Thursday, July 14, 2016

2016 Emmy Nominations: My Reaction (and Prediction Results)

So, the Emmy Nominations have been announced, and there are a few surprises. Sure, it was mostly who and what were expected, but there were a few surprises. As far as my predictions from yesterday went, I went 47 for 62, or 76% for the more statistically minded readers out there. Not as good as my annual Oscar predictions (I usually range around 86% to 88% there), but this was my first time officially predicting the TV awards, so give me a break. I did better in the comedy categories (81%), than in the Drama 71%), especially after my pathetic 3 for 6 attempt at Dramatic Supporting Actor. Anyhoo, here are my thoughts, along with a pic of, I mean Peter Dinklage, holding his Emmy from last year. It seemed appropriate since Game of Thrones led with 23 nominations.

The Good

Even though it meant lowering my prediction percentage, I am glad to see that I was wrong about The Big Bang Theory sneaking back in this year, after their first non-nomination year in five years, last year. I figured with Louie on hiatus, and Parks & Rec gone, it would leave a couple slots open for TBBT, and Parsons for actor since Louis C.K. And Matt Leblanc are on hiatus, and wouldn't be eligible this year. But hey, the show jumped the shark years ago (why is this still on the air? - I know why, just being rhetorical) and does not deserve nomination here. In fact, other than Bob Newhart's nod for Best Guest Actor, the show was completely snubbed. Ha Ha! 

Also in the good is the amount of love toward Game of Thrones (again). Joining prior nominees Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and perennial nominee, and two-time winner of Best Supporting Actor (and current reigning champ), Peter Dinklage, are first time nominees Maisie Williams and Kit Harrington.

I am also thrilled with Constance Zimmer's nomination in Supporting. Her show, Lifetime's UnREAL ,is one of the best shows on TV (yeah, true story, go watch it), and it is good to see some recognition. Granted, I would have loved to have seen it up for Bets Drama and Best Actress for Shiri Appleby, but we can't get everything we wish for.

Oh, and kudos on Sarah Pulson's double nominations, as well as Thomas Middlemarch's Best Comedy Actor Award for Silicon Valley, and Louie Anderson for playing Zack Galifianakis' mother on the criminally underwatched Baskets. Also to The Americans, up for Drama, Actor, and Actress. And a huzzah for Mr. Robot (the best show currently on television?) and it's Best Drama Series and Best Actor nominations.

The Bad

Speaking of Mr. Robot, the lack of a nod for Christian Slater (the goddamn Golden Globe winner!!), is criminal, but the lack of recognition for Michael McKean as Best Supporting Actor on Better Call Saul, after giving one of, if not the best goddamn performance of this past season, should be punishable by death. Ka-Rayzeeeeeeee! Also, not they were to be expected, but the lack of love for shows such as Broad City, Jessica Jones, Penny Dreadful, The Knick, The Walking Dead, and for the most part, Baskets and Orphan Black, is still annoying. And then there is Orange is the New Black. Yeah, season 3 may have been a lesser season that one and two (or the recently released season 4, but still, Uzo Aduba was snubbed? Sacre bleu!

The Ugly

Did I mention the snub of Michael McKean? Yeah.

So, there are my reactions to everything Emmy-wise. I will be back on Emmy Night (Sept. 18th), to do some live-tweeting of the show (and give my predictions of who will win). As for my own choices for the best in TV, that will have to wait until the end of the year, as that is when I (and everyone except the damn Emmy's) hand out my kudos and awards and other such stuff. Seriously, no Michael McKean!!?  

For now though....That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2016 Emmy Nomination Predictions

So, the Emmy nominations are scheduled to be announced tomorrow. Therefore, it is about damn time I hand out my predictions for tomorrow's said Emmy nominations. So, without further ado, here are those predictions.

Best Drama Series

Game of Thrones (HBO)
Downton Abbey (PBS)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
House of Cards (Netflix)
Mr. Robot (USA)
Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Homeland (Showtime)

Possible Spoiler: The Americans (FX)

The Show That Should Get Nominated, But Won't: UnREAL (Lifetime)

My Dream Choice: Jessica Jones (Netflix)

Six of the seven nominees from last year are eligible again this year, and I am guessing all six of them will repeat. But what show will take place of Mad Men? The smart money is on USA'a fabulous Mr. Robot, so that is what I am going with. Oh, and Game of Thrones for the win. Sorry Downton Abbey. Mad Men couldn't pull it off in their final season, and you probably can't either.

Best Lead Actor, Drama

Kevin Spacey in House of Cards (Netflix)
Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul (AMC)
Rami Malek in Mr. Robot (USA)
Liev Schreiber in Ray Donovan (Showtime)
Paul Giamatti in Billions (Showtime)
Bobby Cannavale in Vinyl (HBO)

Don't Count Out: Hugh Bonneville in Downton Abbey (PBS)

Who Should, But Probably Won't: Clive Owen in The Knick (Cinemax)

Last year's winner, Jon Hamm, is not eligible this time around, so there's gonna be a new sheriff in town this year. I'm guessing Cannavale will take Hamm's place in the nominee list, with Malek slipping in Bloodline's Kyle Chandler's spot (the show ain't what it used to be?), but as for the winner's spot...that will probably be a battle between Spacey and Odenkirk, the latter of which has never ever been better than he was in the second season of Better Call Saul.

Best Lead Actress, Drama

Viola Davis in How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
Taraji P. Henson in Empire (Fox)
Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife (CBS)
Claire Danes in Homeland (Showtime)
Robin Wright in House of Cards (Netflix)
Tatiana Maslaney in Orphan Black (BBC America)

Don't Count Out: Kerry Washington in Scandal (ABC)

Who Should, But Probably Won't: Shiri Appleby in UnREAL (Lifetime)

Dream Pick: Kristen Ritter in Jessica Jones (Netflix)

This is pretty much a repeat from last year, with the surprisingly snubbed Margulies popping back in to take the ineligible Elisabeth Moss' place. As for the eventual winner? It could be last year's winner, Viola Davis, or two timer Margulies (in her final season of the show), but I think this is going to be Taraji's award to win or lose. Go Cookie!

Best Supporting Actor, Drama

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones (HBO)
Jonathan Banks in Better Call Saul (AMC)
Christian Slater in Mr. Robot (USA)
Michael Kelly in House of Cards (Netflix)
Jim Carter in Downton Abbey (PBS)
Michael McKean in Better Call Saul (AMC)

Possible 7th Nominee (cause sometimes they do that): Jon Voight in Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Wildcards: Jussie Smollett in Empire (Fox) and/or Kit Harrington in Game of Thrones (HBO)

Who Should But Probably Won't: Thomas M. Wright in The Outsiders (WGN)

Dinklage, Banks, Cumming, and Carter will repeat this year, with Slater and McKean (one of last year's biggest snubs) filling in the other two slots. As for the win? I love Dinklage (and I wouldn't want those dragons on my bad side) but McKean's work this past season was pure brilliance.

Best Supporting Actress, Drama

Christine Baranski in The Good Wife (CBS)
Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey (PBS)
Lena Headey in Game of Thrones (HBO)
Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones (HBO)
Uzo Aduba in Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Constance Zimmer in UnREAL (Lifetime)

Wildcards: Sissy Spacek in Bloodline (Netflix) and/or Maura Tierney in The Affair (Showtime)

Who Should, But Probably Won't: Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones (HBO)

My Dream Pick: Melissa McBride in The Walking Dead (AMC)

I am picking all five of last year's still eligible nominees, and filling in Christina Hendricks' vacant spot with UnREAL's only real chance at a major nomination this year. As for the winner, Uzo could easily repeat here (and deservingly so), but let's not count out the power of Cersei Lannister, and that spectacular season finale, to put Headey over the top.

