Thursday, January 31, 2008

Three Songs From the 90's I Had Forgotten I Loved



Annie Lennox "Walking on Broken Glass"
Okay, so I was only 4 when this song was originally released, but for some reason as soon as I heard it, something inside my head immediately clicked and I was like, "Damn, I remember this song!" The only reason I can think of for remembering it is they must have played it often on my mother's favorite adult contemporary radio station that I listened to all the time when I was a kid (No kidding, I even listened to it while I was going to sleep- a habit I have to this day). I never would have recognized this song if I hadn't listened to it and I'm glad I did because I've been listening to it non-stop for the past 3 days.



Take That "Back For Good"
I pretty much remembered this song from the same radio station, but I forgot how kick ass it really is (well, for a British boy band of the mid-90's). The video is lame and a total precursor to all of those equally lame Backstreet Boys/N Sync videos in which they all stood around in a room and sang their song, but the song is still pretty hot and I love to lead's vocals (especially in the chorus).



Alanis Morissette "You Oughta Know"

Alanis hasn't done much after her breakthrough album (except for that amazing "My Humps" parody), but there's no point denying the power of this song. Yesterday, while discussing Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" I mentioned the anger she puts in her voice and how well it serves the song. Well, Alanis' "You Oughta Know" is the prototype for this type of "fuck with me and I'll fuck you up so much worse" song and will probably never be equaled.

How Can You Have a "100 Greatest Performances" List Without the Greatest of Them All, Premiere Magazine?

I was surfing the Internet yesterday morning and I ran across this list from Premiere Magazine a couple of years ago: The 100 Greatest Performances of All Time. I'm a sucker for lists like these, so I quickly devoured it, hoping to find all of my favorites on it. Immediately, I find some of the old stand-by's that you would expect to see on a list like this because of their sheer amazingness: Brando in On the Waterfront, Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice, Bette Davis in All About Eve. But, there was one performance in particular I was looking for that I just didn't see in the Top 10. "Hmmmm," I thought, "That's strange. They can't have put Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein above her. Those silly editors, she must be just outside the Top 10. No? Top 50, then. Still, no? Well, she has to be on here somewhere. I must have missed her; I'll do a quick search of the page. WHAT?! THESE DUMBASS EDITORS LEFT OFF THE GREATEST PERFORMANCE OF ALL TIME?!" And what performance am I referring to, you ask?

The incomparable Miss Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind, of course. How is it that Vivien Leigh, who had to carry an entire four hour epic all on her shoulders (if she didn't work, the film definitely wouldn't) and did it better than anyone in Hollywood could have done at that time, was passed over in favor of such middling performances like Tom Hanks in Big, Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies (really?) or Jamie fucking Foxx in Ray? I simply don't understand it. Who did she piss off to not even get mentioned on this list?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Top 20 Songs of 2007: #5-1

5. Nelly Furtado "Say It Right"
Okay, so it can be argued that this song is technically a "2006" single, but I'm including it on my list because I didn't actually hear it until January of the year. If you don't like it, you can suck it because it's my list. Anyways, the reason I love this song so much is because of it's mysterious nature. I have no idea what the song is about, but Furtado's haunting vocals and the out-of-this-world aura surrounding it draw me in ever single time (Listen, and watch this hypnotic video)


4. J. Lo "Do It Well"
While everyone had an opinion about another certain someone's big comeback in 2007, J. Lo released what I believe is her strongest album since J. Lo and probably the catchiest single of her career: "Do It Well". I don't think I'll ever understand why this wasn't played on the radio- this has to be better than "This Is Why I'm Hot," right?

