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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year That Was...2012

Another year gone by, and I am, again, stunned at how outrageously fast it passed. Where has the time gone? I won't get into that rant of nostalgia as I did last year. No, that is a waste of repetitive rubbish. Yes, we are looking into the bright future of 2013, ladies and gents. As for the year that will, in just a few short minutes, reach its end, let's recap. (Is that short for recapitulate? Obviously.) Personally nothing really astounding happened to me. No major landmarks of any sort--simply an intermittent state of serenity. Nevertheless, I shall muster some events that have affected me, as well as a few events that have shaken society. They will be in chronological order, of course. Not.

1. Survived the apocalypse. Sigh. Well, yes, we did it. What a triumph this was. Rather than being annihilated in an alien invasion or turning to ash in some sort of earth explosion, we remained. Life prolongs in its embarrassing cultural decline and people are even now devising inane expiration dates. Having an opinion, albeit an absurd one, is all in the eye of the beholder, but, please, keep it to yourselves. Can we at least try to move forward, away from this mind-numbing poppycock?

2. Twilight (finally) ends. At last, culture can breath a sigh of relief, for it has experienced a revitalizing cleanse. The Twilight saga has finally ended, saving thousands from the unavoidable exposure of that dreadful phenomenon. I find it absolutely unforgivable that people have allowed this travesty of a love--between a brooding vampire and his socially-disturbed girl--to last for four years. The second part of Breaking Dawn (to think they actually had to stretch out this virus for an additional two-hour-plus chapter) was released last November. The box-office receipts--over $400 million--have been collected, and the ridiculous "Twihard" fever can simmer down. Here's hoping that the enormous earnings will not convince them to make a prequel saga or a continuing one. Seriously. Stop.

3. The infamous blackout and escape to Lancaster. One morning in July, I awaken to a flurry of frenzied knocks at the door. My phone has no service, the lights are all out and my mother is waiting for me to join her on a hasty excursion to Amish country. I believe I made a short reference to this inadvertent vacation. Basically, it was surprisingly pleasant, and proved to be an unexpected delay in my academic responsibilities. I had my MacBook full of Desperate Housewives episodes and a Chinese buffet right next door. While there were more than a few moments of stress, I enjoyed myself.  I am mentioning it as a significant event in my year, aren't I? My mother will be so pleased. (The Great Escape: I did write about this unexpected excursion.)

4. Seth MacFarlane. It's incredible to think that just a few months ago, my adoration for Seth MacFarlane began. From the way I gush about him, one would assume that these feelings have been present since Family Guy first started way back in 1999. (Has it been that long?) Regardless of how long I've admired him, all that matters is that I indubitably do love him. True, "love" is an intense emotion to describe how I feel, but it is merely an affectionate exaggeration. It has been such a fantastic year for Seth MacFarlane, and I couldn't be happier for him. He made history at the box office with Ted--the greatest piece of hilarity this year, the one that didn't receive a Golden Globe nod--by becoming the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time, beating the previous (undeserving) Hangover Part II. Then, he is asked to host the Academy Awards in February, allowing people (me especially) to anticipate the ceremony with additional fervor. Isn't he simply wonderful? I sure think so. Know so. And there seems to be talk of a sequel to Ted? According to Mark Wahlberg, it's going to be "sick" and hilarious. I wouldn't argue with him, if I were you.

5. Surge of inane "talent". It has come to my attention that there is a larger tally of celebrities I dislike. As much as I find the term "celebrity" distasteful, it applies to this band of annoying miscreants since I don't really care for them. Don't really care. I cannot stand them, is more like it. There are several actors that I find utterly insufferable, and I'll take the time to list a few of them, and just why I don't like them. Louis C.K. is first on the list: He is arrogant, the opposite of what is considered funny, unappealing in every possible way, and undeservingly everywhere. His jokes are so blatantly recycled and familiarly stale, it is an insult to comedy that he is well-liked. And being nominated for a Golden Globe? Absurd. Next is Channing Tatum: He is a Caucasian moron who is literally a reincarnation of a black man. How is it that romantic films starring adorable leading ladies like Amanda Seyfried and Rachel McAdams ask for him to be the supposedly perfect lead? And Sexiest Man Alive? This title insults me as a woman, albeit a young one. And, what comes to mind, Argo: Though not a person, it is an overall irritating picture. While I have not seen this much-talked-about movie, I have my subjective scornful doubts for this pseudo-intellectual film. Ben Affleck is the director and chairman of this Iranian-hostage film, which immediately applies a not-to-be-taken-seriously tone to it, as well as an uninteresting one. Plus, Ben Affleck's facial hair and pompous attitude. There were plenty more annoying people this year, but these are the intolerable highlights. I am a very intolerable individual.

6. Tragic shootings in Colorado and Connecticut. Horribly, both states have the same first letter. I'm sure it is just a coincidence--letters do not account for conspiracy, fortunately. What is awfully unfortunate is the events that unfolded in each state. One occurred in late July, in Aurora, Colorado: An insane college student, who considered himself "the Joker", unleashed a storm of bullets on twelve unassuming victims in a movie theater, showing The Dark Knight Rises. I recall the day when I read about this horrid occurrence, on MSN's homepage, and how stunned I was that I could not even form the words. I had to read several accounts of the incident before I could spout some coherent opinion of what happened: How could this have happened? It is so sudden and unexpected--a movie theater of all places, my assumed sanctuary. The suspect (and definite murderer behind the case, clearly) is still on trial, after five months, and word about his execution has been spread though nothing is certain. When a tragedy as awful as this happens, the one behind it deserves death. And the fact that he will most likely be given life in prison based on temporary insanity taints the idea of our nation's jurisdiction (or government, or whomever is in charge). Shortly after this dreadful shooting, another unfolds in an elementary school in Connecticut. An elementary school. Although guns are targeted by the vehement parents of NRA and President Obama himself, they are not to blame. The one holding the gun that took more than twenty lives is to be focused on; in other words, the mental state of potential criminals is what should be analyzed and dealt with. Concentrate on the person, not the tool in which the crime was committed (by). Each of these events are devastatingly unthinkable and place this country to shame that they occurred consecutively. In the same year. Needless to say that I desperately hope nothing like this happens again. Take caution and account of your live for the following year.

