February 20, 2015
This Sunday is the Academy Awards, biggest night in Hollywood, the gay Super Bowl, the highest rated non-football TV event of the year... where a whole bunch of movies I haven't bothered to see may win big awards. And some of them may be flicks none of us really want to see.
Best part of the night will likely be host Neil Patrick Harris, fresh off a Tony win and a supporting role in Gone Girl, who has shown to be a fast and fun host of many events before. And the live tweeting is bound to be snarky and hysterical.
Looking past the big and perceived snubs --- haven't seen Selma yet, though it was probably mis-marketed and potentially dismissed as preachy (#OscarsSoWhite), can't believe The Lego Movie didn't even get a nod for best animated feature when it was one of the best films of the year, period -- there are some great things in here. And some stuff I still need to see.
Here are major category picks... how many will be bang on?
Nominated: American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Grand Budapest Hotel, Imitation Game, Selma, Theory Of Everything, Whiplash.
I've seen: Boyhood, Grand Budapest Hotel, Imitation Game, Theory Of Everything.
Should & Will Win: I would give it to the amazing Imitation Game or the zany Grand Budapest Hotel, am thinking the critically loved Birdman gets this one.
Nominated: Steve Carrell, Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne.
I've seen: Cumberbatch in Imitation Game, Redmayne in Theory Of Everything.
Should & Will Win: I'd give it to Redmayne for his amazing Stephen Hawking, the media seems to be all over Keaton for Birdman as his big comeback story... isn't he playing himself?
Nominated: Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, Reese Witherspoon.
I've seen: Jones in Theory Of Everything, Pike in Gone Girl.
Should & Will Win: Neither of the two I've seen rocked me that much, so am going with the world consensus of Moore in Still Alice.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominated: Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo, JK Simmons.
I've seen: Ethan Hawke playing Ethan Hawke in Boyhood.
Should & Will Win: JK Simmons for Whiplash, so maybe he'll stop doing those annoying TV commercials for an insurance company...?
Best Supporting Actress
Nominated: Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern, Keira Knightley, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep.
I've seen: Arquette in Boyhood, Knightley in Imitation Game, Streep in Into The Woods.
Should & Will Win: Arquette for her graceful, honest 12 years of work in Boyhood.
Director - Richard Linklater for the vision behind Boyhood
Costume Design - Into The Woods
Original Song - "Everything Is Awesome" from The Lego Movie
Writing, Adapted - The Imitation Game
Writing, Original - Grand Budapest Hotel
And yes there is a bunch of stuff I haven't seen in the documentary and other categories, hopefully the better ones will come to Netflix soon...
What are your Oscar picks?
February 14, 2015
Earlier this week, Jon Stewart, one of my secret TV boyfriends, announced he is leaving his gig as host of The Daily Show after almost 17 years ("16 years and 5 months longer than any other job I've held...").
Damn. Stewart is smart and funny and has become an important part of our political and social conversation.
Though Stewart may call himself the flag bearer of fake news, he reported and impacted the real news, championed fairness and decency, put a spotlight on smallish books and movies, and launched the careers of Steve Carrell, Josh Gad and Stephen Colbert, among others. And he called out insanity and hypocrisy all over the place, especially Washington and Fox News.
So with Stewart thanking people for watching and for hate watching, and then moving on to new adventures later this year, who should replace him?
Assuming top tier names like Amy Poehler (who would be amazing) would not be interested, here are some other good ideas...
The stand up comedian and co-host of The Talk is faster and edgier on her own -- she is smart and political and tremendously entertaining. And yes late night could certainly use a female host.
The actor and comedian who recently departed his late night CBS gabfest is more outspoken and political in his stand-up than he was on that show... and while yes he will be another middle aged white guy on late night, he will be informed and outspoken. A Stewart-ish replacement.
After subbing for Stewart last summer, Oliver left The Daily Show for his own terrific weekly HBO series; that contract has to have an out clause, and he should come back. His temp gig showed he would be great at this.
And some bad ideas...
Host of the new Daily Show spin-off The Nightly Show is now forging his own take on late night news comedy, and he falls somewhere between John Oliver rants and Bill Maher round tables... leave him where he is, the show is starting to cook.
The suspended NBC anchor is funny and charming and apparently good at making crap up, and yep he has time on his hands, but I would rather see him do a serious mea culpa and comeback... on a show I don't watch.
While this one is more of a flier and may work, it is more likely to be a train wreck... she is fast and funny, however we have yet to see her doing anything really political or grounded.
Two other names mentioned in the media are Alec Baldwin or Rosie O'Donnell; while both have the time now, recent history shows are better guests than hosts. Don't go there.
Aside from maybe Patton Oswalt, who else should be a contender?
February 10, 2015
In addition to obsessively watching the TV series we love -- The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, The Big Bang Theory -- since subscribing last year I have come to love Netflix.
Yes I am talking about Netflix Canada, which granted blows compared to Netflix in the USA, however still has a good menu of new and undiscovered things to see.
And yes Netflix people, if you are reading this, we know, we know, you have all ten seasons of Friends, we've seen them, you can stop telling us over and over. WE KNOW!
Friends aside (been there, done that...), here are three films we have discovered and enjoyed over the last couple of weeks... check them out, and let me know in the comments if you have other suggestions...
A Long Way Down
A 2014 black comedy with Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, and some skinny blond girl I don't know, who meet when they are all planning suicide at the same time, and become a support group of friends... or as one of them calls it, a gang, who agree to not kill themselves for six weeks as they try to work through their troubles. Yes it's predictable, but it is sweet and touching and funny. And Brosnan is really getting handsomer with age.
This quiet 2009 Canadian film is the tale of a brief, unexpected romance between a Canadian magazine editor and her Egyptian host, while she waits for her delayed husband. The setting is gorgeous, and Patricia Clarkson is terrific in the leading role. They walk and talk as she falls in love with the city and her host, knowing she will soon leave both. Quiet and lovely.
What are you watching?
February 1, 2015
Interesting news story from here in calm quiet Edmonton...
The student-painted mural above was put up in a local high school, with prior approval by the school principle and art teacher. Then the school got complaints and covered the mural up.
Would there be complaints if it was a boy and girl kissing... would the school have covered the mural up if was a boy and girl... so, homophobic much?