Right? (Listen)


3. Rihanna featuring Jay-Z "Umbrella"
This is pretty much a "duh" pick for any pop music lover. If you don't like this song, then the terrorists really have won. (Listen, though you've probably heard this 10 million times)


2. Ciara "Like a Boy"
Finally! Someone with enough balls to stand up to all the gangsta, wannabe rappers who objectify women and brag about treating them like shit and asking them to think what it would be like if the roles were reversed. The song was a big hit on the radio in my area, and I'm definitely thankful for that, but I just wish it got more respect for what it is trying to accomplish. "Like a Boy" has an interesting message to get it across and it conveys it brilliantly through the lyrics (definitely more deep than "Hey hey, you you, I don't like your girlfriend") all while being compulsively listenable in the form of a perfect pop song. (Listen)


1. Carrie Underwood "Before He Cheats"
I went back and forth for awhile about whether "Like a Boy" or "Before He Cheats" should be number, but Carrie Underwood finally won out because I realized that I'm damn scared of her now after this song. I didn't think much of Underwood's career post-Idol: her country music was nothing special (definitely not on a Martina McBride or Sara Evans level) and, let's face it, "Jesus Take the Wheel" was just plain annoying. But then a funny thing happened. "Before He Cheats," the fifth single from her debut album Some Hearts, crossed over onto the pop charts. I resisted at first, but after awhile I fell in love with the pure anger and hatred Underwood puts in her voice toward this man who's done her wrong. Just listen to her sing "Well, I dug my keys into the side/Of his pretty little souped up 4-wheel drive" and tell me you don't think she has the ferociousness to actually do it. "Before He Cheats" takes the principles of Girl Power to a whole new level and empowers anyone, whether your male, female, gay or straight, to stand up and say you're not going to take it anymore. And that is why Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" is the Number 1 song of 2007. (Listen)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rants of a Diva's One Year Anniversary!

Yay! Today marks the first anniversary of Rants of a Diva and I couldn't be more excited. Not only have I kept this up for a whole year, but I actually have a few readers who occasionally leave comments. If it wasn't for the ten of you, I might have abandoned this months ago (as I often do with projects of mine) so a round of thank you's are definitely in order.

And, by a completely random chance, today marks the birth of the one human being who rivals Jesus in terms of importance to the world. You all know her and better love her, otherwise she'll send her ninja assassins to rub you out:

OPRAH!

Oh my God, how lucky am I to share my anniversary with the most important woman ever?! I wish her a happy 54th birthday and I hope her more success in saving the world.

So, in honor of my anniversary, here are some of my most popular posts and the ones I love best. Enjoy!

1. What is a Dench?, Movies That Could Have "Used a Dench", Dame Judi Dench Videos
From my day-long celebration to the one and only Dame Judi Dench

2. It's Britney's Comeback, Bitch
My thoughts on Britney's VMA comeback.

3. Rants on Myra Breckinridge
One of my favorite Film Rant of the past year.

4. Rants on Zodiac
Probably my "best" Film Rant.

5. All You J. Hud Haters Need to Get a Life
My thoughts on the sudden J. Hud backlash between the release of Dreamgirls and her Best Supporting Actress Oscar win.

6. Supporting Actress Blog-a-thon: Ashley Tisdale in High School Musical 2
The movie sucked, but La Tisdale proved herself a force to be reckoned with.

7. Idol Gives Back, or: How I Wasted Two Hours of My Life For a Shitty Charity Special
Remember that American Idol charity special last season? I wish I didn't...

8. The Soundtrack of My Life
Not really that great of writing or anything, but I got 6 comments on it (my most ever!)

9. Oscar Bitch Fight: 1939
My thoughts on the Best Actress nominees for 1939. I've been meaning to do a second one for too long now. I should get on that.

10. Random Top 10: Biggest Comebacks
After Britney's failed comeback at the VMA's, I wanted to reminisce about successful comebacks of decade's past.

11. Slapstick Blog-a-thon: Jane Fonda and Wanda Sykes in Monster in Law
A pictorial look at a sequence from the criminally underrated (but I can see why it's hated) Monster in Law.

