiday (why do we need a special day to say I love you!?) but love is real, and the Us of love is real as well. Too shmarmy? Oh well. Get over it.

V is for Vulva - On Friends, when Ross is pressured into talking dirty to a woman he is making out with, his panicky response is just one word. Vulva. On Seinfeld, when Jerry and George are trying to remember a woman's name, knowing only that it rhymes with a female body part, the best they can come up with is Mulva. So that's my take on that word. Sexy, huh?

W is for Winona, I Mean Wino Forever - Back in the day, when Johnny Depp was still a cool guy, and not the one trick pony he has become lately, back in that day, Johnny met Winona, and they were a Hollywood romance like none other. Johnny even got a tattoo that read Winona Forever. Needless to say, forever was not in the cards for these two kids, and they eventually did the whole break up thing. But what to do about that darned tattoo? Easy peazy. Just have some adjustments made to the ink, and voila, you are now the proud owner of a bicep that reads, Wino Forever.

X is for X-Love (as in X-Men Love) - Be it Jean and Scott, or Scott and Emma, or Kitty and Piotr, or Charles and Moira, or Sean and Moira, or Logan and Jean, or Scott and that Goblin Queen bitch, or Rogue and Gambit, or Bobby and Kitty, or Ororo and Logan, or Raven and Charles, or Charles and Lilandra, or Warren and Betsy, or Warren and Ororo, or the other Warren (the time-displaced one) and Laura, or Alex and Lorna, or Scott and Logan (just seeing if you were still paying attention), or Kitty and Pete Wisdom (she likes Peters - ha!), or Piotr and Domino, or Shark Girl and Hellion, or Nathan and Domino, or Logan and Squirrel Girl (yeah, really), or Jean-Paul and Kyle, or Erik and Rogue, or Sam and Lila, or Henry and Trish Tilby, or...well, I could go on for a long time with this one. Ya know, my wife is always saying how the comic books I read are like soap operas. Hmmmm.

Y is for Yes - That's right. Yes is the word you hope for when you fall in love. It's a simple thing and a simple word, but when you are in love, this is the simple thing, the simple word you want (and need) to hear from that guy or gal you have fallen in love with. Yeah, this one was pretty sappy, but hey, this is a For Lovers edition after all.

Z is for Zombie Love - Last, but certainly not least, here we are at the Letter Z. There's the rom com, and now, thanx to the popularity of the Zombie Apocalypse genre, there is the zom com, or zom rom com, if you will. Films like Shaun of the Dead, Warm Bodies, and Life After Beth, are some of the more successful examples of this new sub-genre. And really, who's not up for some zombie lovin'?

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Passing of Leonard Nimoy: Like Losing a Dear Old Friend

I could have titled this something along the lines of "Live Long & the Afterlife, Old Friend," and to lay all my cards on the table, I almost did. But then I felt it a bit too flippant. But apparently not flippant enough to discard completely (and/or use it as a Facebook status update earlier today. But I really do mean the statement. Whatever afterlife is out there, and I am not about to take a stab at what it may be, I wish Leonard Nimoy all the joy within said afterlife. And I will miss the man greatly. Indeed I will. I am not all that talented at writing obituraries, or whatever the following ends up being, but I'm having a go at it anyway.

Nimoy had been sick recently, and he was 83, so his death does not come as a complete surprise (supposedly we all gotta die someday - it's only logical), but it was still jarring when I first read the news today, oh boy. Not since Roger Ebert died two years ago, have I been hit so hard by the death of a celebrity. Not even when Lauren Bacall died last year. In the case of Mr. Ebert, he was actually somebody I had corresponded with a few times via e-mail and what not, so in some teeny tiny way, he was an actual part of my life. Mr. Nimoy though was someone I had never spoken with in any manner. I've met both Nichelle Nichols and the late James Doohan at Trek conventions, but alas, Leonard Nimoy is someone whom I will never meet - at least not in this world. But still, he has touched my life, like I am sure he has touched many lives throughout the years.