Best Comedy Series

Modern Family (ABC)
black-ish (ABC)
Veep (HBO)
Transparent (Amazon)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Wildcards: Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon) and/or Master of None (Netflix)

Dream Picks: Baskets (FX) & Broad City (FX)

With the ending of Parks and Recreation, and the hiatus of Louie, there are two open spots to join Modern Family, Veep, Silicon Valley, Transparent, and Kimmy. I am guessing they will be filled by a pair of Network shows. Yeah yeah, Network television is a dying breed, but this is the category they are most likely to still live on. I would love to see Baskets or Broad City, but who are we kidding? Oh, and Veep for the win (again).

Best Lead Actor, Comedy

Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Aziz Ansari in Master of None (Netflix)
Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent (Amazon)
Anthony Anderson in black-ish (ABC)
Will Forte in The Last Man on Earth (Fox)
William H. Macy in Shameless (Showtime)

7th Man Award: Don Cheadle in House of Lies (Showtime)

Shoulda, but Probably Ain't Gonna Happen: Zack Galifianakis in Baskets (FX)

With both Louis C.K. and Matt LeBlanc taking hiatus' from their respective shows, we could see last year';s non-nominee, but past winner, Jim Parsons sneak back in. Aziz Ansari is also an obvious choice for this category.

Best Lead Actress, Comedy

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep (HBO)
Tracee Ellis Ross in black-ish (ABC)
Amy Schumer in Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)
Lily Tomlin in Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Ellie Kemper in Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Wildcards: Jane Fonda in Grace and Frankie (Netflix) and/or Constance Wu in Fresh Off the Boat (ABC)

Should but Won't: Gillian Jacobs in Love (Netflix) and Aya Cash in You're the Worst (FX)

Dream Girls: The Broads from Broad City (FX)

I am predicting four repeat customers here. It's an all new game this year. Newcomers Bloom and Ross will join Tomlin, Kemper, and Schumer, in watching Julia Louis-Dreyfus accept her fifth consecutive Emmy (and seventh overall).

Best Supporting Actor, Comedy

Tony Hale in Veep (HBO)
Tituss Burgess in Umbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Louie Anderson in Baskets (FX)
Laurence Fishburne in black-ish (ABC)
Ty Burrell in Modern Family (ABC)
Keegan-Michael Key in Key and Peele (Comedy Central)

And in case they do seven this year: Hugh Laurie in Veep (HBO)

Dream Pick: Hannibal Buress in Broad City (Comedy Central)

A pretty solid line-up, even if we have to stretch it to seven to squeeze everyone in. My favourite pick here is Louie Anderson, who I believe is the rightful frontrunner, and the guy who will beat Tony Hale this year...not that he isn't fantastic in Veep.

Best Supporting Actress, Comedy

Allison Janney in Mom (CBS)
Mayim Bialik in The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Anna Chlumsky in Veep (HBO)
Jane Krakowski in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Judith Light in Transparent (Amazon)
Kate McKinnon in SNL (NBC)

This Category Had 8 Nominees Last Year, So: Julie Bowen in Modern Family (ABC) and Carol Kane in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

I can really see all eight of these ladies' names being called tomorrow morning. 'nuff said.

Well, that's about all I have time for. I could go on and make predictions in the Limited Series Categories (People vs. OJ Simpson, Fargo, Show Me A Hero, The Night Manager, American Crime, Roots) or the actors in said shows (Sarah Paulson, Tom Hiddleston, Kirsten Dunst, Courtney B. Vance, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Lili Taylor, Hugh Laurie, Lady Gaga, Felicity Huffman, Kerry Washington, Riley Keough, Jesse Plemons, John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jean Smart, Regina King, Melissa Leo, and Sarah Paulson again), but I'm going to stop here. I'll be back tomorrow with some thoughts on how I did.

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

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The 10 Coolest Peeps Born in 1967, Myself Humbly Excluded

So yeah, I was born in 1967. It was a great time indeed. Anyway, the reason for this post is to highlight some of my fellow 1967 birthees. And there were a bunch of 'em. From Pamela Anderson to Dave Navarro. From Vin Diesel to Mark Ruffalo. From Jimmy Kimmel to Tino Martinez to Ashleigh Banfield, Ty Burrell, Nicole Kidman, Will Ferrell, Lisa Bonet, Guy Pearce, Lauren Graham, Paul Giamatti, Mira Sorvino, Lili Taylor, Sheryl Lee, Rhys Ifans, Matt LeBlanc, and Neon Deion Sanders! That's a lot of 1967-birthed celebrity star power right there - and I haven't even gotten to the top ten yet. Oh, and definitely not on that list, are some of the least cool kids born in 1967, Dave Matthews, Chriss Angel, and Vanilla Ice Ice, Baby! But enough of all this preparatory mumbo jumbo. Let's get on with the damn list, already! The 10 Coolest Peeps born in 1967. And yes, I am keeping myself off this list. Ha! So let's get on with gettin' on.

And awaaaaaaay we go...

10. Louis C.K.

There are few stand-up comics who can make me laugh and laugh and laugh, and Louis C.K. is certainly one of them. Yeah, perhaps cool isn't quite the right word here, for Louis (or Louie, if you go by his hit show) is rather geeky and awkward (like me!!), but he should still be on this list. This comic doesn't beat around any bush. He says what's on his mind. Sometimes this gets him into trouble, which I suppose makes him kind of a bad boy, and in turn, kind of cool. So there! He does belong on the fucking list after all.

9. Billy Corgan

My wife balked at Billy Corgan making the list (especially since I left Dave Navarro off, in order to include him), claiming he is just an arrogant has-been. Obviously I have a little more faith in the cool factor of Billy Corgan. Sure, maybe The Smashing Pumpkins didn't change music the way a band like, say, Nirvana did, but hey, he's tall, bald, and has a suitably creepy singing voice. That alone is enough for me to place him on this list...and above Dave Navarro. And hey, I even chose a pic with his kitties. Maybe that way, my lovely wife will possibly accept his inclusion on the list.

8. Benicio del Toro

He's played the Wolfman, Che Guevara, and Dr. Gonzo. How can this guy not be cool? This Puerto Rico-born Academy Award winner has given some pretty stellar performances in some pretty stellar films. From The Usual Suspects to Traffic to Sin City, Basquiat, and Inherent Vice, where he rocks the house once again. And just to make him a bit cooler (at least in my opinion) he made his film debut playing the dog faced boy in a circus, opposite Pee Wee Herman. Howzabout that!?

7. Harry Connick, Jr.

Not only a smooth as silk Jazz pianist and crooner, but Harry Connick, Jr. is also quite the funny comic actor. granted, his Hallmark/Lifetime films are unexpectedly terrible, but hey, when ya need the money, ya need the money. Connick was great as Grace's hapless doctor hubby (and ex-hubby - spoiler alert!) on Will & Grace, but it's his piano playing and cool 'Nawlins breeding that put this guy on the list.

6. Philip Seymour Hoffman

One of two list makers who are no longer with us. I know such a thing sounds a bit corny, but to put it as simply as possible PSH was one of the finest actors of his (and mine, obviously) generation. Seriously though, the guy is indeed just that. His work with Paul Thomas Anderson alone (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Hard Eight, etc) is enough to put this guy on the cool list, but then you add in all the other roles he has played (Talented Mr. Ripley, Almost Famous, Flawless, Doubt, his Oscar winning performance in CapoteJack Goes Boating, which he also directed, the oft-overlooked Synecdoche, New York) and list worthy he damn well be!