7. The Artist wins Best Picture. The first silent film to receive the esteem since Wings in 1927. Quite an impressive feat in the cinematic world, I would say. I wished to remind you all that this extraordinary masterpiece does exist. It seems that, each year, the prodigy of the Academy Awards is forgotten after the ceremony ends, and, though it fits for previous winners, The Artist deserves the acclaim. This mention is not only a nod towards a landmark in film history, but an event that impacted me as well. Finally, a film I truly adored was recognized for its outstanding quality at the Academy Awards. That is what their purpose is after all, right? Recognizing films that will be remembered for years to come, those that affect cinema? Indubitably so. Here it is. My indication towards its brilliance. And to Jean Dujardin, the Best Actor recipient, whose inaudible performance was incredible. And to Berenice Bejo, who demonstrated elegance and grace sans dialogue. And to Michel Hazanavicius, who pioneered as one to be reckoned with in the United States by claiming a Best Director statuette and creating a silent film that is truly marvelous. Do not forget The Artist. Absolute excellence in cinema. (The Artist: A Cinematic Masterpiece)

Well, that's that. I did warn you that nothing really happened to me this year. Therefore, not much to say other than what was said. And it was said. And done. The year went by incredibly and amazingly quickly in the most shocking of ways. I had difficulty in even recounting these occurrences as detailed as they are. They are wonderfully accounted for and described, aren't they? I enjoyed reminiscing, and hope you enjoyed reading my endeavors just as much. Then again, how interesting is my life? Recall your own life these last few minutes of the year that was 2012. The year that shall commence in less than an hour should be spectacular. Various epic films will be released in 2013, according to a reliable source, and will be enormously anticipated by myself and many others. I am just extending as much as I can at this point. Have a very happy and great celebration! Happy New Year!

Oh, and one more thing. A delightful video on YouTube that has brightened my day on several occasions. A lovely montage of cinema.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

It (Was) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Lengthy title with parentheses. My obsessive-compulsive meter is going berserk, indeed. Nevertheless, I wanted to imply a holiday theme in this post. I am aware that Christmas has passed a while ago (only five days, yet everyone has seemingly slipped out of their holiday comas), and I hope you all had a very merry one. I, myself, spent the actual day with my mother: I made Belgian waffles for the first time, and they were scrumptious. Afterwards, I spent the following days with my dad, watching a variety of movies, not limited to Christmas-themed ones, which is quite a shock. Usually, we eagerly look forward to the moment when watching holiday movies is fitting; however, this year was rather a gloomy slump. I do not mean to say we had a depressing time together, just not as yuletide-fun as expected during the holidays. The movies we watched this week (a mere three days) ranged from conversational thrillers and dramas to comedies both inappropriate and "raunchy". To my delight, we did manage to (re)watch two of my all-time preferred (dislike the word "favorite") Christmas movies, ones I feel worthy to call classics. I'll provide a brief review for them both, while also mentioning a certain Christmas "classic" that I disagree with in terms of its revered status.

The Family Man - I named this first because I watched it first, and to indicate that this is the all-time classic Christmas tale. The tale itself is very predictable and therefore can appear to be corny, though it is corny in the sweetest, most heat-warming of ways. There are two types of corny--those that make you gag, and those that make you swoon--and this movie definitely applies under the latter. Directed by Brett Ratner of the Rush Hour trilogy, The Family Man follows the what-if scenario of Jack Campbell (played by Nicholas Cage), a successful and content (no, happy) businessman, who is approached with the proposal of seeing how his life would have turned out if he had married Kate Reynolds, his college sweetheart (played by Tea Leoni). Actually, Jack is forced into such a what-if scenario by the "guardian angel" (played by Don Cheadle) who perceives Jack's wealthy and blissful lifestyle as corrupt and unfulfilled. So, he sentences him to an unexpected change of scenery: mundane, suburban domesticity. For a brief interval, I shall criticize the situation objectively, not taking the overall idea of the film in consideration. Jack Campbell is successful, wealthy, and sincerely happy as an investment broker; the fact that he is employed in such a corporate-evil, fast-lane career, however, gives him an exterior image of being unsatisfied with how his life turned out. Enter a "friendly", "well-meaning" spirit of goodness, who transports him (without his permission, mind you) to an alternate universe where he chose love and family over a career. True, the family life proves suitable for many people, including Jack eventually, though it just isn't meant to be for others. Jack was one of those others who did not fancy life as a family man (say, that's the title). Amazingly, he became fond of his new children and began to cherish his alternate life with the lovely Kate. This was when Don Cheadle decided to seize Jack from this warm new life he had just grown accustomed to. What exactly did he teach Jack then? That he made a mistake in choosing the business life, one that he now must live with in misery because he had seen a glimpse of where the other path would have taken him? Gee, that's just dandy. Anyway, back to the movie in all its tenderness. This movie is such a joy to watch on the actual Christmas day because, well, it's wonderful: the script has just the right amount of innocent sentiment and the perfect balance of cynicism and naivety. At first, Nicholas Cage (superbly) demonstrates skepticism and disdain towards the humdrum lives of suburban folk, for it is very different from the fast lane of Wall Street. Then, just as convincingly, Nicholas Cage slides into life as a father and husband as if it were fate. In a way, Jack views idyllic suburbia with the same questioning appraisal as the audience, and, just as his hard skepticism melts away, so does ours. Brilliant filmmaking. Love for his adorable daughter--the rare sort of child actress that is genuinely adorable--is clear in his eyes, as well as reminiscent love for his wife, as if it had never left. Acting in its finest, I reckon. The best of Nicholas Cage, also, who is known for his monotonous and brooding drawl. If the holiday mood has drifted well past (or passed) you this year, please do not neglect in watching this wonderful film. Consider it your New Year's resolution.

Love Actually - A close second in beloved Christmas cinema. I simply adore this one--simply adore it, I say. It's one of the first starry ensemble holiday films (among Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve) and, I'd say, the very very best one of them all. There are several stories within this charming romantically yuletide picture, allotting an opportunity for each member of the audience to be soothed into a warm aura. More than once have I let out a hopeless-romantic aww, which may or may not assure your own sentimental reaction towards it. Allow me to elaborate. Hugh Grant portrays his typical character--witty, charming, and utterly irresistible in all senses--in the form of an easy-going Prime Minister of Britain, and he falls for his cute, plumpy, down-to-earth assistant, Natalie, in an adorable display of ideal affection. (I may describe each couple's scenario as either adorable or a display of ideal affection. Or both.) Emma Thompson portrays an ordinary housewife (sister to Hugh Grant's prime minister) who finds her husband--Severus Snape himself, Alan Rickman--straying from the family when he becomes seduced by his (obvious and thrill-seeking) secretary. Her acting is beyond marvelous, for the scene when she realizes his slip of faith is so touchingly poignant. (Watch it for yourself, if you'd please.) Liam Neeson portrays a new father who must serve as the parent to his dead wife's son a bit too eagerly, yet this is understandable since he does love the boy like a father; also, the little boy claims to be in love, so he feels help is needed. Bill Nighy, in a humorously sublime performance, plays an aged, naughty rock star whose friendship with his tubby manager is adorably dear. From here on, I'm afraid I'll be relying on a thesaurus for various word assistance. Each scene is divinely presented to strike some emotional string within the viewer, somehow. Many people tend to groan with annoyance when presented with such an ensemble-holiday picture, claiming it is too cheesy or obnoxious, and I ask them why. I implore you, if you happen to be one of these sour individuals, why movies that happen to involve some expected sweetness is immediately trite and unfavorable? Why is the presence of a nifty group of fine actors instantly seen as appalling? Personally, I love seeing a numerous amount of actors, whether I like them or not. I guess that makes me a melodramatic sap with no taste in good cinema, is that it? Well, sir, I whole-heartedly accept that, if it means I can enjoy such a sensational holiday treat. From the awkward, yet somehow adorable, pornographic encounter between shy actors; to the hilariously unrealistic American experience with a cockney British fellow and gorgeous girls; to the romance shared across a language barrier, which includes Colin Firth and a delicate Portuguese woman; and all the way to the very end, when the ties each story has with one another are realized, and they are all greeting their loved ones at the airport. Sound intrigued? If so, as with The Family Man: Take the satisfying, heart-warming stroll through this lovely British romance around the holiday season next year. Love, actually, is all around.