Yeah, I'm a Star Trek nerd. Be it a Trekkie or a Trekker (whichever you decide to call yourself) and the show was a huge part of my childhood. Granted, it left the air before I even turned two, but when it hit syndication in the 1970's, I was hooked. Then came the movies, and the sequels, and the spin-offfs, and everything else. And through it all, though I loved Kirk and Scotty and Sulu, and Uhura and Chekov and especially Bones, it was Mr. Spock who fascinated me the most. Leonard Nimoy's portrayal of the enigmatic Vulcan/Human Science Officer, from the Original NBC series to the movies to his guest spots on the TV sequels, all the way to his role as Spock Prime in J.J. Abrams' reboot, is easily one of my favourites of all-time. Sure, Nimoy did many other things in his career, and appeared in other films and TV shows, even hosting the great In Search Of program, and he was also an accomplished artist and photographer (and yes, a musician too), but he will always be Spock in our minds. Maybe we were never friends, or even acquaintances, but I have always thought of you as such. To quote Spock, at the end of Wrath of Khan, "I have been, and always shall be, your friend."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Heavenly Body of the Week: Ceres the Planetoid

Two bright lights are emanating from the dwarf planet Ceres, captured on camera by the approaching Dawn spacecraft, and NASA astronomers are at a loss to explain them. The planetoid, located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, will be visited on March 6 by the spacecraft, and then we're going to find just what's up with those two lights. Yeah, it's probably just light reflecting off of ice, but I like to think it might just be something a whole hell of a lot cooler. You know, like aliens.

Maybe this can be something like Total Recall (the 1990 version, not that boring remake) and we can get whoever today's Schwarzenegger is (David Statham? Vin Diesel? The Rock?) to break it all wide open, and voila, we have ourselves a colonizable little planet. Yeah, it's only a fraction of the size of our Moon, but hey, it'd be a great spot for a mall, or some other kinda place. Ooh yeah, that Mall of America will have nuthin' on the Mall of Ceres. Yeah baby! Alien mall.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Great Albums: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye

Kanye West is one of those public figures whom incite a wrath of emotion. Yes, the guy is a total asshole, a douchebag of epic proportions. I don't think that is in doubt. Even his fans must admit that. Even Kanye has admitted that. From interrupting a bewildered Taylor Swift to say how better and more deserving Beyonce is than she (and whether you agree with the statement or not, it was a dick move) to his praising himself as a genius (you're supposed to let other people say that about you Kanye), the hip hop kingpin has a history of idiotic behaviour. And for that, he has a hell of a lot of detractors. But still, even with such a public persona, it is hard to deny the guy's talent. Okay, I suppose if you hate hip hop, you can deny it, but then you are denying the talent of an entire genre, and not just Kanye, and that's a whole other creature. But then, I was one of those deniers at one point too. Then something changed.

A few weeks back, after his badmouthing of Beck at the Grammy's, yet another act of assholery, I decided to see just what this guy was all about. I've never really been much of a fan of hip hop, but I was wanting to open my mind to things outside of my supposed wheelhouse, and delving into hip hop music seemed like a perfect fit, and perfect timing with my desire to see what this Kanye jackass was all about, outside of his public image, which was really all I had known at this point. So I went searching the cooler of the music sites. In nearly every list you see of the best music of today, Kanye is included, often near the top, if not at the top. Pitchfork Magazine named My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the best album of the decade so far, and most music critics agree. It has gotten rave reviews across the board. Many hip hop haters out there may say this is just me acting provocative for the sake of being provocative, but dickhead or not, Kanye's music is some of the most critically acclaimed of the day. And as a fellow critic, I know that's gotta mean somethin'. So, I thought to myself, as a cinephile, I enjoy every genre of cinema, I enjoy all different types of TV shows and books and what have you, so why not try to enjoy every genre of music as well (instead of sticking with the narrow view of music I have held all these years) - and what better place to start, and in what a most challenging way, than with the nearly unlikable Kanye West, and his most heralded album.