5. Carla Bruni

This Italian born singer-songwriter-model, was the first lady of France for a while. She was also the sister-in-law of Louis Garrel for a while too. I can't say there are many first ladies the same age as me (Michelle Obama comes the closest in my home country, but still beat me into the world by three years) and I betchya not many people can claim they share a birth year with a first lady whose nude photos went for $91,000 at auction. Yup. So there. First Lady of France is in da hizzouse! Yeah, I went there.

4. Jamie Foxx

Yeah, he was on In Living Color, and he won an Oscar for playing Ray Charles. He is a rapper and he even beat the crap out of Tom Cruise in a movie once. But hey, the number one reason Jamie Foxx is on this list (other than taking his stage name to honour Redd Foxx) is that he is Django. That's right. He is Django, and Django takes no shit from nobody. Django doesn't wait around for the white man to come and rescue him. Django arms himself, and kicks white southern ass. Django rules. Oh, and by the by, the D is silent.

3. Laura Dern

I've always loved Laura Dern. From Teachers to Mask to Blue Velvet, she was like a dreamy teen angel for the twisted set. Then came her performance in Wild At Heart. That is when she became a sexy powderkeg of raw acting emotion. She loved her Sailor, and she wanted everyone to know.  Hell, the girl even went and kicked some dinosaur ass in Jurassic Park...even when Samuel L. Jackson could not. And she's the daughter of Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. That's some pretty cool lineage.

2. Anderson Cooper

Not only one of the most sought after gay men in the world (and equally loved by the ladies as well) but Anderson Cooper is one of those types of journalists who are quite rare these days - an honest, caring one. With his silver locks and boyish grin, Coop (can I call ya that?) is surely the coolest newsman out there today. Forget Wolf Blitzer (the idiot), it's Anderson Cooper who gives it to us straight. Well, not that kind of straight. You know what I mean. Yeah.

1. Kurt Cobain

It's hard to believe (at least to me) that the guy who helped change the very face of music, is the same age as me. Or at least would be the same age as me, if he hadn't been stolen from us at such a young age (one of those damned 27 club members). Basically, Cobain was one of the coolest guys in rock and roll, ever, no matter what birth year we are talking about. Kurt and Nirvana seriously changed music. Not many people or bands can say that. Maybe Elvis, The Beatles, Zeppelin, Velvet Underground, Madonna, Michael, and Nirvana. That's about it. Here's to Kurt Cobain, the coolest cat to come out of 1967. Huzzah huzzah hey!!

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nights & Days in the Burg: The Life & Times of a Harrisburger

I've been doing this blog for a little over two and a half years, and have had some sort of online presence, via past blogs and websites, for over a dozen years now. Most of the content of these twelve plus years of blogging and reviewing and list-making and what have you, has been about the world of pop culture. Either cinema or TV or comic books or music or other such pop cultury doo-dads. But every now and again, I go local. Every now and again, I post something about my home town of Harrisburg, Pa. Be it an edition of my 11 Question Interview with a local icon, or a list of the most pop cultury things in Harrisburg. And yes, I just used the term pop cultury twice. Or actually three times now. Anyhoo, in keeping with this now and again tradition, I offer up a new (now and again) recurring series, Nights & Days in the Burg.

In this new (now and again) series, I will highlight the things going on in and around my Harrisburg. And yes, the official term for we Harrisburg residents, is indeed, Harrisburgers. I kid not. But I digress, a thing I tend to do quite a bit. This series will touch on the nightlife of Harrisburg as well as the daylight hours. Maybe a look at the dinosaur sculptures strewn about the city during this Dynomite Summer (yes, really) or my take on the coolest things to do in town, or just a close-up look at one of my favourite fellow Harrisburgers. It could be anything, dammit! Anything!! But enough of this rambling on, I have other things to do right now (like post something fresh and new on Instagram) so I'm going to get going. But don't forget to look for the first of this (now and again) series, coming soon(ish). Oh, and look out for other posts coming soon as well. Like maybe my upcoming look at every single member of the Mighty Avengers. Yeah, that's coming up soon. So be here for that. But don't forget about the whole Nights & Days in the Burg thing. Yeah, those are coming too. But for now...I gotsa go! That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

I Ain't No Negative Nellie: A Bunch of People I Genuinely Like

So, as my faithful readers already know, I do a regular feature here at the ole blog, entitled "People Who Need to be Punched in the Face." For those not in the know, this feature is just what it sounds like, a list of people who I believe need to be punched in the face. You know, people like Chris Martin or Lena Dunham or Ted Cruz. Now granted, this feature is all just tongue-in-cheek (all fun-n-games), and I do not really advocate punching anyone in the face, but it still might be construed as a bit on the negative side. So, to counteract this image, and to prove that I am not, as the title so eloquently reads, a Negative Nellie, here are a slew of peeps I genuinely like. Nothing negative here. Just positive thinking. And without further ado, here they are, in no particular order.

Norman Reedus
Bruce Banner
Michael Fassbender
Tom Hiddleston
Lady Gaga
Sterling Archer
Maurice G. Esworthy III
Whoever wrote that Shoop Shoop song
People who bring me cake
Chris Hardwick
Wil Wheaton
Jimmy McGill
Winona Ryder
Hasil Farrell
Holly Golightly
Female Leads in Star Wars Films
The 1988 Chicago Bears
Marcy Louise Proust
Hopey & Maggie
Fried Chicken
The Late Kurt Vonnegut
Jughead Jones (my Spirit Animal)
Vampires who do NOT Sparkle
Daniel Day Lewis
Liz Lemon
Leslie Knope
Gal Pal Rachel Greene
The Atari 2600
Pete Rose
Hypodermic Sally
The Little Missus (of course)
HAL 3000 from 2001
Aaron Sorkin
The Creator of the Spork
Leslie Jones
Linus Van Pelt
Ron Fucking Swanson
Rick Fucking Grimes
Bill Motherfucking Murray
The Funko Company
Jen & Gary
People named Pablo
Peter Pez
Matt Smith
Ben Affleck as Batman
The Gang at Comix Connection
Benedict Cumberbatch
Clark Gregg
Peggy Olson
C.T. Liotta
Mr. Spock
Rat Fink
Alan Moore
Yoko Ono
Tim Curry
Laverne Cox
Justin Timberlake
Dr. Peter Venkman
Jane Eyre (the Cat, not the Character)
Randy Macho Man Savage
Reina Wooden (aka the Artist known as r76)
That Guy who works with Flo at Progressive
Mayor Adam West
Carrie Fisher
Sliced Bread
Michael Stipe
Squirrel Girl
Esther Rosenblatt
Ryan Stroup
Ken Jennings
Sarah Paulsen
Zooey & Fanchette
Cap'n Smiley-Face
Chloe Sevigny
Jesus (He's just alright with me)

See, I really do like people. A lot of people.
Don't worry though, people will be getting punched in the face again soon.
That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Walking Dead Season 6 Finale: Who Did Negan Kill ??

As those who watched the season 6 finale of The Walking Dead last night, already know (and yes, spoilers ahead), Negan has finally made his long anticipated TV debut. And as all of us know, he beats someone to death in the final scene. And, as we also know, the screen goes black before we find out just who gets the death sentence. Instead, we will have to wait until season 7, coming in October, to find out who the poor bloody victim is. I love me a good cliffhanger, so well played AMC. Well played.

