Sunday, September 30, 2007

Who's Better?: Anne Hathaway vs. Michelle Williams in "Brokeback Mountain"

Last night I watched Brokeback Mountain again, and two things really stood out on this viewing (my 5th, in case you were wondering). The first is that final scene between Ennis and Alma Jr. when she tells him that she is getting married. All these questions kept popping into my head: Does Alma know about her father and Jack? If she doesn't, will she ever know? Does she ever wonder why her father spends all of his time alone and doesn't get remarried? I know it's probably immaterial to what's going on in the film, but I just couldn't help thinking about it.

The second is Anne Hathaway. Now, I was a big Hathaway supporter for this film when everyone was raving about Michelle Williams and ignoring her but, overall, I felt Williams was just a teensy bit better. And through multiple viewings, I felt confident in this assessment. But, after last night, damn....Anne Hathaway just blew me away this time. While all I could think about concerning Michelle Williams was how little she is actually in the movie, Hathaway nearly stole the damn show. She's brilliant not only the big telephone call scene, but also the smaller ones like the Thanksgiving debacle between Jack and her father (in which she doesn't say more than five words) and the scene where Jack is looking for his blue parka. I'm not going to take anything away from Williams (she's absolutely brilliant) but Hathaway really should have been nominated right next to her on Oscar night 2005.

Now that I've said my piece, who's you favorite Brokeback woman: Anne "Here are my breasts!" Hathaway and Michelle "Jack Nasty" Williams?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Random Top 10: "Dancing Queen"-ed Out and the Great ABBA songs

ABBA is, bar none, my favorite musical group ever. Screw The Beatles. Fuck The Rolling Stones. Even The Sex Pistols and the Spice Girls can't compare to this supergroup from Sweden. They, during the hey-day of Disco, made cheesy pop music classy and respectable and, more importantly, their music doesn't sounded dated or as rooted in the 70's as many of their counterparts (Listen to "Ring My Bell" and you can definitely tell it's a disco song, but ABBA's "Lay All Your Love on Me" could have been made a year ago). Unfortunately though, whenever most people think of ABBA nowadays, all they can talk about is "Dancing Queen." I have no problem with this song whatsoever (it's really a fine tune), but for the past year or so I've just gotten so sick of the song that I can't even listen to it anymore. The same thing with "Mamma Mia." It's just a shame that people are all stuck on this song when ABBA has created a multitude of other songs that are just as good (if not better) than "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia." So, here's my list of the 10 best ABBA songs that everyone should listen to right now and immediately fall in love with.

10. Voulez Vous (Voulez Vous)
Not only can you create fabulous choreography to it (my friend Ashley and I have done it on a long car ride home) but that line "Voulez vous! Ah-hah" can get stuck in your head for days.

9. Super Trouper (Super Trouper)

A lovely and simple pop song about being a pop star that is made even greater by the chorus where the men sing in the background "Sup-per-per Troup-per-per." It's so much fun that you can go listen to the whole song and just sing that section.

8. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) (Super Trouper)

When The Madonna sampled this song in her hit "Hung Up" not only was it a brilliant choice on her part (this song definitely has the catchiest hook ABBA ever created) but it made me realize just what a great song "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" is.

7. Money, Money, Money (Arrival)

The ultimate gold digger song.

6. Knowing Me, Knowing You (Arrival)

The realization that a relationship is never going to work captured in a brilliant pop song. I don't know how they did it, but they did.

5. Angeleyes (Voulez Vous)

Agnetha and Ann-Frid's voices go so beautifully together on this song that they could have been singing the alphabet for three and a half minutes and it still would have been great. "Angeleyes," luckily, is a really well written song- it's a shame it's relatively ignored when discussing the best ABBA songs.

4. Waterloo (Waterloo)

ABBA's breakthrough hit (it won the Eurovision contest the year it was entered) is still one of their best because their is just so much energy behind this song that you can just feel their desire to create the perfect pop song. Besides, what other song can you think of that draws parallels between Napoleon's surrender at Waterloo and a power struggle in a relationship...I didn't think so.

3. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do (ABBA)

From the moment I saw Toni Collete march down the aisle to this song at her wedding in Muriel's Wedding, I realized two things: 1) I'm totally doing that at my wedding and 2) This song is the shit. Fabulously over-the-top (listen to that wailing saxophone!) and not ashamed of this at all, it's ABBA's best pure pop song.