But enough of this talk about how and why I decided to take on Kanye. What about the album itself? What makes it so damn critically acclaimed? Well, I'm more of a film and TV critic (mediums which I know well, and have every confidence in analyzing) than a music critic, but I'll give it my best quasi-neophyte try. The album, the artist's fifth studio disc, was conceived while Kanye was in self-imposed exile in Hawaii, and is a grandiose effort compared to his previous four albums. Incorporating everything from electronica to symphonic elements, baroque and neo-soul. Twisted Fantasy is Kanye's take on celebrity and its myriad of pitfalls. Considering the producer/rapper was in exile because of public image problems as well as legal entanglements, he could have been an expert on such things at the time. Yes, Kanye's earlier albums were more than your mere hip hop albums, but none of them had the oomph, the no-holds-barred attitude of Twisted Fantasy. His latest album, Yeezus, keeps going with what he did here, but even that is no comparison to Twisted Fantasy. Taking his game up about eleven levels, Kanye weaved together a startling gaudy grand guignol, something akin to a modern day hip hop version of Miles Davis. Yeah, that's right! From the opening salvo of Nicki Minaj's Brit-tongued intro, all the way through to West's closing political slam poem, Twisted Fantasy is full of experimental neo-bebop jazz-inspired hooks and hops. It is also an album, just like its creator, full of controversy. Hell, even the album cover has induced wrath for some. But behind that stupid controversy, is the album itself, anything but pure and simple. Tracks like Power and All the Lights and my fave, Monster, combine to make exactly what Pitchfork called it - the best goddamn album of the decade so far. Proof that Kanye West is more than an egocentric douchebag.

There was recently an article (I forget the where's and who's) comparing Kanye to John Lennon. Granted, much of the article was serious bunk, but the author did have a few solid points. Both artists are/were obsessed with their dead mothers. Both artists are/were the biggest names in their biz, but also very experimental in their music. Both artists married women who were hated by the public (although, I happen to love Yoko, and Kimmy K., you are no Yoko). Both artists are/were big on grandiose public antics, and both artists have a way with pissing every one else off. Sure, through the tragedy of Lennon dying so young, the ex-Beatle has become deified in recent decades, but he thrived on being an ass to the media, and sometimes to his fellow artists. Just like someone else we know, eh? Okay, okay, don't get your panties all in a bunch. Even my newfound respect for Kanye, isn't going to let me say he's a greater artist than Lennon. That'd be kinda nutso. After listening to the album, and realizing I can indeed enjoy hip hop (I mean, I am including the damn thing in my Great Albums series), I wouldn't say it is as good as Lennon's best album (1979's Plastic Ono Band), but it is a damn good album. And in many ways, he can be seen as a modern day Lennon (or maybe a modern day Ali, if you will) - at least in attitude and public antics. Yeah, all those aforementioned hip hop naysayers may not agree, but as my horizons are stretched, and I open my mind to other areas of music (maybe country music or opera is next), I have found another great album, full of vim and vigor and all that - even if the guy is a total douchebag and a half. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Oscars 2015: NPH in His Undies, A Short Film Oscar Win For My Puppy, Lady Gaga Does Julie Andrews (and Freakin' Nails It), & Birdman Wins the Night...Even If Michael Keaton is Robbed!

So here we are again, kids. It's the day after The Oscars, and it's round-up time-a-go-go!! So let's get started. First off, I would like to make note of my prediction rate. I was hoping to finally snap my record of 19 for 24, a record I've managed to do thrice in the past 16 years since I began keeping records, and get to that elusive 20th correct prediction. Alas though, I only managed to match that record of 19 victorious picks, and not to surpass it. So now, after seventeen years of keeping track of my predictions, I've gotten 19 on four separate occasions. Mostly I've hit 18 (10 times), an twice did 17, and once a measly 16 right. That was a bad year. Anyhoo, this year it was just 19, and like every other year, I second guess some of my second guessing. Should I have gone the other way on those few that were a toss up? Well of course I should have, but that's a moot point at, point. So let's move on.