Ok, so unlike the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead, we are going to get all the suspense out of the way immediately. The probabilities of just who Negan killed, who Negan beat to death with the barbed wire wrapped baseball bat he calls Lucille, in that epic cliffhanger season finale episode last night, in order of likelihood,, maybe a little more suspense. But hey, please allow me to pontificate a bit, and explain my reasoning, and maybe even let ya'll in on who I think got Lucille'd last night.

But before we get to all that, I would like to give a big ole shout out to the great Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who made one hell of a debut in last night's episode. In case you don't know, and why would you even be reading this if you did not, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been cast as Negan, the most badass comic book antagonist this side of the Joker. Leader of the group called The Saviors, he is a true psychopath who kills with great glee, but Negan is also one of the most charming motherfuckers the zombie apocalypse has ever seen. Negan's (and Morgan's) highly anticipated debut, and killer (figuratively AND literally) seven minute monologue at episode's end, has abruptly made the guy my new favourite character on my current favourite TV show. But now, on with those aforementioned reasonings. Oh, and as always, spoilers ahead maties.

First off, let's face facts. Rick Grimes is not going down. He is the crux of the show. Maybe in the series finale, whenever in the future that may be, but Negan is not going to take Lucille to him right now. Anyway, the whole idea of killing one of the group, is to teach Rick a lesson. To make Rick suffer, so he tells his group to do as the Saviors say. Hence, Rick is not getting the business end of Lucille. Other unlikely candidates would be Carl and Michonne. True, they, especially Carl, would be the best ways to teach Rick that lesson, but neither one is likely to be the dead one come that season 7 opening scene. Rick losing two love interests so close together seems unlikely, and Carl, in the comics at least, becomes the co-lead as time goes on, and he may end up doing that n the show as well. And anyway, he has some unfinished business (cue sexytime music) with Enid.

A little more likely, but still not all that probable, is Maggie. In the comics, after losing everything, including her husband Glenn (more on that in a bit), the newly widowed Maggie becomes the leader of the Hilltop community, and it would seem that they are setting her up for that on the show as well. If that is so, then killing her here, does not seem plausible. Although, to play devil's advocate of sorts, this episode was really digging into how important Maggie is to Rick. So maybe this would teach him that lesson of which he is so in need. Still unlikely though.

Anyhoo, another possibility, and one that actually makes sense, is Abraham. He is a major enough character to be a hard enough hit for fans and characters alike, but not so major as to offend the fanbase. Now the TV Abraham has already cheated his comic death, as AMC gave his comic death to poor Doctor Denise a few episodes back. So to kill him here, kinda makes sense. Then again, series creator Robert Kirkman, has stated that he regretted having killed off Abraham, the one actual soldier in the group, right at the beginning of the comic story arc "All Out War," which is where they are right now on the show. So maybe not.

Then we have those minor (and minor-esque) characters in that final scene showdown. I don't think the deaths of Aaron, Sasha, Rosita, or even Eugene, would elicit enough of a reaction from the audience to merit being Lucille's first victim. So, making any of these characters the initial death in this new arc, may seem like a cheat of sorts. Then again, Eugene has finally come into his own recently, so perhaps his death would maybe elicit the proper response, in both viewers and his fellow characters. So maybe it is going to be Eugene after all. Abraham and the others had already said their goodbyes to him when he went off on an apparent suicide mission earlier in the episode.

And that brings us to Daryl Dixon. Since Daryl is an original character made for the show, he has no comic doppelganger, and therefore is a clean slate, whose death would not affect any future comic-related storylines. But, as we all know, Daryl is the most popular character on the show. Sure, Rick and Glenn and Michonne all have their own fandoms, but nothing like Daryl Dixon. Killing him off would take balls by Kirkman and AMC, and would be both awesome and horrific. But come on people. Killing Daryl could also ruin the show. Yes, the zombie apocalypse could easily go on without Daryl Dixon in it, but his popularity could see a severe backlash if Daryl were to go down. And there is also the branding of the show. Yes, Rick, aka Andrew Lincoln, is the star, but it is Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, whose face is splayed across all the show's merchandise. Would AMC have the cajones to kill off the literal face of the show? I think maybe not.

Which leaves us with our most likely candidate, Glenn Rhee. Now I know the show plays fast and loose with the comic book continuity (like Carol being a twenty something housewife, who dies by feeding herself to a walker she delusionally believes to be her friend, and Sophia growing into teenhood, and actually still being alive in the comic), but every once and a while (the taking back of Alexandria, Rick's taking down the Claimers) the show does match up with what Kirkman originally scripted. That being said, it is a strong possibility that this will be one of those match-ups, and just like in the comic, Negan will beat Glenn to death in front of the group. But come on guys, isn't that a bit too obvious? Yeah, who knows. From a narrative standpoint, the logical turn of events is to take down Glenn. But will they do it?

As we have already discussed, whomever goes down first (and yes, Negan will kill others throughout season 7, don't you think he won't) needs to be a major death. Glenn would definitely be that death. Of course so would either Carl or Daryl. Now, as we watched that final scene progress, and Negan finally got into his eeny meeny minie moe rap, the camerawork got very impressionistic - and that was on purpose. Director (and make-up guru) Greg Nicotero, who has helmed some of the best and most artistic of Walking Dead episodes, takes us on a ride again. No matter how much we Zapruder the footage, we can not get a real take on the angle, and who Negan beats before the screen goes black. As best as I can tell (and you really can't tell) it looks like the angle may say it is either Eugene or Carl. Could it be? Negan does say about cutting out the boy's other eye if anyone screams, which could mean that it isn't Carl who gets the beat down. But then who?

Well, logic says Glenn, but the safe bet would be either Abraham, who does appear to impress Negan at one point (take down the toughest first) or Eugene, who has become rather popular lately. Not too big, but not too small a kill either. But why would they want to be safe. My gut says it is Eugene, so that who we are going with here. I would love to see them have the balls to take down Daryl or even Carl though. Yes, I am going to miss any of these characters, but it would be nice to see them do the unthinkable. Maybe Daryl has run his course. Dwight has the crossbow now (a weapon he wields in the Daryl-less comic) and his character, though beloved, has the least amount of future possibilities. Yeah, that's right. But in the end, I don't think AMC has the balls for that one. Negan does say his victim is taking it like a champ, which could make one lean to the likes of Daryl or Abraham. Of course Carl could pull that off too. But hey, my gut says Eugene, so I'm sticking with that choice, even if it is a bit too safe for my liking.

Then again, I will probably flip flop between Eugene & Carl (who are still alive in the comic), Abraham & Glenn (who are not), and Daryl (who has never existed in the comic), all Summer long. Dammit AMC! Why do we have to wait six months. When Kristen shot JR (oh sorry, spoiler alert) back in 1981, we only had to wait four months. Anyhoo, there ya have it. Eugene for the, the loss. Whatever. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Wait...maybe it's Daryl. Aaaaahhhhhh!!! I want to change my answer!! No I don't! Yes I do!! Aaaaaahhhhhhh!! But Eugene hooks up with Rosita in the comics! We don't want to miss that! Could it really be Daryl!? Maybe they will riot after all. Now I am saying Daryl. Get the balls AMC. I dare ya to kill off your most popular character! I double dare ya! I triple dog dare ya!! Or maybe Abe!? Egads! Yes! Abe. Final answer! Abraham! Damn, I'm gonna miss that motherdicking galoot.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Just Who the Hell is the Best Batman!?