2. Chiquitita (Voulez Vous)

ABBA very rarely dabbled in the serious, but when they did, it was golden. "Chiquitita," which tells of a person trying to understand why a good friend is retreating away from everyone and into them self, would be good on it's own with lyrics as beautiful as "Chiquitita, you and I know, how the heartaches come and they go and the scars they're leaving" but it also happens to contain one of ABBA's most haunting melodies.

1. The Winner Takes It All (Super Trouper)

"The Winner Takes It All" is another serious song (this time about the pain of divorce and/or breaking up) and also one of their most personal (the group members were all divorcing/had divorced each other at this point). It's so emotional and raw that you can't help being compelled by it. Plus, that note at the end is one for the ages: Agnetha rips into it with all the power and bitterness she can muster...a spectacular feast for the ears.

So what do you think? What are your favorite ABBA songs? Which songs of mine do you disagree with?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oscar Predictions: September 2007

I've been updating my Oscar predictions on my own the past few months, but, with the Oscar season kicking in full force, I felt like I should post my thoughts now.

Best Picture
American Gangster
No Country For Old Men
The Savages
There Will Be Blood

Rants: I really placed The Savages here on a whim (Oscar usually goes for a contemporary comedy, right?) but the rest have the most buzz right now. I give the edge to Atonement over No Country For Old Men because it's a costume film based on a highly-acclaimed novel and Oscar eats that shit up for breakfast.

Best Actor

John Cusack, Grace is Gone
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
James McAvoy, Atonement
Denzel Washington, American Gangster

Rants: This seems like the consensus right now (with the exception of Cusack...but come on, he plays a grieving Iraq War widower with two children- how can Oscar look the other way?) with Jones leading the pack by earning some of the best reviews of his career for Paul Haggis' follow-up to Crash.

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Jodie Foster, The Brave One
Nicole Kidman, Margot at the Wedding
Keira Knightley, Atonement
Laura Linney, The Savages

Rants: This is the hardest race to predict right now because their seems like no clear front runner at the moment. I'd go with Cotillard (who I finally get to see in a couple of weeks when her film comes to my town!) because she's been getting the most buzz, but she's in a foreign film and Oscar is pretty much allergic to them. Kidman's been getting exceptional reviews, but she just won in 2002 so that might be a little too soon for a second win. Maybe this will be Linney's year if her performance is ever bit as good as it's chalked up to be.

Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Philip Bosco, The Savages
Alan Rickman, Sweeney Todd
Mark Ruffalo, Reservation Road
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Rants: There's no way any of these man can compare with the accolades Bardem has been receiving for his performance in No Country For Old Men. It's going to take a pretty buzz-worthy performance to dethrone him at this point.

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Margot at the Wedding
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Susan Sarandon, In the Valley of Elah
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Rants: Blanchett has been praised from here to kingdom come for her performance as Bob Dylan in I'm Not There, but I think Jennifer Jason Leigh will sneak in there because of the fact that she's been ignored by Oscar her whole career.

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Ang Lee, Lust, Caution
Ridley Scott, American Gangster
Joe Wright, Atonement

Rants: Lee might sneak in because this is the category where the Academy loves to place an acclaimed foreign film that they don't want to nominate for Best Picture (Meirelles in 2003, Almodovar in 2002, Fellini and Bergman back in the day), but the Coen Brothers really have a big lead over the rest of them. This might change, however, once we get some reviews for Blood and Gangster.

Best Original Screenplay
Knocked Up
Margot at the Wedding
The Savages

Rants: Oscar generally prefers grown-up comedies in this category (Eternal Sunshine won here in 2004 as did Little Miss Sunshine last year) so these seem like the safest bets. Any of these could easily win (except maybe Ratatouille), but I'm going to go with Margot because it's written by Noah Baumbach and many felt like he should have won in 2005 for The Squid and the Whale (But who did Oscar pick that year....of course, Crash...ugh)

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Gangster
No Country For Old Men
Reservation Road
There Will Be Blood

Rants: I know this is basically a repeat of the Best Picture nominees, but there is literally no other films getting any buzz in this category. Atonement seems like the safest bet because, like I stated before, is based off of an acclaimed novel.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