12. Rants on Heights
Another favorite Film Rant I forgot about earlier.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Zac Efron + La Tisdale: A Beautiful Thing



My friend Jill ran across this clip on YouTube of Zac Efron's appearance on Disney's The Suite Life of Zach and Cody and she immediately sent it to me. Why, you ask? Because it contains the kiss I've dreamed about ever since High School Musical 2: Efron and La Tisdale. Finally, without the pesky Vanessa Anne Hudgens in the way, they have realized how perfect they are for each other. Plus, you get to experience the comedic firestorm that is Ashley Tisdale:

Zac: "Cry me a river."
La Tisdale: "If I did, you'd pollute it!"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Top 20 Songs of 2007: #10-6

10. Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E. "The Way I Are"
I believe two things were discovered with the popularity of this song: 1) Bad grammar does not always equal a bad thing. 2) With Timbaland in her corner, Keri Hilson is poised to have a career as hot as Nelly Furtado's. (Listen)


9. Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse "Valerie"

Amy may be going through some tough times a la Britney, Lindsay and Kate Moss, but listening to song (off of Mark Ronson's amazing Version album) just gives me hope that maybe she can pull her shit together and gives us more songs like these. It's definitely not your average pop song, but it's so brilliantly done that I'm surprised it's not a big radio hit. (Listen)


8. Gwen Stefani "The Sweet Escape"

Lord knows I've heard this more times than anyone can even imagine, but it's hook is so catchy that I always find myself singing along even when I don't want to. It's a shame that the rest of this album doesn't come close to matching the cool pop perfection of "The Sweet Escape." (Listen)


7. Britney Spears "Gimme More"

And with the now immortal words, "It's Britney, bitch," a comeback was started. Too bad that her trainwreck of a personal life has overshadowed her brilliant album and this single, her absolute finest since "Toxic." (Listen, but don't watch the video)


6. Kanye West featuring Daft Punk "Stronger"

How do you top "Gold Digger"? Set your song to an impossibly catchy Daft Punk song, shoot a video that is visually impressive and manages to incorporate the song and write lyrics like this: "Well, I'd do anything for a blonde dyke/And she'd do anything for the limelight." (Listen)

Oscar Thoughts

Okay, so my period of mourning for dear Heath Ledger has not expired, but I feel I must carry on. All I can say at this point is that I now understand what all those women were going through when Rudolph Valentino died in 1926.

Let me just get on with my thoughts on the Oscar nominations- the other big news event yesterday. Overall, I was very happy with the nominees with the very occasional "Nice surprise." There were no Dreamgirls-sized snubs yesterday (and no omissions forcing me to call them racist again) and I was very happy about that. Here are the nominees:

Best Picture
Atonement
Juno
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood


How I Did: 4/5, missed Juno for Into the Wild

What I've Seen: Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men

Thoughts: This is actually a pretty nice batch of nominees. I've seen 4 of them (no There Will Be Blood in Kalamazoo yet) and they have all gotten **** and more from me. I'm not at all upset about the Into the Wild snub because Juno is actually a much stronger film. I'm just surprised that it was this loved by the Academy as well. I figured that after Little Miss Sunshine last year, Oscar would take a break from quirky indie comedies and go back to their old standbys. I figured that they would find a way for Atonement to sneak in, but I'm rather relieved that it panned out.

Best Actor
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

How I Did: 4/5, missed Jones (but, to my credit, nearly everyone on the planet did) for Gosling

Who I've Seen: Clooney, Depp, Mortensen

Thoughts: I guess the biggest talking point here is the miraculous Tommy Lee Jones mention. I had him in my predictions when he was receiving rapturous praise after In the Valley of Elah opened in September. But then his buzz died and I figured his chances were gone. Guess it goes to show that you can always count on the Academy for a surprise or two. The rest of the nominees are pretty standard. I'm just glad that Mortensen finally got his nomination!

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Laura Linney, The Savages
Ellen Page, Juno

How I Did: 4/5, missed Linney in favor of Jolie

Who I've Seen: Christie, Cotillard, Page

Thoughts: Yes! I am so glad Angelina Jolie didn't get this nomination for A Mighty Heart. If you don't know my thoughts about her performance go here and I'll just leave it at that. I'm sad that Amy Adams didn't make it in, but I'm genuinely happy for The Lovely Laura Linney for sneaking in with The Savages (I haven't seen the film yet, but I think she is simply amazing). Now that it's finally happened I can finally, and proudly, proclaim:

GO AND GIVE MARION COTILLARD THAT DAMN OSCAR!