It's A Wonderful Life - Now, I did say I would only mention this one, in the beginning. Recall that I had said that I would provide a brief review of two excellent Christmas pictures, then mention a supposed Christmas classic that is not all it is "hyped" to be. (I quote "hyped" because I do not consider that a word. Not really a word at all, I reckon.) Indeed, this may come as a shock to those innocent many who adore this film and watch it every year around the holidays. And to them I say: You are incorrect. Not only does it star James Shhtoowahrt, that bothersome actor of the past whose New England drawl is enough to not watch any of his films, but the entire movie is an absolute let-down. Based on word of mouth, I did expect some drama, like that mean Mr. Potter screwing George Bailey and Christmas being ruined, but it is much more depressing than I anticipated. Who would want to feel so gloomy on Christmas? It angers me, actually, that the general public does watch this and place themselves in such a depression. Somehow, this desolation in the film is transformed into warm tenderness and all that "god bless us everyone" joy. Well, I (and it seems I alone) do not see the happiness in the end. Sure, they retrieved the money they had lost, and Mr. Potter suffered in the end...but where is the classic, amazing novelty? Granted, a classic cannot be deemed novel because it is, in fact, an older film. So why even mention novelty? How is this a classic, and not The Family Man? How is this better than that? Just because it's one of the first Christmas films? Please. The film follows George Bailey, once he's lost his business and will to live, and his perception on life if he were never born. Sound familiar? Well, it is the first of its kind, I'll admit. I feel the concept is taken from a book, though, so not all that novel. Basically, George sees life wouldn't be so great without him, he returns to make life wonderful, it's a wonderful life, yada yada yada. Christmas classic? I think not. Brief enough of a mention? Indeed. Don't waste your time if you haven't seen this "classic" unless you're one of those insufferably curious folk. Seriously, please don't.

Well, I don't know about you, but I am rather satisfied with myself that I've written this holiday-themed post, as I had wished to do. Very fine, indeed. I certainly hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Take into consideration that the time it takes you to read it took about four times as long to write. I am surrounded by distractions, and I tend to delay on occasion. But you know all that. In case I don't have access to the Internet tomorrow, or I simply will not be up to contributing my pleasantly eccentric musings. Though, be consoled to know that only dire circumstances will keep me from sharing my view on the past year. That's right, a year in review is coming soon, like tomorrow. Hope you had a magical holiday, once again, and glad to see your shining faces as always. Good evening.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Day After Yesterday

For some odd reason, I hadn't the ambition to compose this post on the day of its publication. Therefore, for those who cannot read between the lines, the date above is incorrect, officially, though accurate with the content presented. I felt this should be disclosed, as I did not want to be untrue to my readers...if there exists such a species. 

Indeed.
Greetings everyone. It appears as if most of us are still here, excluding those who took their own lives in terror of what was prophesied to happen. Indeed, we survived yet another preposterous apocalypse, and, honestly, I could not be more relieved. Not that I was actually questioning whether the world would explode, or "zombies" would invade our mundane lives, though I do exhale a sigh of relief now that this prolonged 2012 nonsense is behind us. To think that this whole phenomenon (it actually has a page on Wikipedia) has been spread throughout the country like a virus; films have been made (ones I've avoided) and people have either devoutly preached its impending arrival or devoutly denied its lunacy. Yeah. I, myself, have had just about enough of this end-of-the-world rubbish. This just in: The end has been postponed to September 15, 2015. Moving on.

Being the day of the apocalypse, I made the paranoid choice of not going to class. After the unthinkable tragedy that took place in Connecticut, and in retrospect of Columbine, I did not want to risk the chance of some inane incident carried out by a psychopath who felt, "the world is ending so I might as well end everyone's lives now". Very paranoid, indeed, but, the day before the end, a student was arrested for posting terroristic threats on a certain social-networking site. Needless to say I was absolutely stunned, and believed I deserved a day's rest from the stressful toils of academics. And what better way to spend a day of pointless anticipation than watching movies with my dear 'ol dad? We had planned to watch 2012, for I made such a promise for this very day, but we didn't. Just thought I'd settle your musings now before I start recollecting on my day. (Apologies in advanced if my writing is not as involved as usual. I am as interesting as I think I am, aren't I?)