William Wyler Blog-a-thon: Babs is One Funny Girl

Director William Wyler is often quietly forgotten when one discusses the great directors of the Golden Age. The genre-lovers shun him because, unlike Hitchcock and John Ford, he worked in many different genres throughout his career and the auteur theorists disregard him because, unlike Howard Hawks who also worked in different genres, he never really developed a visual style that connects his films. This isn't a bad thing because, Wyler, instead, focused on the actors and actresses in his films and on helping them deliver the greatest performances they could. His technique often involved simply telling the actor "Again" and then reshooting the scene, but it worked nonetheless: 36 of the actors and actresses in his films earned Oscar nominations and 14 of them won the impressive feat unlikely to be broken anytime in the near future.

Funny Girl is one of Wyler's last films and, although it isn't on par with earlier masterpieces such as Dodsworth, The Letter and The Heiress, it's a personal favorite of mine and one hell of a good time. One reason for this love is the fabulous, star making performance Wyler coaxed out of film newcomer Barbra Streisand, who had originated the role of Fanny Brice in the Broadway production. Everyone figured she would be good, but no one expected the tour-de-force she delivers in Funny Girl. She's uses all of her "36 expressions" to good use, going from loud and boisterous to subdued and contemplative at the drop of a hat...all while toning down the stage performance she knew like the back of her hand for the cameras.

Babs' introduction to the film medium is through the often-quoted line "Hello, gorgeous"...and it was then that a gay icon was born.

One of the reasons I love Babs is because she's a diva bitch, she acknowledges it and basically tells everyone to suck it. Even if sometimes she turns into Ultra-Liberal, protector of the oppressed and the Earth, she has the talent to back all of these nutty antics up. Even on Funny Girl, she clashed with Wyler and other actors on set. When these actors complained to Wyler about her telling them what to do and how to act, he responded, tongue firmly in cheek, "You'll have to forgive Barbra; this is the first picture she's ever directed." Even if they argued all throughout the course of the film, it is in this Wyler/Streisand collaboration that leads to Funny Girl being such a fun movie...and for leading Streisand to her first (and only) acting Oscar in 1968.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Gossip Girl": The New (and Best) Successor to "The O.C."

The new Fall Season has barely started and I am already in love with a new show. Wednesday night was the premiere of the new teenage soap opera Gossip Girl (based on the hit books by Cecily von Ziegesar) and from the first ten minutes, I was hooked. The show isn't as smartly written as The O.C. was in its prime, but it's delightfully trashy and so over-the-top it makes shows like Laguna Beach and The Hills look almost like documentaries in comparison.

The show revolves around the students of an elite private school in New York City: There's Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), a former wild child who has come back from a semester at boarding school a whole new person. Blair, her former best friend, has turned into a cold bitch with her departure. Nate, Blair's boyfriend, cheated on Blair with Serena before she left and is really in love with her. Chuck, Nate's best friend, is a druggie prick who hits on naive freshman. And, finally, there are the newcomers to this world: Jenny Humphrey, a freshman trying to fit in with all the right girls and her brother...

Dan (played by Penn Badgley), the loveable outcast of the school who is hopelessly in love with Serena. All I have to say about Dan are two things:

1) Awwwwwww!
2) We finally have a new Seth Cohen!

He was so sweet, whether it was when he was helping his sister pick out a dress for the big party or punching Chuck out after he tries to seduce/rape his sister, that my friend Shannon and I went "Awwww" practically every time he came on screen. And I was so happy when he, through a coincidence, got a date with Serena. They didn't get much of a chance to be together (they had to stop what they were doing and rescue his sister in the middle) but they have amazing chemistry. Plus, that final shot of them in the taxi cab together was so amazing, I'm still thinking about it for some reason. I know this relationship is way too easy for a show of this nature, and there are bound to be major ups and downs, but it will be nice while everything is happy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Corny and The Divine One: Happy Birthday!

A couple of "Happy Birthdays" are in order for two very different actors: one of whom I love dearly and judge all other actresses by and the other whom I'm growing quite fond of:

JAMES MARSDEN (Today he is 34)

and, The Divine One herself, GRETA GARBO (She would have been 102)

After seeing Hairspray, I've grown quite fond of James Marsden. He was so super in that movie (plus, he was the only watchable thing about Superman Returns) that I wish he could find another film that will use his talents to good use. He stars in Disney live-action fairytale Enchanted in November as a prince trying to find his lost princess (Amy Adams) in New York City. Glancing at the trailer, it looks like this could be a very good year for Mr. Marsden.