I know both Christie and Page are amazing as well, but Cotillard just hits it out of the park and I hope the Academy will see past their prejudice toward foreign films and vote for her. It's the performance of a lifetime that few people would have been brave enough to tackle, let alone pull off the way Cotillard does.

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

How I Did: 5/5 (whoa, I'm amazing)

Who I've Seen:
Affleck, Bardem, Holbrook, Wilkinson

Thoughts: Nothing exciting here. Same five names we've been hearing all season and pending some major catastrophe between now and voting, Bardem already has this wrapped up.

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Ruby Dee, American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

How I Did: 5/5 (THIS is why I'm hot)

Who I've Seen: Dee, Ronan, Ryan, Swinton

Thoughts: Blanchett, Ronan, Ryan and Swinton were pretty much locks, so that finally spot between Dee and Catherine Keener in Into the Wild must have been a bloody one. I'm glad Dee pulled ahead, because even though I didn't think much of the performance (except for that bitch slap), I'm glad this living legend has finally gotten the respect she deserves.

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman, Juno
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

How I Did: 4/5, missed Reitman for Penn

Who I've Seen: Coen, Gilroy, Reitman

Thoughts: I completely missed that Reitman nomination- I just assumed that someone so young with only one big hit behind him (last year's Thank You For Smoking) and directing a quirky teenage pregnancy comedy wouldn't be taken seriously by the Academy. I guess they showed me. The rest of the nominees were pretty standard.

Best Original Screenplay
Brad Bird, Ratatouille
Diablo Cody, Juno
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl

How I Did: 5/5

Who I've Seen: Bird, Cody, Gilroy

Thoughts: We've seen this list with only a couple of changes over the whole season so it's not a real surprise. I just wish there was room for both the Hot Fuzz and Superbad scripts.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Christopher Hampton, Atonement
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Sarah Polley, Away From Her

How I Did: 4/5, missed Polley in favor of Penn

Who I've Seen: Coen, Hampton, Polley

Thoughts: Wow, the Academy really didn't go for Into the Wild. Not that I can blame them, but not even a mention for it's screenplay? Ouch. I'm glad Polley made it in though, because, Julie Christie excepted, the screenplay is the best part of Away From Her.

Go read the rest of the nominees here: I don't feel like typing them all out. What do you think? Who are you surprised to see? Who are you angry that they snubbed?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

RIP Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

I just don't even know what to say. I was so excited today about Oscar nominations and was getting ready to write my thoughts about them, but then this news broke and I just have to stop and mention it. CNN is saying that he died of a drug overdose (possibly sleeping pills) and it's all so sad.

This is all I can say now, it's just so upsetting. I haven't been this distraught since Aaliyah's tragic death.

Monday, January 21, 2008

America's Next Top Model Cures Me Like Chicken Soup



So, I've been suffering from a cold all weekend and it sucks blah blah blah, but, praise Allah, MTV was showing reruns of past America's Next Top Model cycles. For some reason, whenever MTV or VH1 has a Top Model marathon, I have to sit and watch the whole damn season. I could have two papers to write, 200 pages to read and online homework to finish but instead I'm glued to the TV watching these anorexic models slinking down a runway or taking fabulous pictures in exotic costumes.

Say what you want about Tyra and the judges, but I think they have magical chemistry together and I'll be very sad next cycle when Twiggy won't be gracing us with her presence anymore. I always love watching their deliberations when they actually get "real" about the contestants, who they can't stand or who they're actually afraid of (as Twiggy was of Jade). There's also a nice sense of normalcy in those meetings: Tyra's going to relate everything to her and be outrageous with Miss J, Nigel's going to be the lone voice for the heterosexual man and Twiggy's going to offer her sage opinions about the industry. They have so much fun in that panel room that I want to be a part of it so bad. Except, of course, Janice Dickinson's going to have to be brought back so I can instigate a bitch fight between her and Tyra. Watching one of the earlier seasons with Janice this weekend, I realized how much I wanted Tyra to just stand up and shout, "Shut the fuck up, Janice!" (much in the same way that she shouted "Kiss my fat ass!" on her talk show a couple of months ago)

My big dream, however, is a special episode where Tyra, Janice, Twiggy, Miss J and Mr. J all compete in a runway showdown and/or photo shoot. There would be some ego's flying and hopefully a slap fight would ensue (please let Twiggy be involved in that). Can someone please organize this? Would it help if I said I was dying and it was my last wish?