The day began at the crisp hour of eight a.m., a prime time to watch a classic. We opted for two excellent mysteries by the work of Agatha Christie, which were both directed by a fellow named Guy Hamilton. The first one starred one of Ms. Christie's two iconic character--Miss Marple--who was played by Angela Lansbury, a shockingly tall, snub-faced old woman. She greatly lacked Miss Marple's adorable-old-lady quality, which requires a sweet voice, kind temperament, and overall likability. Well, that last one is more of a prerequisite for enjoying any protagonist's performance. The title of this little-known mysterious marvel is The Mirror Crack'd (yes, that is the correct spelling), and by "marvel" I do not mean to insinuate that this is some remarkable mystery. In fact, it is not at all as complex and puzzling as one would expect an Agatha Christie tale to be. The reason I call this a "marvel" is because it is relatively unknown to the average film savant, such as myself, and has remained foreign to my radar until now. Why should this film possess more prestige? Well, darlings, the cast is quite abundant, including Elizabeth Taylor, Kim Novak, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, and Geraldine Chaplin (daughter of Charlie). Intrigued? Don't be, as this "mystery" is anything but. Sure, the initial murder (oh, spoiler alert) is perplexing, but once the film progresses, it seems as if Ms. Christie wrote herself into a corner. The final explanation of the film--an element present in any mystery movie--is rational enough, and serves as any viewer's purpose for watching it. Frankly, one can simply watch the very beginning and end of a mystery to receive the "gist" of it all. But where would be the pleasure in that premise?
The second Agatha Christie tale is one I know very well--Evil Under the Sun--and expected just as much enjoyment from the film as I experienced in the novel and computer game. (Yes, I searched far and wide for an Agatha Christie computer game. Because sometimes Nancy Drew can get tedious, am I right? Only those who play would know. Obviously. I'll continue.) Guy Hamilton returns to direct an adaptation of Ms. Christie's work, and just as well I'd say. Then again, what is directing? If the acting and picture are overall adequate, then so is the direction. Here, Hercule Poirot--Agatha Christie's other, much-more famous character--is played by Peter Ustinov, a portly Belgian fellow who fancies himself the world's greatest detective and expects everyone else to bow at his feet in reverence. Clearly, I do not care for Mr. Poirot's arrogant, pompous demeanor, but I digress. I enjoyed this film much more, despite a lack of an iconic cast, yet felt the schematics of the villains' caper were a bit exaggerated and far-fetched. Though I reminded myself not to analyze too much into it, for what is put onto film and released is irrevocable; the point of the murder is all in the motive and reason, not the physical deed of the kill. Each Agatha Christie film shared the general quality of adequacy, in plot and purpose aplenty, which is less than I can say for the very first Peter Ustinov-as-Hercule Poirot picture, Death on the Nile.
This is deemed as one of the more famous adaptations, for reasons I'll devote solely to that its Peter Ustinov's first portrayal of the eccentric detective. There can be no saner explanation, as this film was, quite frankly, vapid and inane--better known as stupid. The resolution was seen a mile away (the identity of the murderer that is), which made me feel the perfect fool to have wasted two hours on this repetitive mystery. Very predictable, and I must say I am rather disappointed that such a renowned novel of Ms. Christie is so simple and easily solved by any average viewer. No logic or sharp deduction needed. If one is to witness an Agatha Christie adaptation for themselves, I recommend they look no further than Murder on the Orient Express. It is the most recognized of her work, of both her written work and of the cinematic variety, and is a might intriguing presentation of truly complex mystery. Though Hercule Poirot is just as revolting as a character. No escaping that.

Instead of watching 2012 on the actual day of the end of all days, my dad and I opted for a sure-thing new-found classic of hilarity, one that will surely remain as funny as it is: Ted. The fact that we've watched this merely one month ago, and are now watching it for a second time, to equally successful results, should account for something. And might I, again, reiterate how utterly blasphemous (to the genre of comedy) that Ted did not receive one nomination in this year's Golden Globes race. Not for Best Comedy, or for Mark Wahlberg's performance, or for Best Screenplay. While Best Screenplay was a long-shot, considering the prestigious competition (among them Django Unchained), the first two seemed, to me, to be absolute certainties. You must have read my previous post dealing with the nominees, so you realize my cataclysmic disappointment in the major snubbing that has taken place. I haven't fully expressed the absolute ingenuity of Seth MacFarlane's box-office hit, that also happens to be fucking hilarious. (I don't usually spout the f-word in posts, which should be an indication of how passionate I feel for Seth MacFarlane and his great film.) The sole fact that this is Seth MacFarlane's directing debut, on the big screen, should, alone, prove his worth as a nominee for the Golden Globes. He is hosting the Academy Awards, after all, so shouldn't he deserve a nod in the "inferior" awards race? Just a thought. Anyway, now that the funny film is fresh in my mind, I can effortlessly explain just why Ted deserves the praise I preach of. First and foremost, the plot is ridiculous yet interesting from beginning to end: much like the wonderful sitcom, Family Guy, this movie has an unpredictable trove of infinite possibilities for humor. Seth MacFarlane, the savvy director/writer he proves himself to be, utilizes such marvelous humor, structuring each joke to be funny and each scene to be entertaining. 
Mark Wahlberg, proving his comedic prowess in The Other Guys (one of the greatest comedies of the decade) and Date Night, displays his talent once again with indubitable involvement. He is so into his character--a sweet yet lackadaisical man who has trouble abandoning his identity--that I feel he is John Bennett. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is acting worth the esteem of all audiences. Including the god-damn Golden Globes. Mila Kunis plays his dedicated girlfriend, who pushes him to let his teddy bear go and move forward with a career and a developed relationship. Her smoky eyes and intoxicating voice (which is familiar in the unappealing character of Meg on Family Guy) reveals to be only attractive attributes to a great actress. She's not just a pretty face, everyone. And the chemistry she shares with Mark Wahlberg--who is more than ten years older than her--is so believable and, truth be told, rather irresistible. Not only are they both attractive, but they both have a sense of humor that syncs with one another as well as the film itself. Now, Ted, the teddy bear who has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, is the primary element of the movie, obviously. Seth MacFarlane voices the "raunchy" stuffed bear with a dialect similar to Peter Griffin (something he alludes to within the film, god love him), and he manages to emit just the right amount of disgusting and outrageous humor. For some, particularly those stiff critics, he goes too far with sex or social jokes--those "Jesus be with you" jokes are a riot, to my ears--but I find every single situation to be orchestrated with perfection. Referring to the surface of this wildly entertaining character, Ted is such an astoundingly lifelike creature, and should receive some credit for the amazing visual effects that made this possible. Ted is so unbelievably lifelike that his performance is that of a human actor; his conversations with Mark Wahlberg are as real and convincing as if there was an actual teddy bear who can talk present. (This factor of believability is only enhanced by Mark Wahlberg's undeniable acting prowess. Bravo, once again.) 
If the more pretentious of audiences are searching for some sort of theme to grasp on, consider one of friendship. John and Ted have been friends for twenty years, give or take, and, even when the evidently imperative issue of John's future comes into light, they cannot resist spending time together. Although this will become somewhat of a burden deeper into the movie, their friendship, as childish and imaginative as it is, is much more realistic than many past cinematic pairs I've seen. Then again, what significance does a fucking theme have in a comedy as simple as this? Granted, Ted is very simple, but that's its reason for esteem--it manages to be hilarious without the burdensome requirement of a corny ending or politically-correct dialogue/content. And, throughout its blatant humor and impropriety, Ted has a touching, immensely warm center which involves a caring travesty of a teddy bear. I think I may be in love with Ted. Or Seth MacFarlane, better yet. He's hosting the Academy Awards, don't ya know.

It pleases me to inform you all that I have taken a pause in one of the multiple obsessions of mine: Beverly Hills, 90210. Indeed, I have been consumed with the absurd storylines for Kelly, Brandon, Steve, Clare, and (who can exclude) Donna. Involved in this sick obsession is my dad, who believes that admitting such a infection is embarrassing, but, again, I like to reveal all the minor details of my life concerning entertainment. Anyway, my dad and I have taken a break from the addicting series and have returned to the normal realm of cinematic fixation. Perhaps, because of this transition, my mind has experienced an overflow of content from the films I've seen. And believe me when I say that there have been many in the past few days. Possibly, deep within subconsciously, I had an urge to watch as many films as deemed healthy before "the end", although this is highly unlikely. As worried as I was, there was not a shred of a doubt of the world's survival--really, how could the world physically implode? 