It's hard to even know where to begin with my love for Garbo. How about some common knowledge: She is one of the greatest actresses in the history of film. Bar none. During her hey-day in the late 20's and 30's, she was the most beloved and respected actress in Hollywood. With brilliant performances in films such as Devil and the Flesh, The Kiss, Anna Christie, Mata Hari, Queen Christina, Anna Karenina, Camille and Ninotchka, it's no wonder why, even back then, she was considered the greatest of them all. If you haven't seen any of her work, go out and see something now! I've seen every American film she's been in (there are two German films, The Joyless Street and The Saga of Gosta Berling, that I've yet to catch) and, even if the film sucks, she is just wonderful to watch. I could go on and on about why I love her, but I think her work can speak for itself.

Happy Birthday James and Greta!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Short Rants on "Once"

I saw Once over the weekend and, I must say, I was rather disappointed. The film isn't horrible by any means, but I couldn't understand what has made so many people go completely ape-shit over it. For starters, there's no real conflict in the story. It has the startings of a traditional rom-com: boy and girl meet, immediate attraction, obstacle to quickly overcome to first date, etc. But, in Once, after the girl admits that she's married, the boy just kind of shrugs it off and doesn't even seem to care. Let me add, that this scene occurs about 2/3 of the way in so we still have about 30 minutes to fill with amounts to nothing. Basically, Once serves as an agonizingly extended music video for Glen Hansard's music. Secondly, the story is so cliched that it's not even funny. It's your basic average-man-with-extraordinary-talent-attempts-to-make- it-big-in-the-music-business story that Hollywood has been shoving down our throats for years. It even has the scene where the guy's father tells him to pursue his dream "for his ma" (I laughed pretty hard at that). If Once had a bigger budget and starred Scarlett Johansson and Justin Timberlake, the critics and bloggers would have crucified this film. Just because it's independent, stars unknowns and feels like "real life" (whatever that means) doesn't mean we can proclaim it the second coming of Christ when it's really not very original to begin with.

The film wasn't all bad, though. The direction was adequate, if it does try to hard to be "realistic". The acting was pretty good from Hansard and Marketa Irglova and the music was nice as well, even if it was a little too indie for my taste.

My Rating: *** 1/2

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Random Top 10: Biggest Comebacks

After the failed Britney comeback (which I am still utterly depressed about), I decided to write about some of the most successful comebacks. Maybe this will show her that it can be done and not to give up hope (or offer up about a million excuses).

10. Robert Downey, Jr. (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Good Night, and Good Luck)

After a slew of impressive performances in Less Than Zero, Chaplin (for which he received an Academy Award nomination and should have won the damn thing), Natural Born Killers and Home for the Holidays, Downey succumbed to a drug addiction that lead to him being jailed a couple of times. He made a small comeback of sorts on the TV show Ally McBeal (for which he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy), but eventually he relapsed and was forced into drug rehab. A couple of years later, he re-emerged with a pair of opposite performances in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Good Night, and Good Luck that proved that he was back and better than ever.

9. Ingrid Bergman (Anastasia)

There was a time during the late 40's when Ingrid Bergman was probably the most hated woman in Hollywood. While shooting the film Stromboli, she fell in love with director Roberto Rossellini and eventually became pregnant with his child. The only problem was that she was already married and had a daughter. This lead to her being denounced by Senator Edwin C. Johnson on the floor of the Senate, who called Ingrid "a horrible example of womanhood and a powerful influence for evil." This lead to her practically living in exile in Europe for the next 6 or so years, until she starred in her first post-scandal American film Anastasia in 1956. The film and performance proved to be a mega-success and, in the ultimate turn-around, Bergman was ultimately forgiven and awarded the Best Actress Oscar.