Okay, so since Batman seems to be in the air lately, why not have a poll about the Caped Crusader? Yeah, sounds good to this guy. So we here at All Things Kevyn, aka Me, pose this question to all my faithful readers and true believers out there. Just who the hell is the best Batman!? Is it the great campy Adam West from the sixties? Maybe it's the darker Michael Keaton version from the Tim Burton films, or perhaps Val Kilmer or George Clooney in the Joel Schumacher films. No really, it could be Clooney. Okay, okay. Maybe your choice is Christian Bale in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. But let's not forget the all-new Batfleck, aka Ben Affleck. Yeah, so these are your choices. 

Now all you need do is to head on over to the poll widget, found oh so conveniently near the top of this blog's sidebar, and get your vote on. And please feel free to tell all your friends about our little poll here. The poll will run for the entirety of the month of April (plus a few days into May), with the final results being announced here on the ole blog, on Saturday, May 7th, aka Free Comic Book Day. Okay, maybe the results will announced the following day. We all know I am going to be way too busy on Saturday, getting my Free Comic Book Day nerd on. Anyhoo, get on over there and vote vote vote. That it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Final Oscar Predictions

So here we go kids. My annual attempt at predicting the Oscars. Sure, there has been a lot of controversy over this year's rather lily white nominations, and rightfully so (where are the deserving nominations for Anthony P. Jordan in Creed, Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina, or Spike Lee for directing Chi-Raq!!??), but these are the nominees (until the Academy gains a bit of diversity in its membership), and these are my predictions. Have at 'em!

Best Picture
Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: Spotlight or The Big Short
Should Win: The Revenant

For awhile, it looked as if Spotlight was going to run away with this award, then The Big Short gained steam, and looked like it would take the big prize. Personally, I think these two socially relevant films, which are basically the same damn film, will cancel each other out, and the more cinematic film, The Revenant, will take home the prize. Then again, wins for either Spotlight or The Big Short are more in line with the Academy's penchant for giving awards to good, but basically mediocre films, a la The King's Speech or Argo. A win for Mad Max could be a fun surprise though.

Best Director
Will Win: Alejandro G. Inarittu for The Revenant
Could Win: George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win: Alejandro G. Inarritu for The Revenant

Before the nominations were announced, I thought Ridley Scott was a shoo-in for the Oscar, but when he was left out of the announcement, I had to throw in with a different horse. That horse is the Mexican auteur, Inarittu. But can he really pull it of two years in a row? If I am right, and Inarittu does win, that will make him just the third person to win back to back directing Oscars (after John Ford and Joe Mankiewicz), and the first guy to do it in 65 years, and if his film wins as well, he will be the very first director to have back to back Best Picture wins. Oh, and with Alfonso Cuaron's victory three years ago, an Inarittu win would make it three consecutive Mexican victories in the category. At least there is some diversity here. Oh, and let's not count out George Miller...just in case the Academy doesn't want to award a back to back Oscar here.

Best Actor
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
Could Win: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant (come on!)
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Let's face it gang, this is Leo DiCaprio's award. I've never been a huge Leo fan, finding him good, but never great. In The Revenant, he is better than I have ever seen him before. Then again, the power of the direction makes this the great film it is, but still Leo does come through, and will finally get his Oscar. In another year, either Fassbender as Jobs or Cranston as Trumbo could walk away with this award, but not this year.

Best Actress
Will Win: Brie Larson in Room
Could Win: Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years (but doubtful)
Should Win: Cate Blanchett in Carol

Nearly as a big a shoo-in as Leo, Brie Larson's turn in the little indie film that could (and did) will win the young actress her first (of several?) Oscars. Personally, I would like to see the great Cate win her second Oscar, but that probably is not going to happen, Brie is a deserving victor though. Anyway, let's get on with the predictions, as the other two acting categories, and screenplay s a swell, are as big of shoo-ins as the lead categories.

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Sly Stallone in Creed
Could Win: Sly Stallone in Creed (shoo-in)
Should Win: Tom Hardy in The Revenant

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl
Could Win: Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs
Should Win: Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Spotlight
Could Win: Straight Outta Compton
Should Win: Ex Machina

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: The Big Short
Could Win: Room or Carol
Should Win: Carol

Best Animated Feature
Will Win: Inside Out
Could Win: Anomalisa
Should Win: Anomalisa

Best Documentary Feature
Will Win: Amy
Could Win: What Happened, Miss Simone?
Should Win: Amy

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: Son of Saul
Could Win: Mustang (but doubtful}
Should Win: Embrace of the Serpant

Best Cinematography
Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: Carol or Mad Max (but probably not)
Should Win: The Hateful Eight

Best Production Design
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Could Win: The Martian
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Film Editing
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Could Win: The Big Short (kind of a two way race)
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Costume Design
Will Win: Carol (maybe a longshot, but what the hey)
Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road or Cinderella
Should Win: Carol

Best Make-Up & Hairstyling
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Could Win: The Revenant
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Original Score
Will Win: The Hateful Eight
Could Win: Carol or Star Wars (but unlikely)
Should Win: The Hateful Eight

Best Original Song
Will Win: Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground
Could Win: Writings on the Wall from Spectre
Should Win: Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground (It's Gaga!!)

Best Sound Mixing
Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road (two way race, really)
Should Win: The Revenant or Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Editing
Will Win: The Revenant
Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road (two way race, really)
Should Win: The Revenant or Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Visual Effects
Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Could Win: Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant (that damn bear!)
Should Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Animated Short
Will Win: Bear Story
Could Win: Sanjay's Super Team
Should Win: We Can't Live Without Cosmos

Best Live Action Short
Will Win: Shok
Could Win: Shutterer
Should Win: ?????

Best Documentary Short
Will Win: A Girl in the River
Could Win: Body Team 12
Should Win: ?????

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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The 10 Best Walking Dead Characters Not Named Daryl Dixon

Let's face it kids, if we were to do a poll of all the fans of the AMC TV hit, The Walking Dead, approximately 99 and 44/100ths percent of them would vote for Daryl Dixon as their number one zombie apocalypse survivor. Okay, perhaps that is a bit high of a percentage, but you get my drift. Daryl is the be all and end all of The Walking Dead. Which is rather ironic considering he is the one major character of the show that has never been in the comic book from which the show is adapted. So, basically this list is going to be a list of those Walking Dead characters who invariably come in second, third, fourth, and so on, to one Mr. Daryl Dixon. Anyhoo, before we get started, I would like to shout out a big ole "I'm sorry!" to Tyreese, Dale, T-Dog, Sasha, Little Lizzie, Morgan, and especially Beth. Sorry guys, even you, Eugene, but I had to make the cut somewhere. And to Lori and Andrea - I never really liked you guys all that much anyway. And yes, once Negan finally makes his television debut later this season, I may have to update this list, So let's get on with the list. Oh, and for those of you that still haven't seen the show (are there really any of you out there still!?) there be spoilers a-plenty ahead. So you've been warned.

And awaaaaaaay we go...

10. Shane

Yeah, he's a gigantic asshole, but he did kick some major ass in his time on the show. Sure, he shot Otis in the leg and left him as walker bait, but hey, I would have done the same thing. His number one goal was save Carl, and if he didn't make it back to the farm, Carl would have died. Okay, he tried to kill Rick because he wanted to have Lori all to himself, and that was a real dick move, but the guy did protect Lori while Rick was off having a nap, and maybe he deserved the little sumpin' sumpin' he got from the gal. Okay, maybe not, but he did kick a lot of ass, and got that whole barn situation taken care of. Now am I the only one who thinks Judith looks a lot like Shane?