In addition to this so-called "end of all days", I have finally watched the infamous 2012 picture, directed by Roland Emmerich, who also directed Independence Day (surprise) and The Patriot (genuine surprise). This postponed viewing occurred the day after the supposed end was to occur. For those who haven't seen it, either out of indifference to the apocalyptic genre or out of sheer fear, I recommend it. The story as a whole is rather logical and intriguing, unlike the many alien explanations found in films of this variety; the government actually takes serious precautions in the end of the world! Although the cast is not as all-star as one would prefer, the amazing visual effects are truly astounding. I was surprised that the film did not receive any Oscar recognition in the technical categories. If Transformers can garner nods, why not this sincerely decent film? Politics, I tell you. Among the not-so-famous cast are John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt (who, I believe, is dreadfully underused), and Woody Harrelson in a hilariously brief performance as a conspiracy theorist who dies during the end. Spoiler. In a film like this, the cast, really, doesn't play as big as a part as it would in an average drama. The main attraction here is the fantastic visual effects and edge-of-your-seat suspense. Concerning the movie, there was a balance of a-plus reviews and awful ones; as for my overall judgment, it was worth the paranoid three-year wait.



During my lengthy procrastination in finishing this nothing-special post, I found myself rewatching another amazing montage on YouTube. I'll save you the trouble of searching for it and post it here. You have to watch the clip in order to continue. It pertains to the end of the world, in my opinion, for it involves desperate acts of running for one's life. Watch it, if you please. 



The day after this asinine absurdity of the long-awaited yet unfulfilled phenomenon of 2012, I decided to get into the holiday mood (now that I knew it would be worth the trouble, since there will be a Christmas) by watching a classic and a remake of that classic. The films in question both have the iconic title of Miracle on 34th Street. Waking up early, I made a scrumptious breakfast for my dad and I--these little pancakes made of farmer's cheese and ricotta cheese--and started the original classic, in color. There's a reason that this is considered one of those ideal Christmas classics, for it is, indeed, wonderful. Much more wonderful than the current beloved classic, It's a Wonderful Life, which I find horribly depressing and rather dull. Never like that James Stewart. Anyway, Miracle on 34th Street actually incorporates the fairytale of Santa Claus and the man himself, which is something people of all ages would and should enjoy. The man who plays Santa Claus actually received an Oscar, so pipe down you non-believers. His performance, I admit, is very corny, but isn't that the expectation of such a picture? The story of the film, for those who are not aware, concerns the validity of Santa Claus and the scattered belief that everyone (including skeptical adults) should have faith in Santa Claus; moreover, the public should believe that one particular man named Kris Kringle is Santa Claus. In both movies, a trial take places in a court of law which questions the existence of Santa. The classic depicts Santa as a victim accused of being merely loopy, unfit to hold the position of Santa Claus in Macy's; the remake shows a fleet of heartless capitalists attacking poor Santa, and providing evidence that he does not exist. The classic film, therefore, I hold in higher regard, for the court case, albeit a bit silly, is generally reasonable, for old Mr. Kringle does seem senile. Also, the little girl in the 1947 version is young Natalie Wood, who is as cute as can be playing the agnostic lass who doesn't (at first) believe in Santa Claus. The adult couple--Maureen O'Hara and John Payne--slowly fall in love towards the end, as the man convinces the mother that a bit of fantasy is precious in the lives of every person, which is a well-loved cinematic process. 

The remake (which I will critique now) is, as status quo will evince, not as good as the original, though not bad either. Elizabeth Perkins, pretty as can be, and Dylan McDermott, handsome as can be, play the couple. Their relationship is more of a focal point here than in the classic, and rather vague if you ask me. Are they sleeping together, or have they never kissed? If not, why is he proposing? Digressing. The little girl is the one who played Matilda, and she is adorable and much more sweet than Natalie Wood, as reluctant as I am to admit. What taints this movie's quality, for me personally, is the choice of Santa Claus. He was the obnoxious elderly gentleman in Jurassic Park, and he is even more insufferable here. The purpose of Santa Claus, here, is to share his jolly goodness with kids and to convince everyone that Santa exists, that he is him. Oh, there is no way to effectively express how odious this actor and his performance is. How terribly repulsive and unsympathetic. For one, he does appear to be insane, and violently so, as he attacks a rude man who impugns the existence of Santa. He deserves the indictment of the insane asylum. Despite this flawed source of intolerance, the remake is very tolerable and decent as far as remakes go. Miracle on 34th Street is absolutely the ideal Christmas movie--at least among the many out there--and dedicated viewers would be wise to experience this yuletide magic if they haven't already.

Like most of my posts of late, this is long overdue and has taken three days to write (mind you, out of laziness), and I shamefully lament in this newly-common tendency. Consider it my new year resolution to write more, and also consider that when you make yourself have a goal you are not likely to achieve it. Why must the human mind work against accomplishment? Nevertheless, I will combat nature by writing more. Unless I resent this resolution. Hopefully I'll follow my ambition. Merry Christmas everyone, or, to be inanely politically-correct, happy holidays. If you don't believe in the idea of the holidays, then welcome to Day One of a degenerative society. This is the end of all days, after all, so, by all means, listen to Gangnam Style one more time. Happy Holidays.



In Memorium: 2012 Doomsday Nonsense

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Golden Globe Nominations 2013 Announced

Technically, the ceremony takes place in 2013, and the films mentioned are of the 2012 collection. And, technically, I really hate that word--technically, that is. Anyway, from the moment I woke up this morning, I was exceedingly anxious to find a computer (with Internet connection) and analyze a certain list that marks the official beginning of awards season: the Golden Globe nominations. I must tell you, seeing those words--Golden Globe Awards--in bold blue on the homepage of the Internet Movie Database (simply known as IMDb, but I like to clarify) stirred up emotions of ridiculous joy and jubilation. (Yes, most definitely jubilation.) Onto the nominations. Much of what I expected was prevalent, garnering multiple nominations, and these predictions applied mainly to the Drama categories. Ben Affleck's atrociously dull Argo, Kathryn Bigelow's Osama bin Laden thriller-that-is-really-a-documentary Zero Dark Thirty, Steven Speilberg's latest Oscar gem Lincoln, and (thank gracious) Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece Django Unchained. (I still have not seen it--no one has--but I am so certain in my feverish excitement.) As for the Comedy/Musical categories, there was much I anticipated that earned nominations, such as Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook; however, some films were completely absurd in their lack of recognition, and therefore worthiness. There was one film--just one--that I highly anticipated to see among the nominees, and that hilarious work of ingenuity was Seth MacFarlane's "raunchy" Ted. Out of all the comedies I've watched that are of 2012, that was the absolute funniest one thus far. And no nomination? Not a single one? Utterly preposterous. So baffling, in fact, that already I am unenthused by the event. Enough of this huffing, let's get one with the nominations themselves. That is, if you're not as cheerless as I am.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Actor - Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
Richard Gere - Arbitrage
John Hawkes - The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
Denzel Washington - Flight