Oscar Predictions: Final

Best Picture
Atonement
Into the Wild
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood


Alternate: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
If there was a righteous God: Hairspray


Best Actor
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

Alternate: Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild
If there was a righteous God: Russell Crowe, 3:10 to Yuma


Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie, Away From Her
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart
Ellen Page, Juno

Alternate: Amy Adams, Enchanted
If there was a righteous God: Jodie Foster, The Brave One


Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton

Alternate: Tommy Lee Jones, No Country For Old Men
If there was a righteous God: James Marsden, Enchanted or Hairspray


Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Ruby Dee, American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

Alternate: Catherine Keener, Into the Wild
If there was a righteous God: Romola Garai, Atonement

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Sean Penn, Into the Wild
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Alternate: Joe Wright, Atonement
If there was a righteous God: David Fincher, Zodiac

Best Original Screenplay
Brad Bird, Ratatouille
Diablo Cody, Juno
Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton
Tamara Jenkins, The Savages
Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl

Alternate: Steven Knight, Eastern Promises
If there was a righteous God: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, Superbad

Best Adapted Screenplay
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Christopher Hampton, Atonement
Ronald Harwood, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Sean Penn, Into the Wild

Alternate: James Vanderbilt, Zodiac
If there was a righteous God: Leslie Dixon, Hairspray

Happy MLK Day!

Effie: Tell me something, Curtis. Do you think it's right to promote an amateur performer over a professional?

Curtis: I'm not sure what this is about.

Effie: It's about fairness, Curtis. It's about people paying their dues. Isn't that what you keep telling me? 'Get in line, Effie. Wait your turn.' So why am I sitting here without so much as a B-side on a 45, when an amateur like Martin Luther King, Jr. gets his own freaking album. I mean, can he even sing?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Random Top 10: People I Fell in Love With in 2007

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but a few weeks ago I changed my banner from Dame Judi Dench (in honor of her birth) to the present banner of Adam Brody, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Hudson and Channing Tatum. I like to think of these four as the ones I "discovered" in 2006 andwith whom I quickly fell in love with. Well, now that 2007 has ended, it's time for a new batch of people to obsess about for a whole year.

10. Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen

Moment I Fell in Love:
"Rehab" led me to discover Amy Winehouse, which led me to producer Mark Ronson, which led me to Version, which led me to Ronson's other protege Lily Allen.


9. Ellen Page

Moment I Fell in Love:
"No, it's Morgan Freeman" and "WHOA dream big"...no can spin lines into gold the way she does.


8. Ashley Tisdale

Moment I Fell in Love:
Her request for exit music...a diva dream of mine just came true


7. Casey Affleck

Moment I Fell in Love:
I admit that it's only been 5 days since I saw The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but, damn, that was one hell of a performance.


6. Paula Deen

Moment I Fell in Love:
The episode where she deep fried butter and a bust of her head made out of butter was given to her.


5. Blake Lewis

Moment I Fell in Love:
During the Top 24 on American Idol, when he sang Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know"


4. Diablo Cody

Moment I Fell in Love:
Months before I saw Juno, I read an article about her in Entertainment Weekly and it was this quote that won me over: "If there's a female protagonist or a romance, they just assume it's up my alley. What, because I have a vagina?"


3. Brittany Snow

Moment I Fell in Love:
When I finally saw John Tucker Must Die over the summer and realized that this woman can make anything work (well, not the film, but her performance)


2. Zac Efron

Moment I Fell in Love:
"And I'm....Link"...I was practically squealing right along with Tracy and Penny.


1. James Marsden

Moment I Fell in Love:
When I first heard him sing "The Nicest Kids in Town" on the Hairspray soundtrack, I knew it was love at first sight. Enchanted only proved that my love for him is never ending.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If I Were Colombo, I'd Peter Falk Her



American Idol has gotten off to a strong start. I have not been able to get this stupid song out of my head ever since last night. It's surprisingly well written, creative and really fucking funny...but also really creepy. It's so creepy it makes "Every Breath You Take" look like a wedding song.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's Faye Dunaway's Birthday So Don't Fuck With Her, Fellas!