9. Carl

Yeah, I know, I know. At first this obnoxious little brat was everyone's number one choice for most "I-hope-he-gets-killed-soon" character, myself included. But ya know what? The little shit kinda grows on ya. At least he grew on me. I mean, this kid has been through a lot. He had to kill his own mom, and he had to take care of his dad when he was seeing ghosts. Carl has deserved his rise in respectability. Hell, he even had the balls to hit on Beth. Going from idiot child to real live ass-kicking member of the group in season 3, Carl is now old enough (and un-obnoxious enough) to make this list, and maybe even get some soon. Hey, and he loves pudding too.

8. Glenn & Maggie, aka Gleggie

The hottest couple in the Zombie Apocalypse should rightfully share a spot here - plus it's a great way to sneak in a top eleven. Glenn was fun and all that before hooking up with the farmer's hot daughter (he did save Rick's ass in the first episode), but after their tryst in the pharmacy, he became that much cooler, and together these guys are enough to give everyone hope for the future. Their search to find each other after the prison went down, and everyone was separated, is a quest for the proverbial ages. Maggie and Glenn (a couple so hot that they even get their own Bennifer-esque portmanteau) are both kick-ass on their own (remember when Glenn was tied to that chair and took down that walker, or when everyone was sick and Mags was cuttin' down walkers left and right?) but together - they fucking rock!

7. The Governor

The poor guy just wanted to keep his little girl safe. Michonne had no reason to do what she did. The Governor's a good guy. He built a community where he kept people safe. Well except for when he stabbed Milton and left Andrea for dead, or when he pitted brother against brother in a ring of walkers, or when he attacked the prison...twice. Okay, who the hell am I kidding? The guy is an out and out psychopath, but isn't that why we love the guy? No? Well, it's why I love the guy. He is an eye-patch-wearing, bad-ass mofo, and I wouldn't want him any other way. Well, he was an eye-patch-wearing, bad-ass mofo. Now he's just walker meat.

6. Abraham

You want tough? Well, I got just the guy for you. Abraham takes no guff from no one, be it the living or the dead. With that handlebar mustache and flat-top hairstyle, all those oily muscles, and all those guns (arms and arms, alike), Abraham is one bad-ass mofo. Yeah, he took it a bit hard when he found out Eugene was lying to them all (though Eugene has since redeemed himself) but when he went into that construction site horde of walkers to single-handedly rescue a fallen comrade, well that was fucking bad-ass to the nth degree, man! Plus, it appears that Abraham is one of the few people still able to get sex during the Zombie Apocalypse.

5. Hershel

In the early episodes it was wizened old Dale that acted as the moral center of the show (though he was kind of a douche at times), but after he got gutted like a goddamn fish, the group needed a new moral compass on which to rely, and that guy became old Reverend Hershel Greene. Sure, at first Hershel was in a big ole bag of denial, but after the barn incident, and the ensuing chaos that sprung up from that, as well as losing his leg (oh man), Hershel changed his tune and became one of the most important people in the group. An importance that was emphasized by his daring to go into the quarantined and infested prison cell block. Even after losing his head (man, oh man) it was the memory of Hershel that helped many of the splintered survivors carry on. Hell, even Daryl called him one tough sonofabitch. Didjya ever notice that if you were to combine the eye-patched Governor and the peg-legged Hershel, you would have mighty fine zombie killin' pirate. .

4. Rick

Okay, he's a born leader, but sometimes the guy gets a little, shall we say, distracted by the ghost of his dead wife. And maybe sometimes he falls into a coma, and misses the entire beginning of the zombie apocalypse. And then sometimes he falls into another coma (or something like that) and has to be taken care of by his son. And sometimes he gets in shouting matches with a one-eyed sociopath, and ends up causing his whole group to lose their comfy prison home. And then sometimes he stupidly befriends an obvious whack-a-doodle he finds living in the woods, with her boyfriend's head in a bag. And sometimes he wastes day after day being a farmer instead of the leader he was born to be. Okay, maybe he isn't that great of a leader after all. No seriously, he actually is a really good leader, with or without his gigantic beard of terror!

3. Michonne

One of the biggest ass-kickers on the show has just got to be the lady with the dreads, the katana blade, and a coupla armless, jawless walkers in chains. One of the most popular characters in both the comics and the TV show, Michonne is the balls-out samurai of the zombie apocalypse, and she gave the governor that kick-ass piratey eye-patch by putting that aforementioned katana blade through his little girl's undead head. This bitch is bad, baby! Do not mess with this lady! She will kick your ass! Hey, and she collects comic books for Carl too. How cool is that?

2. Merle

Come on people! Ya know ya love some Merle Dixon. Ya know ya do. Yeah, he may have been a redneck racist who would just as soon kill ya as look atchya, but when the chips were down, he was a good guy to have at your back. This one-handed mofo (hey, we could combine him with the Guv and Hersh, to make the ultimate Walking Dead pirate!) not only saved his brother's life, but also came to the rescue of Rick and the others when it came down to it all. Yeah, yeah, he beat the living crap outta Glenn, and then tied him to a chair and let a walker loose on him, but hey, he's a good guy. Right? He did go out a hero though. So there. And to be honest, I think Merle is actually my favourite Dixon brother.

1. Carol

Sure, when dirty deeds need done, ya get Daryl Dixon to do 'em. But when Daryl ain't around, the best place to go is to good ole Carol. She started out as an abused wife, then became a grieving mother, then sometime around there, she turned into a kick-as warrior woman who would do anything that needed to be done, in order to protect those she loved and cared for. It's kill or be killed for Carol Peletier, and this guy wouldn't want it any other way. Hell, she single-handedly saved the entire group from the clutches of the Termites, and then did it again when the Wolves attacked Alexandria.. She deserves to be on this list, and in the number one spot at that. And she makes great cookies too. I just wouldn't ask her to babysit.

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

All Things Kevyn Proudly Endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States of America

Now I usually don't bring politics into this blog. I mean, it is a blog about pop culture, not politics. But every once and a while, it does sneak into my blogging, and today is one of those once and a whiles. You see, since newspaper do these things, I thought I would as well. So, without further ado, please allow me to state that I, as a blogger, writer, artist, photographer, and all-around pop culturist, and in turn, the blog known as All Things Kevyn, proudly endorse and support Hillary Rodham Clinton as President of these United States of America. I hold no ill will toward Senator Bernie Sanders, as he is a noble candidate, and I would vote for him if he were to get the Democratic nomination (especially over such opponents as Ted Cruz or Donald Trump}, but it is Hillary Clinton who I think would make the better Commandor-in-Chief. The better world leader. She is the right woman for the job.

There ya go. Short and to the point. An official political endorsement. Now we can move on to more pressing matters such as the new Deadpool movie or the return of The Walking Dead or my upcoming Oscar predictions. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Monday, February 8, 2016

My 10 Fave Films of 2015

I may be a bit late in finally compiling and releasing my annual top ten list, but here it is. Better late than never, as they, whomever they happen to be, like to say. But enough is enough. Let the wait end now. Here is my list.