Even though I enjoyed NPH (that's Neil Patrick Harris for all you unkool kids out there) as host, I've seen him do better (just watch him host the Tony's), there were no "big" moments like there were last year with Ellen Degeneres. There were no moments like last year's pizza party or group selfie. But still, there were some knock out moments on stage. The speeches of Patricia Arquette (equal pay!), Common & John Legend (slam poetry!), and Graham Moore (stay weird kids!) were all remarkable moments, indeed. NPH doing his Birdman shtick in his tighty whities (and lookin' damn good in'em) was another fun time. And then there was Lady Gaga, killing it, singing songs from The Sound of Music. I've always like Gaga (she's friends w/ Yoko, and that's just alright with me) and always knew she was talented, but damn did she ever surprise me (and the whole room, I think) with that performance. Hell, she even made Julie Andrews cry. So yeah, there were some great moments.

As for the outcome, Birdman took 4 Oscars (Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, and Picture) and I am alright with that. The top award was always between Boyhood and Birdman, and they are respectively numbers two and three on my list of 2014 faves (behind just Inherent Vice), so either outcome would have been okay with me. It was disappointing to see Keaton lose Best Actor though. Yeah, Redmayne was good as Hawking, but Keaton knocked it outta the freakin' park. But hey, ya can't have it all. We got Inarritu winning 3 Oscars. We got Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons. We got Ida taking home Best Foreign Language Film, and we got Best Animated Short Feast, a six minute film about a puppy who looks like and acts like our own puppy at home. Now if only I had picked Big Hero 6, I would have had my elusive 20th correct guess. Oh stop that! Anyhoo, that's about it for my recap. Here's looking forward to Guillermo del Toro taking home teh Best Director Oscar next year for Crimson Peak, making it three Mexican-born Oscar winners in a row. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Final Set-in-Stone Oscar Predictions

So here we are kids, at the end of the ever-lengthening awards season, which means its about time for me to give you my Oscar predictions. We have 24 categories to pick and choose from, and my standing record is 19 out of that aforementioned 24. Usually I get 17 or 18, but twice I have reached 19, but I have yet to break through to that 20th correct prediction. Maybe this year. Maybe this year. Okay, probably not, as this year is much less predictable than most. Yeah, 3 of the 4 acting categories may be locks, but Actor is not, and neither is Director, and the top award may actually be a five way race, maybe even six. Yeah, that's the way it should be dag nab it. Of course, this means I could have a record low this year (which would be dropping below 16) but hey, I like the danger. Ha! Anyhoo, here we go with my final set-in-stone predictions. Let the predix commence. Oh, and check out the brand new look for the Oscar statue. Yeah, it's no longer gold, but it does have the power cosmic. If you read comics, that last line was freakin' hilarious, if not, oh well, just move onto the predictions portion of our show.

Best Picture
Will Win: Birdman
Could Win: Boyhood or American Sniper
Should Win: Boyhood or Birdman (can't choose!!!)

First Selma looked like a frontrunner, but then Boyhood took over that role (and that was even before the so-called Selma snub on Oscar nomination morning). Then recently, with victories at the SAGs, PGA & DGA awards, Birdman has become the frontrunner, Then Boyhood won the BAFTA, and it looked like we had a two-way race. Now add in the popularity and buzz of American Sniper, and the possibility of all these so-called frontrunners canceling each other out, and The Imitation Game surprising. Hell even Grand Budapest has a dark horse shot. Basically Whiplash and The Theory of Everything are the only two without a chance. Considering Boyhood and Birdman were numbers two and three on my Best of 2014 list, either one winning will make this guy happy. But yeah, it's pretty much a four or five way race. Yes, this makes predicting more difficult, but it also makes the Oscars fun again. Yes, at least 16, maybe 17 are still gimmes, but Picture, Director, and Actor are the ones to screw up even the best researched of Oscar pools - and maybe my own predictions as well. Anyway, here are the other 23 categories.