Today Faye Dunaway, one of the queens of late 60's and 70's cinema, turns 67. In case you don't know who she is, first of all you should be shot and secondly she has earned three Oscar nominations for her work in Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown and Network (for which she won the Oscar) and also starred in the original Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen. If you read my blog regularly, however, you know that I love her best as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. She refuses to even discuss the film because she believes that it's negative reception caused her career to tank, but, looking back on it 25+ years later, it stands up as one of the most dynamic performances of all time. Dunaway transforms so fully into the Crawford that it's hard sometimes to even separate the two in my mind and it makes Oscar winning biopic performances like Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote or Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line look like nothing. I wish Faye a very happy day and I hope that one day she finds that right role to make her big comeback with.

Hell, I'm Practically Part of the Affleck Clan Now

The Affleck Clan- that is Casey, Ben and Jennifer Garner- are having one hell of a 2007. Ben directed the mightily solid, if not groundbreaking, Gone Baby Gone proving that he's not a joke anymore. His wife, Jennifer Garner, proved to me that she could act in Juno. And little bro Casey completely mystified me when I saw The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford yesterday (is it not one of the best performances of the year, if not the decade?), not to mention how fantastic he was in Gone Baby Gone as well. Imagine my surprise at dinner tonight when my friends and I were talking about Jennifer Garner (one of them had seen The Kingdom this past weekend) when one of them told us this and how I pretty much know the Afflecks now:


This is me and this is my friend Shannon below.



Apparently, her vocal coach starred with none other than Jennifer Garner at the Barn Theater in Augusta, MI. They were totally BFF's and ate dinner together!



I know, I'm shocked as well.

As you all know, she's married to...



Ben Affleck (together, they are Bennifer Part Deux) and he is brothers with...



Casey Affleck!

Here's a couple more, because God knows I never get tired of looking at him.




I wish I was this connected to more famous families (like the Gyllenhaals...or the Spears).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

So That Pretty Much Sucked

I'm, of course, referring to the Golden Globes "press conference" that just took place. Who the hell does that Billy Bush think he is- Roger Ebert? I don't even know who the hell he is, but I doubt he has any reason to be judging the winners in any of the categories. And what was with that low blow to Cate Blanchett after her win in Best Supporting Actress for I'm Not There? In case you missed it, he praised Amy Ryan to high heavens (which is probably the only decent thing he did all night) and then said something to the affect of "all she did was dress like a man" about Blanchett's win. What a douche.


Want to know what else sucked? My predictions. I got a ridiculously low 6 out of 14. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that I got some wrong (namely, Cotillard in Musical/Comedy and, to some extent, Atonement in Drama), but I wish I could have done better. Oh well. Atonement's big "upset" (I should have seen it coming, especially since Babel won here last year after receiving the same number of nominations and the most out of anyone) should push it into the Top 5 after the DGA/WGA snubs earlier this week. I hope that Cotillard's win closes the gap between herself and Christie in the race for Best Actress and it turns into a real bitchfest---that would be a dream come true. Here are the winners, in case you missed them:

Best Picture (Drama)- Atonement
Best Picture (Musical/Comedy)- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Best Actor (Drama)- Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)- Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Best Actress (Drama)- Julie Christie, Away From Her
Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)- Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Best Supporting Actor- Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Best Supporting Actress- Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Best Director- Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Best Screenplay- Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men
Best Score- Dario Marianelli, Atonement
Best Song- "Guaranteed", Into the Wild (m&l: Eddie Vedder)
Best Animated Film- Ratatouille
Best Foreign Language Film- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

So, in the aftermath of the butchered ceremony, I'm watching the new American Gladiators and it's every bit as great as I remembered it when I was a child....but what the hell is with all the water? And, oh shit this final race is very dramatic.

Completely Unnecessary Golden Globe Predictions

Well, this year Golden Globe "press conference" is set to commence in a couple of hours, so I thought I would offer up my two-cents on who might win tonight. Don't expect many upsets, because the Oscar race is getting more set in stone by the minute and the winners are becoming clearer.