Best Actress - Drama
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard - Rust & Bone
Helen Mirren - Hitchcock
Naomi Watts - The Impossible
Rachel Weisz - The Deep Blue Sea

I thought I should provide the Drama nominees first. As you can see, much of it is expected. Mundane, really. I just noticed, however, that Ben Affleck is not nominated for Best Actor. Aww. How unfortunate. Sarcasm is always intended whenever I make the suggestion that I admire Ben Affleck--as a director, actor, person, anything. (Though I must admit, he is probably a good dad. Seriously.) I am also pleased that Anthony Hopkins did not garner a nod for his portrayal of Alfred Hitchcock; I'm just tired of him as all, not to mention he does not resemble the Master of Suspense at all. The Actress category this year has me completely unfazed, meaning I have no care who wins. See Django up there? Lovely sight, yes?

Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Moonrise Kingdom
Salmon Fishing in Yemen
Silver Linings Playbook

Best Actor - Comedy/Musical
Jack Black - Bernie
Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables
Ewan McGregor - Salmon Fishing in Yemen
Bill Murray - Hyde Park on Hudson

Best Actress - Comedy/Musical
Emily Blunt - Salmon Fishing in Yemen
Judi Dench - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jennifer Lawrence - The Silver Linings Playbook
Maggie Smith - Quartet
Meryl Streep - Hope Springs

Quite a few films that are unknown. And do not feign awareness by denying this, for many of the choices are completely out-of-nowhere. (No other word for it, really.) First and foremost, that Hotel one, which, from my knowledge, is a production made up of elderly British actors who were once well-received but are now, to be blunt, decrepit. Another geezer-picture, Quartet, which, I must admit, I have a tad more respect for on account of it starring Maggie Smith and it being directed by Dustin Hoffman. An interesting venture, though not one I would be interested in seeing. Salmon Fishing in Yemen, actually, appears to be a decent film: starring Ewan McGregor and the adorable Emily Blunt, the format of the comedy seems very enjoyable. I don't know how to describe it other than that I have a warm feeling towards it. If it were not for the dreadful title, I might see Oscar potential. You never really know what is to be anticipated from the bloody Academy, do you? To my delight, Meryl Streep managed to earn a nomination--for her as-always amazing performance in an It's Complicated-esque movie about the decay of marriage--in a year when she is not even the star. (Then again, every year she is a true gem of cinema. Cherish her.)
Then we have two performances, in the Best Actor category now, that could have effortlessly been replaced by Mark Wahlberg's phenomenal comedic turn in Ted. May I, again, mention how fantastic that movie was? There is no other way to explain the inane genius of it. It was just hilarious. Sure, it had Seth MacFarlane's familiar Family Guy humor, but, he did write and direct the film, didn't he? It's not as if he stole storylines from his shows, or any of the dialogue. He created an entirely new character--a nasty yet cuddly and sympathetic teddy bear--that happens to sound like another character of his. Regardless of any flaw Ted has (which, by my count, reads none at all), it was the highest-grossing comedy of the summer, as well as the funniest film I've seen thus far of the year. So: Which two Best Actor slots are expendable? Jack Black, in a strange-looking picture (weird is a better term) where the annoying man-child plays an undertaker who kills someone, then creates the illusion that she is still alive. Where do they find these movies? The second replaceable spot is undeservedly assumed by Bill Murray--who, to this day, I just do not like at all--where he embodies Franklin Delano Roosevelt (greatest president, in my opinion) during a time when he had an affair with his cousin, presumably. What's strange with this film is that it received horrid reviews. Oh well. All I can do is shake my head in disappointment--disdain towards the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for ignoring Seth MacFarlane and his indubitable brilliance in the comedy field. He's hosting the Academy Awards, you know.

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin - Argo
Leonardo DiCaprio - Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master
Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln
Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams - The Master
Sally Field - Lincoln
Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
Helen Hunt - The Sessions
Nicole Kidman - The Paperboy

Well, well, well. It appears as though Django Unchained has received, not one, but two, nominations for acting. Pardon my candor, but this is a minor event in the award-race, or whatever you call it, for it suggests the possibility for two actors under Quentin Tarantino's masterful direction to be considered for an Oscar. These nominees are the likely candidates for the Supporting categories at the Academy Awards, for, unlike the Lead Acting ones (separated into Drama and Comedy/Musical), there is only one here. Therefore, all the actors you see listed above as supporting will possibly be at the Oscars as well. Not so sure about Nicole Kidman, however, for I hear she urinated on Zac Efron in The Paperboy? That's a bit too "risque" for the Academy...then again, they did nominate Melissa McCarthy. Overall, concerning the Supporting nominees, I'm simply pleased to see Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz in the running. Here's hoping! Exclamation point.

Directing and writing are just as significant as Best Motion Picture, yet they are really one in the same. Basically, the Drama candidates listed above have nominations in those two categories, also. Including Ben Affleck as Best Director, obviously. I cannot believe that he won. Yes, I can foresee what awaits on January 13 of next year. While I am terribly dismayed by the absence of Ted and Mark Wahlberg's very-funny performance, I am, generally, content with the round-up. Those that are almost-certain victors--excluding Ben Affleck--are neither here nor there for me. Truly, the only category I am anxious to hear announced is that of Best Supporting Actor. It's all downhill from here, ladies and gents. Let the games commence.


Remember this?
What a swell year it was.