Best Director
Will Win: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Could Win: Alejandro G, Inarittu for Birdman
Should Win: Linklater or Inarittu (damn, it's hard to choose!)

Best Actor
Will Win: Eddie Redmayne in Theory of Everything
Could Win: Keaton in Birdman or (maybe) Cooper in Sniper
Should Win: Michael Keaton,and he still just might

Best Actress
Will Win: Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Could Win: Witherspoon could surprise
Should Win: Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: J.K. Simmons in Whiplash
Could Win: No one else, but Hawke, if you must
Should Win: J.K. Simmons in Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Could Win: No one else, but Stone if you must
Should Win: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Birdman
Should Win: Nightcrawler

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: The Imitation Game
Could Win: Whiplash
Should Win: Inherent Vice

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: Ida
Could Win: Wild Tales or Leviathan
Should Win: Ida

Best Animated Feature
Will Win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Could Win: Big Hero 6
Should Win: The Lego Movie (oh yeah, never mind)

Best Documentary Feature
Will Win: Citizenfour
Could Win: Citizenfour (yeah, that's right)
Should Win: Citizenfour

Best Cinematography
Will Win: Birdman
Could Win: Unbroken (but not really)
Should Win: Birdman! Birdman! Birdman!

Best Production Design
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Into the Woods (but again, not really)
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Film Editing
Will Win: Boyhood
Could Win: American Sniper or Whiplash
Should Win: Boyhood

Best Costume Design
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Into the Woods
Should Win: Grand Budapest or Inherent Vice

Best Make-Up & Hair Design
Will Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Could Win: Guardians of the Galaxy or Foxcatcher
Should Win: Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score
Will Win: The Theory of Everything
Could Win: Grand Budapest or Imitation Game
Should Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song
Will Win: Glory from Selma
Could Win: Everything is Awesome from The Lego Movie
Should Win: Lost Stars from Begin Again

Best Visual Effects
Will Win: Interstellar
Could Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Should Win: Interstellar (the only aspect of the film I liked)

Best Sound Mixing
Will Win: Whiplash
Could Win: Sniper or Unbroken
Should Win: Birdman

Best Sound Editing
Will Win: American Sniper
Could Win: Unbroken
Should Win: Birdman

Best Animated Short
Will Win: Feast
Could Win: The Dam Keeper
Should Win: The Dam Keeper

Best Live Action  Short
Will Win: The Phone Call
Could Win: Anything
Should Win: Damned if I know

Best Documentary Short Subject
Will Win: Crisis Hotline
Could Win: Joanna
Should Win: Damned if I know (again)

So there ya have it. These are my picks, and I'm stickin' with 'em! I guess we'll find out Sunday, how well I did on the whole predicting thing. And I'll be back on Monday to discuss just how well (or how poorly) I did on these things. Maybe I'll talk about the Oscars themselves too. That's it gang. See ya 'round th...oh wait, I almost forgot, we had an Oscar poll, didn't we? Yeah, we did. Granted, not that many people participated in said poll (at a just mere 65 votes cast, only about a quarter of those who voted last year) but we do have the results nonetheless. Here they are. Your pick for Best Picture is Boyhood, with 28% of the vote. just edging out Birdman, with 23%. Taking the bronze medal is The Grand Budapest Hotel, with 20%. After this comes American Sniper and Selma, each with 9%, then Whiplash at 8%. Finally comes The Imitation Game with a mere 3%, and then poor little Theory of Everything, garnering not a single vote. Poor little Theory of Everything. 

Anyhoo, that's really it gang. See ya 'round the web.