Best Picture (Drama)- No Country For Old Men

Best Picture (Musical/Comedy)- Juno

Best Actor (Drama)- Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)- Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Actress (Drama)- Julie Christie, Away From Her

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)- Ellen Page, Juno

Best Supporting Actor- Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men

Best Supporting Actress- Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

Best Director- Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country For Old Men

Best Screenplay- Diablo Cody, Juno

Best Score- Into the Wild

Best Song- "Walk Hard" (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story)

Best Animated Film- Ratatouille

Best Foreign-Language Film- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Top 20 Songs of 2007: #15-11

15. Eve "Tambourine"
With a fiesty and electrifying single every bit as hot as "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," the Eve comeback should be on its way. So why was this song completely ignored on the radio? And where the hell is her new album? (Listen here)


14. 50 Cent featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland "Ayo Technology"
It's possibly the strangest song on the countdown- in a million years, I never would have thought I'd see the day where the totally gangsta 50 Cent and the skinny white boy Justin Timberlake did anything, let alone collaborate on a song, together- but, for some strange reason, it works. I love the way Fiddy utters "50 Cent, Justin, Timbaland" in the very beginning and his first verse flows especially well. (Listen here)


13. Jordin Sparks "Tattoo"
This has to be a mistake- an American Idol contestant who's first single is actually worthwhile? Well, believe it. "Tattoo" is the finest AI debut since Kelly Clarkson's "Miss Independent." The song is nothing special, but Sparks sings it beautifully and finally proved to me that she was a worthy winner last season. (Listen here)


12. Rihanna "Shut Up and Drive"
With the best not-so-subtle sexual metaphor since Fergie wondered about people going down like London Bridge, Rihanna's follow-up to "Umbrella" is an inspired, rock-heavy to her usual sound and another reason why she had an amazing 2007. (Listen here)


11. Amy Winehouse "Rehab"
She may have just chopped off her famous beehive and has given Britney stiff competition in the "Breakdown of the Year" battle, but Amy Winehouse is a damn good singer and her breakthrough American single "Rehab" is a great way to discover for yourself. (Listen here)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rants on "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" and "Juno"

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Jake Kasdan, 2007): Everything about Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is just begging for me to love it- a script by Judd Apatow, impressive performances from John C. Reilly and Jenna Fischer and it's parody of musical biopics- but, more often than not, the film ended up bugging me more than amusing me. My main problem was the beginning which, instead of finding a subtler way to mock Walk the Line and Ray, it hits the audience over the head with all the references in a way that makes the later installments of Scary Movie seem sly and clever. I mean, couldn't they have found a better way to kill the "good" son than with a machete? Thankfully, as Dewey Cox becomes famous the film finds its stride with the dead on parodies; the innuendo-laden "Let's Duet," the bad-ass outlaw song "Guilty as Charged," the protest song "Dear Mr. President," and the nonsensical Dylan parody "Royal Jelly" are all highlights. Walk Hard also gets bonus points for the cameos of Jack Black, Justin Long, Paul Rudd and Jason Schwartzman as the Fab Four- that scene was utterly hilarious.

Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007): I'm not going to lie, I was a little worried about the beginning of Jason Reitman's follow-up to last year's Thank You For Smoking, Juno. That phone conversation between Juno (Ellen Page) and Leah (Olivia Thirlby) in which one of them actually utters "Honest to blog?" was a little disconcerting and had me worried about the rest of the film. Fortunately for the film (and Diablo Cody's script) it eases back a little bit and the actors all make it work. Ellen Page is a revelation as the pregnant Juno, her cynicism and quick wit masking a needy girl, and Jennifer Garner finally proved to me what an amazing actress she is- that scene in the mall where she talks to Juno's baby in the womb trying to get it to kick was heartbreaking. And let me just add that Allison Janney totally stole every scene she was in as Juno's take-no-prisoners step-mother (leading Juno to proclaim at one point, "Wow Bren- you's a dick!"

My Ratings:
Walk Hard ***
Juno **** 1/2