The Golden Globes will air on NBC on January 13, 2013 at 8PM, with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Hope to see you there. I will not actually be in attendance there.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Magic of Disney

Oh, this would have been such a great title for an actual post. Sadly, that is not the case. I simply wanted to wish Walt Disney a happy birthday once again. Truthfully, I owe so much to this man, for a multitude of reasons. Foremost and obviously, he is the mastermind behind a cultural phenomenon that is Walt Disney World, which includes the creation of beloved characters like Mickey Mouse and films like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. His brand has expanded beyond imaginable lengths following his tragic death in 1966: Walt Disney Pictures (or Company, whichever is correct) has become an ultimate force in the entertainment industry. With its acquisition of bountiful companies like Pixar, The Muppets, Marvel, and, most recently, Lucasfilms, Walt Disney's legacy has solidified into an everlasting castle of imagination. (Calling the company something as callous as a "creative machine" would be insulting to the truly magical realm of entertainment.) Thanks to the latter business transaction, a seventh episode of the renowned Star Wars saga will be developed and distributed by Walt Disney Company, adding yet another astounding feat to its already impressive resume. Furthermore, the legacy of Walt Disney continues as he envisioned through the magical lands of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. (I'm sure Disneyland in California is swell, too.) With constant improvements being made nearly every day in the magnificent World, Walt Disney's dream has become reality, and is always dedicated to him as he ignited the gears into motion. I've just returned from Disney World, as you are aware, and am currently planning my next journey to the most magical place on earth--early October, in case you wished to meet me there. (I'll be signing autographs, naturally.) Indeed, Walt Disney has most certainly provided generations of happiness and wonder with his magical insight into the whimsical and splendid of imagination. Basically, I am stating various adjectives for "delightful" to describe how I feel towards Walt Disney and his superb accomplishments. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! 

Speaking of Mary Poppins and her charming personality, there is a film in the making that portrays the tale of how the 1964 film of the same name came to be. (Same name came. Same name came. Same name came. Rhymes.) Also in the film is the "character" of Walt Disney himself. Who will be embodying the absolute ingenious genius?

Tom Hanks

Well? What do we think? Want to know what I think? Veto. Happy Birthday Walt Disney!

Oh! I nearly forgot an additional way in which I am forever in debt to Mr. Walt Elias Disney. The birthday post I composed on this day, last year, was, for the majority of the year, my most-viewed post. Thanks to Walt Disney, I received much attention for this humble little blog of mine, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Walt Disney
The Genuine Genius of Ingenuity


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Marisa Tomei... And Other Thoughts

I refuse to have two back-to-back titles with "Happy Birthday" and an exclamation point. Just a mere example of how obsessive-compulsive I can be. Indeed, today is the lovely Marisa Tomei's anniversary of being born. (I can't just say it's her birthday?) Seeing that it was her birthday, I felt the desire to include a beautiful picture of her in the sidebar, as I usually do in substitute of writing a full post. That was the plan, until I organized my thoughts (for no particular reason) and discovered that there are quite a few. They, being my thoughts, vary from the Oscar race and my (reluctant) predictions and Seth MacFarlane (the host of the eighty-fifth Academy Awards) to John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald. And, of course, Marisa Tomei. Because who doesn't think about Marisa Tomei? So, what will happen here is a complete unleashing of these thoughts, in a chaotic yet organized manner. Oh, and once again, Happy Birthday Marisa Tomei. Exclamation point.

Oscar season has finally come, as it does every year. You know, Marisa Tomei won an Oscar in 1992 for her terrific performance in My Cousin Vinny. Yes, it seems everyone has an Oscar of their own--not to diminish Marisa Tomei in any way, or to suggest that even she has one. However, correct me if I am wrong, but does Leonardo DiCaprio have one? Oh, forgive me, he doesn't. No, he lost it to the "worthier" winners, such as Jamie Foxx in Ray and Forest Whitaker in Last King of Scotland. Does anyone even remember Last King of Scotland? I bet many of you didn't even watch it, let alone heard of it. And why not, it's a completely absurd picture, in terms of cinematic value. I digress. Leonardo DiCaprio has regrettably lost in the past, but his luck is (hopefully) about to change this year with his vilely charismatic portrayal as a villain in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained--or according to my dad, Django Enchanted. (He jests to instigate me.) If only I were an influential member of the Academy, for I would make certain that both Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino receive an Oscar (that is long overdue) this year for their sure-to-be outstanding performances, as Best (Supporting, in this case) Actor and Best Director, respectively. As hopeful as I am for this film, I am crestfallen to admit that it is very low on many Oscar Prediction lists of various publications, including Entertainment Weekly. This may be due to the fact of its later release date, which actually is no later than the release date of Les Miserables--the same day, it turns out--yet that film has plenty of Oscar buzz surrounding it.

The renowned Broadway musical is back on the silver screen, with a starry cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway, the latter of which is receiving most of the buzz for her portrayal as Fantine. She's had quite a year, hasn't she? First, assuming the role of Catwoman, following the footsteps of the dazzling Michelle Pfeiffer; and now, and Oscar nomination. I have an instinctive feeling that she will win, based on her hysterical countenance in the film and a lack of intimidating competition. No objections here, I suppose, though I do not really care for her at all. Les Miserables does, actually, look as if it will be a rather impressive film, and its inclusion in this year's race is not at all aggravating or undeserving. (What I do lament over is how it will most certainly win Best Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes, beating out hopeful nominee Ted. Seth MacFarlane directed that hilarious film. He's also hosting the Academy Awards, says I with a smile.) The musical cannot be compared to Django Unchained, of course, because they are different. Gee, what a profound statement. What can be suitably placed beside Django Unchained as objectively "compatible" are Steven Spielberg's historical biopic (redundant), Lincoln; Ang Lee's strange and unnecessary epic, Life of Pi; and Ben Affleck's new movie, Argo.

Oh, someone fancies himself a director.
Now, note that I clench my fists at the mention of Ben Affleck's film, and this is because I have absolutely no wavering uncertainty over its mediocrity. I've seen his previous attempt at directing, The Town, and found it to be utterly dull and uninteresting. Never has there been a predicament in which I am aimlessly focusing on my elephant figurines in the living room rather than trying to get into a film; The Town was so excruciatingly boring, in fact, that I stopped about thirty minutes in, if that. It was simply too pointless to continue. There are better movies out there. (Sitting through That's My Boy again sounds more appealing than giving The Town another chance. Both have awful accents, and Adam Sandler's challenged-toddler one trumps Ben Affleck's incoherent "Boston" one. Moving on, The Town was terrible.) My neighbor just arrived home. I know this because he just shouted, "Fuck!" Ah, adolescence. Based on this incredibly sardonic feeling towards one of his films--according to my dad, his first half-assed attempt Gone Baby Gone was just as drab--what would convince me that Argo is worth my time? The trailer sure didn't, and neither did that smug-basterd interview with Ben Affleck, where he repeatedly praised his directing feat. Unfortunately for him, I do not appreciate arrogance, especially when it is thoroughly undeserved. Despite how I feel towards Ben Affleck and his latest "achievement", the multitude of critics share the common opinion that Argo is the greatest film of the year, and that it should (and therefore will) see gold at the Academy Awards ceremony. Although Best Picture is not certain yet, Best Director--and I groan in anguish and despair when saying this--seems to be a sure-thing for Mr. Ben Gigli Affleck. Yes, I allude to his horrendous performance in Gigli with the purpose of reminding everyone who he is. True, he can be decent in some films as an actor, such as in Kevin Smith's movies and others surely; as a director, however, he is dreadful. To the credit of these commendatory critics, as well as his Oscar buzz and possible achievement, Ben Affleck will continue unleashing his brand of abominable pictures, and for that I send negative thoughts to critics.

