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.

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