Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Short Rants on Game Change

"What do they think I am, dumb or something?" There's a surprisingly striking similarity between Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Game Change and silent screen star Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain. When each film begins, both characters are at the top of their game: Lamont is "a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament" while Palin has risen from small-town mayor to governor of Alaska in just 18 months. As they are thrust upon a bigger stage with new challenges and raised stakes, they falter under the pressure of trying to fit their new image. Palin and Lamont are both walking punchlines no one in their respective films take seriously or, even worse, completely underestimate. Neither of them are book smart (one painful scene in Game Change shows Sarah Palin being taught Germany's role in World War I and II), but with the right tools, they are far more dangerous than any Ivy Leaguer. Game Change almost unfairly vilifies Palin as much as The Iron Lady did to Margaret Thatcher (I'm looking at you, unnecessary scene where someone "suggests" that Palin is mentally unstable). I don't agree with her, but Palin's polarizing politics and meteoric rise to the top makes her immensely fascinating. A better director might have been able to better capture this essence of Palin without relying on cheap, degrading name calling. Because, as someone once said, nice women don't make history. Moore is very good as Palin, but if this is the role that (finally) convinced you that she is one of our greatest living actresses, you clearly need to be paying better attention. Woody Harrelson, adding to a fine body of work in the past five years or so, is the best in show.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Grammy Predictions

I don't normally care about the Grammys, nor do I really watch them--particularly in a year such as this one where they dissed A+ pop music for "quality" shit--but I just wanted to share who I think wildly guess will win and who should win in the main categories.

Record of the Year
The Black Keys "Lonely Boy"
Kelly Clarkson "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
fun. featuring Janelle Monaé "We Are Young"
Gotye featuring Kimbra "Somebody That I Used to Know"
Frank Ocean "Thinkin About You"
Taylor Swift "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

Will Win: "Somebody That I Used to Know" seems like the safest pick: a monster Top 40 hit that you can see "real" musicians supporting.
Should Win: "Stronger"

Album of the Year
The Black Keys, El Camino
fun., Some Nights
Mumford & Sons, Babel
Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
Jack White, Blunderbuss

Will Win: Mumford & Sons for selling as many albums as Bieber and One Direction
Should Win: Is the fun. album really the only one on this list I've listened to?

Song of the Year
"The A-Team" (Ed Sheeran)
"Adorn" (Miguel Pimentel)
"Call Me Maybe" (Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay)
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" (Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi)
"We Are Young" (Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess)

Will Win: "We Are Young". Sheeran's too green, "Call Me Maybe" and "Stronger" are too mainstream pop
Should Win: As I've stated on Twitter, people underestimate just how hard it is to write a catchy pop song. For this reason alone, Jepsen & Co. should win for "Call Me Maybe". But, honestly, I'd be fine with anyone but Ed Sheeran.

Best New Artist
Alabama Shakes
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers
Frank Ocean

Will Win: The Lumineers, I guess? That song of theirs is completely awful but sounds like the kind of shit Grammy voters will go apeshit over.
Should Win: Not exactly sure how they got nominated here as they've released an album a couple years ago, but fun. I guess? But, seriously, how many albums do One Direction have to sell to be included in a category that previously nominated the Backstreet Boys, the Jonas Brothers and The Biebz?

Best Pop Solo Performance
Adele "Set Fire to the Rain [Live]"
Kelly Clarkson "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
Carly Rae Jepsen "Call Me Maybe"
Katy Perry "Wide Awake"
Rihanna "Where Have You Been"

Will Win: Adele. They nominated a live performance just to award her again.
Should Win: But, by all means, Adele is the most deserving of the award.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Florence + The Machine "Shake It Out"
fun. featuring Janelle Monaé "We Are Young"
Gotye featuring Kimbra "Somebody That I Used to Know"
LMFAO "Sexy and I Know It"
Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa "Payphone"

Will Win: fun. or Gotye. I'm guessing Gotye.
Should Win: Florence Welch.

Best Pop Vocal Album
Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
Florence + The Machine, Ceremonials
fun., Some Nights
Maroon 5, Overexposed
P!nk, The Trouble With Love

Will Win: Going out on a limb and picking Florence. fun. can't win everything and I don't think any of the others are quite beloved enough to win.
Should Win: Cut about four or five songs and Stronger would be unstoppable. As it stands, it's quite a good album.