Moving on. Other notable pictures competing in the Oscar race are Lincoln and Life of Pi, two films that will surely receive some acclaim based on both their historical and racial element. It's manifest knowledge--American history actually--that Abraham Lincoln is a renowned president and is credited for abolishing slavery and ending the Civil War. (Of course, the actual cause of the Civil War contradicts common belief that slavery was at its core, but that's another issue.) The film harnesses the irresistible-to-the-Academy attribute of anti-slavery as well as the stunning lead performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, who is on the path to earning a third Oscar for it. Tommy Lee Jones, apparently, is also high in the Best Supporting Actor category, to my dismay on account of Leonardo DiCaprio. (Just a brief tangent in relation to Best Supporting Actor: Another prominent nominee, and quite possibly the absolute victor, is Philip Seymour Hoffman for his mesmerizing performance as the leader of a not-really-a-cult cult, which alludes slightly towards Scientology. Intriguing, most definitely. Yet it is another obstacle for Leonardo DiCaprio. Blast.) Steven Spielberg, adored among the Academy, add further allure to his biopic, though it is hardly needed. No objections, I admire Daniel Day-Lewis solely for his extraordinary performance in Gangs of New York, which he did not rightly earn an Oscar for. Ang Lee, the man behind Brokeback Mountain (no pun intended), is receiving esteem for his latest direction of Life of Pi, which, from what I can gather, is based on a famous book about an Indian boy trapped at sea with a tiger. And it's in 3-D. I have absolutely no interest in this, not even a glimmer of curiosity whatsoever. Every year needs its Slumdog Millionaire.

The Oscar race, if I haven't said it already, is very diverse this year, ranging from historical to dramedic (comedic drama). This year also marks the entrance of several surprises, such as Best Actor spotlight on Bradley Cooper, well-known for his appearances in The Hangover and Valentine's Day. He is being applauded this year for his more dramatic turn in The Silver Linings Playbook, which is an indie darling I am actually looking forward to. Perhaps it is out of curiosity for Bradley Cooper's potential first Academy Award nominated performance, or in respect for Robert DeNiro, who plays his father. He is so very good at that, isn't he, in addition to practically everything else? Perhaps I am awaiting its release in favor of Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Bradley Cooper's leading lady, as well as proves to be a front-running Best Actress nominee herself. I'll give a short overview of what's to be expected in the film: Bradley Cooper assumes the role of a man suffering from bipolar disorder on top of the deterioration of his personal life, and he moves in with his parents during this troubling time, where he meets and befriends Jennifer Lawrence's equally disturbed character who had just lost her husband. The film does not have a determined genre, really, for it involves some comedy, some drama, some romance, and mental/domestic issues. It's a hybrid picture that could be appealing to a wide range of viewers, as well as a vast expanse of Academy voters. For your consideration.

Amid this mystifying flurry of potential Academy Award combatants, there is the animated anticipation of a charming, hilarious, brilliant man. The master of ceremonies, the emcee, the host of the Eighty-fifth Annual Academy Awards: Seth MacFarlane. The most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly released its long awaited "Entertainers of the Year" feature where, to one's surprise, they listed their personal opinions on who(m) among Hollywood serves as the last year's prime form of entertainment. To my intense disapproval, Ben Affleck was on the cover of this issue, evidently suggesting that he attained the top spot on Entertainers of the Year. If you haven't fully read one of the sections above, I advise that you do, for I will not be repeating myself as to how rotten a director Ben Affleck is. With this in mind, I must protest to his title of Entertainer of the Year. He does not even belong on the list, quite frankly. Fortunately, Seth MacFarlane made the list, most deservedly I must say: he is credited and praised for his work on Family Guy and similar shows (Family Guy is all that matters to me), applauded for his directorial debut with Ted which was the highest-grossing film of the summer (or one of), and he successfully hosted Saturday Night Live to rave reviews. Oh, and he's hosting the Academy Awards, which would be his very first appearance on the show overall. Entertainer of the Year? I believe, Seth, you deserve this title. Thank you and you're welcome.


Well, there was my initial spew on the present circumstances of this year's Academy Awards. It's sure to be a doozy. Why? If you recall, from the introduction of this post, I've had a lot on my mind, including former President John F. Kennedy and his (alleged) murderer Lee Harvey Oswald. There are countless conspiracies that surround the beloved president's untimely assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and not one of them (n)either confirm (n)or disprove the claims that currently remain on file. What file? Just a few days ago, I finished reading Stephen King's latest--that is, of last year--novel, 11/22/63, which, I think, is a cleverly succinct title for such a captivating piece of literature. Oh, yes, I enjoyed it very much, from beginning to end. I even convinced my dad to read it--it's been a week, and he declares that he will finish it tonight, while it took me a month. (Oh, the humanity.) Anyway, the book was fantastic, I highly recommend it for those who are not intimated by the thickness of it (more than eight hundred pages) and who are fascinated by the idea of time travel. As most people are aware, time travel is a very risky enterprise, for one meager nuance in the original progression of events can ignite a startling chain that leads to a different future. While saying "how do you do" to a person is not likely to change much, preventing the assassination of a U.S. president is an entirely different aspect. The manner in which Stephen King explores the idea of the butterfly effect, integrating an interesting storyline in the process, is incredibly insightful and astute; also, his vision of a transmogrified world following one alteration in history is utterly astounding and unexpected. The key factor this novel hones is suspense, and, as the King of Suspense, Stephen King delivers in moments of uncertainty and the gruesome outcome. In the section where the protagonist, Jake Epps (or, as he is known in "the Land of Ago", George Amberson), is in Dallas before the assassination, his observation of Lee Harvey Oswald--a vile, revolting creature, indeed--is so remarkably believable, and, I suppose, keenly accurate. Reading this novel is such an enormous pleasure, one that can be extended on account of its length, though not for long since it is a book you will not be able to put down.

Well, it appears that impromptu posts are the ones where I am most productive. This took approximately two hours for me to write, in case you ever wondered just how much of my time is consumed by diligent writing. (I write two posts in one week, and now I am diligent.) Expect more Oscar talk from here on, as I gradually begin watching the highlighted films that are most likely going to earn recognition. Also, the Golden Globes are coming soon, with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. (Not so enthused.) The nominations for that ceremony are expected to be announced sometime next week, I hope. We'll just see if Ted receives the praise it deserves, as it is the Best Comedy I've seen thus far this year. Lastly, I would like to wish the stunning Marisa Tomei a very happy birthday: Forty-eight, and you still look as gorgeous as ever. I'm sure George Costanza would still want you if you'd have him.