8. John Travolta (Pulp Fiction)

Saturday Night Fever and Grease made John Travolta one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, but after a series of flops throughout the 80's and early 90's, he was considerably less in demand. But then Quentin Tarantino cast him in Pulp Fiction and, with a great performance and second Academy Award nomination, he quickly became the hottest name in town again. It seems as if he kind of squandered his fame again after some more flops towards the end of the decade, but after two huge hits in 2007 (the mind-blowingly awful Wild Hogs and the fabulous Hairspray) it seems as if he's on the rise again.

7. Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show) and Rosie O'Donnell (The View)

At their peaks, Ellen had one of the most successful sitcoms on TV (Ellen) and Rosie had one of the most successful talk shows on TV (The Rosie O'Donnell Show). But then, they both came out of the closet and saw their careers go in steep decline. Both shows were ultimately canceled and the two women laid low for awhile. Then, Ellen delivered one of the greatest animated performances ever in Finding Nemo and found herself with her own talk show. Her quirkiness and sense of humor made for one hell of a good time and The Ellen DeGeneres Show is now one of the most popular talk shows on TV (probably right behind Oprah and Dr. Phil). Last year, Rosie joined the cast of The View and quickly became one of the most controversial hosts in the show's history. Her angry lesbian shtick made the show exciting again and The View saw a sharp increase in ratings.

6. The Ladies of Desperate Housewives

Who would have thought that the woman who played Lois on Lois and Clark, a former Melrose Place castmate, the wife of William H. Macy and an actress with no really impressive credits to her name would suddenly became the most adored women on the most popular show in the country?

5. Robert Altman (The Player)

The 80's were a tough time for Robert Altman. His 70's glory days long behind him, Altman was stuck doing horrible little films like O.C. and Stiggs, Fool for Love and HealtH that were nowhere near in the class of M*A*S*H, Nashville or 3 Women. Then in 1992, Altman did The Player, his satire of Hollywood and the film business, and suddenly he was once again the most adored director in Hollywood. He earned his first Oscar nomination since Nashville in 1975 and regained the clout he needed to pursue some of his most popular work: Short Cuts in 1993, Gosford Park in 2001 and A Prairie Home Companion in 2006.

4. Judy Garland (A Star is Born)

After getting fired from both Annie Get Your Gun and Royal Wedding for erratic behavior, Judy was dismissed from her MGM contract in September of 1950. She went on tour for awhile, but eventually she found herself back in Hollywood with this musical remake of A Star is Born. While still a little flaky, Judy put her heart and soul into her performance and gave what most people consider her finest performance of her career. The role thrust her back in to the limelight and she was nominated for a Best Actress in 1954. This comeback didn't last long though: She was widely expected to win, but was ultimately robbed by Grace Kelly in The Country Girl. With this disappointment, and the fact that the studio practically butchered the film and it was consequently a flop, Garland never fully recovered her legendary status and quietly slipped back into touring and dabbled in TV.

3. Mariah Carey (The Emancipation of Mimi CD)

You all know about Mariah's TRL meltdown, the bomb known as Glitter and a soundtrack and subsequent album (Charmbracelet) that ultimately went nowhere. The haters were ready to pronounce her career over, but then she released The Emancipation of Mimi in 2005 and it was suddenly as if she had never gone away. Not only was Mimi one of her freshest and most addictive albums in years, but it also spawned the biggest hit of her career, won her a ton of Grammy's and proved that this diva wasn't dead.

2. Marie Dressler (Anna Christie)

In 1914, legendary vaudeville star Marie Dressler starred in the first feature-length comedy Tillie's Punctured Romance with Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand. She eventually returned to vaudeville but was blacklisted in 1927 for supporting a union. For the next couple of years, Dressler was at a major low point in her life and even considered suicide. Then, writer Frances Marion urged legendary MGM producer Irving Thalberg to give Dressler the role of Marthy in Garbo's first talkie Anna Christie (1930) and Thalberg agreed. Dressler surprised critics and even Garbo herself with her fantastic performance. This soon led to more roles for Dressler and eventually, at the age of 62, she became the most popular star in Hollywood with her performances in Min and Bill (for which she won the Best Actress Oscar), Tugboat Annie, Dinner at Eight and Emma. She remained at the top until her death in 1933.

1. Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard)

The comeback performance of a lifetime. Gloria Swanson was a superstar during the silent era who's career eventually waned with the coming of the talkies. When Billy Wilder started casting for his upcoming film Sunset Boulevard, he originally wanted Mary Pickford, Pola Negri or Mae West for the role of forgotten silent movie queen Norma Desmond. When they didn't pan out, George Cukor suggested Gloria Swanson. She accepted and, consequently, gave one of the greatest performances of not only 1950 or the 50's in general, but of all time. She no-doubtedly understood the role, but she was one of the few silent actresses who could play it because she could act with her voice as well as her face. The performance brought her a Best Actress nomination and should have heralded a flood of new films for her. Unfortunately, most of what she was offered were cheap versions of Norma Desmond and she eventually lost interest in Hollywood.

2006 Diva Cup Awards: Best Picture

And the nominees are...

The Departed (Martin Scorsese)

With all the guns, murder, violence and mob talk, there's no way I should have loved this movie as much as I did. But Scorsese has crafted a mob thriller that is both intelligently made and ass-kickingly cool- not an easy combination.

Dreamgirls (Bill Condon)

A cinematic experience to say the least. Condon's adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical receives the epic treatment and not a minute goes by where you don't feel his heart and soul in every ounce of the film.

Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Faris)

Little Miss Sunshine probably had the most to overcome (a quirky, independent road film with an overly familiar plot) but, somehow, it rises against all of these hindrances and became one of the most beloved films of the year. It's quirky but not annoyingly so, familiar but still hilarious and the cast has some of the best chemistry of the decade.

The Painted Veil (John Curran)

The only non-ensemble film on my list, and it's all the better for it. Too many actors would have gotten in the way of the visual splendor. Sure, the landscape is romanticized a bit, but when it looks this gorgeous, who really gives a shit? Plus, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts deliver heartbreaking performances that very carefully avoid cheap and easy cliches of the romance genre.

Shortbus (John Cameron Mitchell)

Once you accept the graphic frankness about sex and sexuality, what you realize is that Mitchell has crafted a truly powerful and strangely moving reflection on human sexual relationships. This is the kind of maturity we don't get from the movies every day and is definitely something to be cherished.

If Only There Were Six: Notes on a Scandal (Richard Eyre): I have never been both this amused and scared shitless at the same time.

Rest of the Top 10: Borat (Larry Charles): I haven't laughed this hard at a movie in a long time...Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron): Visually stunning and a truly thought provoking piece of art...The Prestige (Christopher Nolan): Another mindfuck, but still hypnotic....The Science of Sleep (Michel Gondry): Original in every sense of the word


Little Miss Sunshine
The Departed

There you go, my 2006 Diva Cup Awards are finally complete. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did creating them. Tune back sometime next year for 2007!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kathy Causes Controversy and J. Hud Has a New Movie!

A couple of days ago, I reported that Kathy Griffin won a Creative Arts Emmy for her reality show My Life on the D-List. Well, apparently, Kathy made some comments in her acceptance speech that has sparked a controversy. According to IMDb, Kathy said in her speech, "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Suck it, Jesus. This award is my God now." Now, the Catholic League is demanding an apology and claiming these remarks are "hate speech." Kathy apparently replied, "Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?"

I know this isn't a good thing, but I can't help but feel proud for Kathy Griffin. She's finally gotten involved in an A-List controversy! Plus, I think "Suck it, Jesus" is one of the most hilarious things I've ever heard. Who else but her would have the balls to say that at the Emmy's?
According to Variety, Jennifer Hudson has joined the cast of the new Sex and the City movie. She will play the assistant to Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw. I've never seen an episode of Sex and the City, but I will definitely be at this movie just to see my beloved J. Hud. I hope the role is amazing and she will get to prove her nay-sayers wrong!

It's also J. Hud's birthday today. Happy 26th Jennifer!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Just a couple of little news blurbs I found IMDb earlier this afternoon:

~After an unsuccessful nomination last year (and a hilarious diva fit when she didn't win), Kathy Griffin won the Creative Arts Emmy (aka "the Schmemmy") for Best Reality Program! I am so happy for her and am glad she finally has something to show for all of her hard work! You go Kathy!

~Rob Marshall has now confirmed that Catherine Zeta-Jones (whom he directed to an Oscar for Chicago back in 2002) and Marion Cotillard (who is earning an multitude of raves for her performance in the Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose) will join the already impressive cast of Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Sophia Loren for his film adaptation of the musical Nine (which, in itself, is based on the Fellini film 8 1/2). I don't know too much about the musical, but damn, this cast has me intrigued. And with Marshall in the director's chair, you know it's going to be great.