1. The Hateful Eight - So, I think that anyone who knows anything about your humble ole narrator here, is not even close to being surprised at my choice for the best film of 2015. In this critic's mind, Tarantino can do no wrong. Well, at least he has yet to do any wrong. I know QT has many a detractor out there in the cinema loving community (he's sort of a love him or hate him kinda guy) but those people can just suck it. Okay, seriously, from a critical standpoint, The Hateful Eight is what we in the biz call a masterpiece - and that is a word I do not use lightly. The auteur's third best film, after Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds, this 70mm parlour piece western is a gorgeous and succulent film, replete with Tarantino's deft dialogue-heavy style. Simply brilliant, and well deserving of the title, Best Film of 2015.

2. The Revenant - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu took home the Oscar last year for his film Birdman. This year he may do it again for The Revenant. A richly succulent work of art, Inarritu's film, probably taking the top spot in any Tarantino-less year, tells the rather brutal story of one man's struggle to survive unbelievable hardships, in order to find the man who murdered his son. Leo DiCaprio is better here than he ever has been, and the same goes for the villainous Tom Hardy. Perhaps, with its bitterness and harsh reality, the film is not everyone's tastes, but it works damn well for this critic.

3. Carol - Todd Haynes has made beautiful films before, so there should be no surprise that he has done it again, and this time he brought the great Cate Blanchett along for the ride. Probably Haynes' best film aside from Far From Heaven or I'm Not There, Carol tells the so-called forbidden story of sapphic love in 1952 America, and does it with stunning beauty, both exterior and interior. 

4. Ex Machina - Here is a film that was overlooked by many this year (though we critics loved it). A tiny sci-fi film about artificial intelligence, written and directed by Alex Garland, the guy who wrote the novel The Beach, and did the screenplays for 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go, The film stars Oscar Isaac (ya know, Poe from Star Wars, and one of the best damn actors working today), Domhnall Glesson (ya know, General Hux in Star Wars, and Bill Weasley in Harry Potter), and Alicia Vikander (an actual Oscar nominee this year, for The Danish Girl). Trust me, ya'll wanna see this one.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road - The big surprise hit of 2015. Whoulda thunk it, that George Miller would make another Mad Max film, thirty years after the last one in the series, and the damn thing ends up being the best one of 'em all!? Well, that is exactly what Fury Road is! A pure adrenaline rush of a motion picture, whose motion almost never stops. And now Miller is poised to maybe win the best director Oscar. Take note Michael Bay and Jimmy Cameron, this is how you make a blockbuster that matters

6. Chi-Raq - With all the controversy over the lack of diversity at the Oscars, and the snubbing of a film like Straight Outta Compton (see a few spots down on this list), this Spike Lee Joint gets little said about it. A hip hop musical version of the Greek comedy Lysistrata, that is done in almost complete rhyming verse, and tells the story of gang life in Chicago, should be up for Best Picture and Best Director, at the very least. Granted, I don't have an Oscar vote, but if I did, Lee's best film in over a decade, would get some of them.

7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens - I have been waiting for more than thirty years for Han and Leia and Luke to return to the big screen, and finally that time has come. J.J. Abrams, through his use of filming in 35mm, has made this new film look more like the originals, and less like those digitized glossy messes we called prequels. Combine that with the nostalgia of seeing childhood heroes back in the swing of things (at least, for me and my fellow Gen Xers), and a vibrant array of newcomers (more Poe in the next film, btw), and you have one hell of a film. It may not be the original, but this film comes a lot closer than any of those damn prequels could ever dream of coming.

8. Straight Outta Compton - This sometimes brutal, sometimes charming, sometimes infuriating, sometimes gorgeous, sometimes laugh out loud funny (bye Felicia!) film about the uprising of old school hip hoppers NWA, may have been snubbed at the lily-white Oscars (it's only nomination is for the three white guys who wrote the screenplay) but I won't snub it here at All Things Kevyn. 

9. The Martian - Granted, when compared to the likes of Blade Runner or Alien, or even American Gangster or Thelma & Louise, The Martian may seem a bit on the lighter side of Ridley Scott's ouevre, but it is still a solid film, filled with a bunch of equally solid performances, and highlighted by Matt Damon's lead. A fun, beautifully shot film, and hey, even lesser Ridley Scott is better than many a director's best work. So there.

10. Room - 2015's beautifully nightmarish little film that could. This tiny indie film, currently nominated for 4 Oscars, including Best Picture, jumps right into the tragic story of a kidnap victim and her young son, who knows of nothing outside of the room he and his mother are kept in by their captor. Brie Larson's performance as the mother is a brilliant turn, only upstaged by 8 year old Jacob Tremblay as her bewildered son. It may sound cliche to call Room, a haunting film, but damn if it isn't.

So there ya go kids. The best films of 2015. Sorry again, for the tardiness. Now on to 2016. For now...that's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Oh How I Did on My Oscar Nomination Predictions

So, the annual Oscar nominations were announced yesterday. There were a few (semi) surprises, and there is, of course, some controversy. Yeah, for the second year in a row, all twenty acting nominees were white as white can be. But hey, let's leave the lily white Oscar talk for another day. After all, the blatant racism is not so much with the Oscars, as much as it is about Hollywood as a whole. Sure, perhaps if the Academy were a more diverse group of people, then maybe films such as Straight Outta Compton or Spike Lee's Chi-raq would have garnered a few nominations. Maybe not. In full disclosure, Straight Outta Compton did receive a screenplay nod, but it is for the three white guys who wrote the damn thing. But, as I said, we are not here for a debate. We are here to find out how damn well I did in predicting yesterday's nominations. I mean, after all, this is a pop culture blog. Let's save the serious stuff for Facebook. Ha! Anyhoo, I digress.

So, I went 37 for 42, or 88%, in my Oscar nomination predictions. I picked 7 of the 8 Best Picture nominees, having the non-nominated Carol listed in my top eight, instead of the surprising (but deserving) nominee, Room. Meanwhile, I went 5 for 5 in three of the acting categories, missing just one in Supporting Actress (picking Helen Mirren instead of Rachel McAdams). I went 4 for 5 in Original Screenplay (the snubbing of Tarantino is made a little easier by the lovely surprise of Ex Machina grabbing that fifth spot), and 4 for 5 in Adapted Screenplay (the snubbed Aaron Sorkin for Steve Jobs was a shock, especially considering I had the guy pegged to win the Oscar in six weeks). And speaking of supposed frontrunners getting snubbed, we have my worst category. Going just 3 for 5 in Director. Seriously, no Ridley Scott for Director!? I am not even close to the only person predicting Scott to actually win the Oscar. But alas, that will not happen now. Good to see Room director, Lenny Abrahamson, grab a nod though. But sad to not hear Todd Haynes in there. Anyhoo, there ya have it. 88% ain't all that bad.

I will, of course, be back with my final Oscar Predictions the day before the ceremony, which will be on Sunday, February 28th. I will also, of course, be back before that, with other various blog posts, including my rather tardy Best Films of 2015 list, and other fun stuff.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Oscar Nominations Predictions

Best Picture

Nowadays, this category (The Big One), can have anywhere between 5 and 10 nominees. Personally I think this is a bit stupid. I like the days when there were a solid 5 nominees here. But hey, we adapt. So, with all this in mind, here are my predictions.

1. Spotlight
2. The Revenant
3. The Martian
4. The Big Short
5. Mad Max: Fury Road

In case it goes deeper than five....