Slapstick Blog-a-thon: Jane Fonda and Wanda Sykes in "Monster in Law"

While I could have picked something from either Chaplin or Keaton (undeniably the supreme masters of slapstick and practically gods in my eyes), I decided to do something contemporary for this Blog-a-thon. The first movie that popped out at me was Robert Luketic's 2005 Jane Fonda/J. Lo comedy Monster in Law. While a lot of people hated this movie, I thought it was one of the freshest, funniest romantic comedies to come along in ages. Plus, it's got some of the funniest slapstick that still looks fresh even after multiple viewings (I laughed super hard even while trying to get these frames). Just take a look at this scene: it's the rehearsal dinner for Charli (J. LO) and Kevin's (Michael Vartan) wedding and Viola (Jane Fonda) and Charli have been fighting all night. Frustrated, and not willing to lose, Viola finally runs into the kitchen to put nuts in the gravy (which Charli is allergic to). Ruby (Wanda Sykes) runs in to try to stop her.

Ruby eventually talks Viola out of it, but it is too late because one of the other guests has brought out the tainted gravy and Charli is already eating it.

Eventually, Ruby and Viola realize they have to hide the evidence, so, in a moment obviously inspired by the Chocolate Factory episode of I Love Lucy, they start shoving the nuts anywhere they can.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

It's Britney's Comeback, Bitch

I'm just speechless after witnessing the biggest atrocity to mankind since the Idol Gives Back special last April: the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. From beginning to end, the show was one complete and utter mess. The performances were lousy, the teleprompters kept fucking up and they got rid of all the awards. Thank God the thing only lasted two hours.

The show started right away with the mega-hyped comeback of Britney Spears. Now, I've been waiting for this all day and have been annoying my friends by counting down until it happened ("Guys, only 3 hours until Britney's comeback!"). So when it came....let's just say I was horrified. I wanted so much for her to do well and silence all the nay-sayers, but her performance was just awful. I figured she would lip-sync, but I didn't figure she would lip-sync so terribly; her mouth hardly even moved! I could forgive her this if she was dancing like hell, but she didn't even do that! Britney looked so awkward on stage, almost like she had never done it before, and she didn't really dance- she just kind of posed and swayed a little bit. The only good thing about the performance was the reaction shots of the stars in the audience: Rihanna basically laughing her ass off and 50 Cent wondering what the hell was going on. No matter how you looked at it, the Britney comeback was a disaster and she's going to have to overcome even more shit to return to her former glory.

But it's not like the rest of the Video Music Awards was any better. Sarah Silverman completely bombed after Britney. Justin Timberlake won like everything he was nominated for. Alicia Keys sounded horrible during the first half of her performance (the second half wasn't too bad). The lovely and talented MJB (Mary J. Blige) sounded almost retarded because of the screwy teleprompters. The only "good" things of the night were the brief appearance of my girl J. Hud who presented the "Best Quadruple Threat Award" (which is a hoot because she should have the won the damn thing hands down), the 45 second performance of Rihanna singing "Umbrella" during Chris Brown's performance (which wasn't bad except for the fact that it didn't seem to go together at all) and the final performance with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and Nelly Furtado (which, in other years, probably would have been mediocre, but because everything sucked this year, it was easily the Best in Show). While the premise of this year's show seemed fresh and new, it was still the lame awards show that it has been for the past few years. It's a shame, because the VMA's could be really amazing instead of dreadfully boring.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The 41:59 Quiz

Here's the Idea:

Below are 20 pictures taken from the 41 minute and 59 second mark from their respected film. Guess as many of them as you can in the comments. Some of these are pretty easy, but some are going to be really hard.





















There you go! Who ever gets the most right will have the honor of forcing yours truly to rant about and film or performance that they so choose (granted, of course, that I have access to the movie).

P.S. If you disagree with someone's answer, don't be afraid to give your own. For all you know, they could be wrong and you'd be right.

UPDATE: Wow, two people have single handedly figured out 15 of these, leaving 5 toughies for everyone else to figure out. If no one guesses them within the next couple of days, I'll give a few hints.