6. Bridge of Spies
7. Carol
8. Brooklyn
9. Room
10. Straight Outta Compton

Everyone is claiming Spotlight as the one sure thing, and the eventual winner. It did just lose the Golden Globe to The Revenant, but then again, last year's Oscar winner, Birdman, lost the golden Globe as well, so who knows. I believe both Spotlight and The Revenant are shoo-ins. I also think The Martian has jumped up recently in probability, and The Big Short has dropped a bit, but still, both will be announced come Thursday morning. As will Mad Max: Fury Road. Yeah, that's right, a Mad Max film is going to be nominated for Best Picture. So that should be the top five, but as I stated earlier, we could get up to ten nominees. I think it is going to be only five, and maybe up to seven at the most. This means Bridge of Spies and Carol possibly getting nominated. The final three on the above list are just here as filler. Who knows. The final question is what will happen with Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Could it have gotten enough of a push (you may have heard something about this movie over the past month or so) to sneak in to this list? Obviously, I am saying no, but I suppose it wouldn't be that big of a shocker if it does. Other darker horse possibilities include such films as Inside Out, Steve Jobs, Sicario, and/or Trumbo. Personally, I would like to see The Hateful Eight, but who the hell am I kidding?

Best Director

1. Ridley Scott for The Martian
2. Alejandro G. Inarritu for The Revenant
3. Tom McCarthy for Spotlight
4. George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Todd Haynes for Carol

Even though Spotlight is the frontrunner for BP, I do not think the film's director is the frontrunner, or even close to it. I think the Oscar is going to either last year's winner, Inarritu (which, thanks to Alfonso Cuaron's win for Gravity, would be three consecutive years with a Mexican director taking home the gold), a man who did just win the Golden Globe, or maybe Ridley Scott, a well-respected man, who despite having been nominated three previous times, has never won the award, even when his film, Gladiator, took home BP in 2000. Granted, The Big Short's Adam McKay could easily get one of the final two nods, or maybe even Spielberg for Bridge of Spies (talk about well-liked in Hollywood), especially if the film is up for BP, but I am sticking with Miller and Haynes, the latter of which may just be wishful thinking on my part. I suppose David O. Russell, for Joy, could also surprise. As for Quentin Tarantino? Again, who the hell am I kidding?

Best Actor

1. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
2. Eddie Radmayne in The Danish Girl
3. Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs
4. Matt Damon in The Martian
5. Bryan Cranston in Trumbo

People are always asking, when is Leo going to win his Oscar? When is Leo going to win his Oscar? When is Leo going to win his Oscar!? Well kids, it looks as if it is going to be rather soon. So can ya'll shut the hell up now!!? Sure, Redmayne is playing transgender, which is a trendy subject these days, but he just won last year. Fassbender is Steve Jobs, and Oscar loves biopics, Matt Damon, lost and in need of rescuing AGAIN, and Cranston is playing Hollywood blacklisted icon, Dalton Trumbo, but come on, it looks like Leo is finally getting his gold. Seriously, shut up about it already!! I know my lovely wife is not going to be happy about it (not his biggest fan), but it is going to happen. But I digress. This is probably the closest any of the acting categories have to a five for five lock, just in case there is a surprise here, and either Cranston or Damon are left snubbed, let's not forget Johnny Depp in Black Mass and/or Will Smith in Concussion. Michael Caine in Youth? Maybe, but quite dark horsey.

Best Actress

1. Brie Larson in Room
2. Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn
3. Cate Blanchett in Carol
4. Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years
5. Jennifer Lawrence in Joy

This category might get complicated. You see, after Larson and Ronan, the frontrunners to win, we have the film Carol, and its two leads, Blanchett and Rooney Mara. But here's the rub. Mara, who is actually in the film a bit more than Blanchett, is being billed as Supporting. She went lead at the Globes, but she is going supporting here. The thing is, voters can put her wherever they damn well please, and she could actually snag that fifth nod, which is up in the air. She has a better shot in the Supporting race (which is why the studio played it this way), but we could still see her her. Alicia Vikander is also being billed as Supporting for The Danish Girl, even though she went lead at the Globes, but that one feels slightly less like category fraud. Slightly. Anyhoo, you can check both of these ladies out in my Supporting Actress predictions. Meanwhile, here in Lead Actress, we also have Rampling, who seems like a sure bet, and then that damn fifth spot. That spot will probably go to Jennifer Lawrence in Joy. Yeah, the film has not been all that well received, but the girl is Hollywood's darling these days. Let's not forget the great Lily Tomlin, who could be tossed into the fray for her role in Grandma. Again, we could seriously still see Mara in this spot, or Vikander, or even, in a fun surprise, Charlize Theron for her role in Mad Max. Stranger things have happened. Earlier in the race, I would have included Carey Mulligan for Suffragette, but the film flopped, and all her buzz went away.

Best Supporting Actor

1. Sylvester Stallone in Creed
2. Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies
3. Christian Bale in The Big Short
4. Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight
5. Tom Hardy in The Revenant

Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to live in a world where Sylvester Stallone has an acting Oscar. That's right. So take that! Meanwhile, Rylance and Bale are all pretty solid bets to grab nods on Thursday morning. Then it will most likely be a member of the Spotlight cast. I mean, if that film is the expected winner (a thing I am still not sold on), you would think it would have at least one acting nod. I went with Ruffalo, but Michael Keaton is just as possible. The fifth spot should go to Tom Hardy in The Revenant (Leo isn't alone in that film, ya know), but the poor schmuck seems to be getting no love this awards season. Here's to hopin'. Another fun surprise could be Jacob Tremblay for Room, but again, not likely. I suppose Michael Shannon could sneak in for 99 Homes, or even Paul Dano for Love and Mercy, but they are pretty dark horses themselves. Then again, there is bound to be at least on surprise in here, right?

Best Supporting Actress

1. Rooney Mara in Carol
2. Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl
3. Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs
4. Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight
5. Helen Mirren in Trumbo

If ya wanna know about the category fraud going on here, scroll back to Best Actress. Because it is worse than ever this awards season. As I said earlier, Mara has a better shot here than in her proper category, and she is probably the closest thing this category has to a frontrunner. Actually, this is the one acting category that does not have a true frontrunner. It would not be surprising to see Mara, Vikander, or Winslet winning this. Leigh is also a shoo-in for a nod Thursday morning, but probably not for the Oscar itself, sadly enough. Then we have that damn fifth spot again. I am (obviously) going with Mirren here, but it could just as easily be Rachel McAdams for Spotlight (frontrunner coattails?), Jane Fonda in Youth, or Joan Allen in Room. Still though, wouldn't it be fun to hear Jennifer Jason Leigh's name announced on Oscar night? Yeah, just wishful thinking. I suppose Mara, one of the best of her generation, is deserving of the win, but come on people, she is the lead of the film. Fucking Oscar.

Best Original Screenplay

1. Spotlight
2. Bridge of Spies
3. The Hateful Eight
4. Inside Out
5. Straight Outta Compton

Best Adapted Screenplay

1. Steve Jobs
2. Room
3. Brooklyn
4. The Martian
5. The Big Short

I think Original is pretty much a done deal. These five are strong contenders (though Trainwreck might sneak in), with Spotlight taking home the Oscar. As for Adapted, Sorkin is most likely winning another Oscar for Steve Jobs. The others are pretty sure things for nods as well, although Carol could sneak in there instead of one of the bottom three. Maybe Trumbo too. Maybe.

So there ya have it. I suppose I could go on with categories like Cinematography (Carol, Sicario, Mad Max, The Revenant, The Hateful Eight) or Costume Design (The Danish Girl, Brooklyn, Mad Max, and in a battle between Sandy Powell and Sandy Powell, Carol and Cinderella) or Production Design (Mad Max, Carol, The Martian, Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl), but I'll stop at these. I'll return on Thursday, to run down the actual nominees, and letchya'll in on how well I did.

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