Sunday, January 27, 2008

4:30 in the morning?

Well, I was all ready to go to bed, but then I listened to Natasha Beningfield's Unwritten. Now I'm feeling too upbeat and filled with positivity and personal inspiration to sleep. So, it's posting time.

--- I have surprisingly few beefs with the Academy Award nominations. This list is a lot shorter than it has been in past years since this has been a sick year for movies. Even the notoriously wonky Academy has had a hard time finding crap to nominate in the face of so much good work. Yet as always, I can find a few turds amidst all of the chocolate brownies. Full disclosure: I haven't seen There Will Be Blood or Atonement yet, so my attempt to see all of the year's top nominees isn't yet complete.

Ruby Dee nominated for Best Supporting Actress. I have no problems with Ruby Dee, a fine actress who should've been nominated and arguably won for Do The Right Thing almost 20 years ago. If I had been writing this blog in 1990 (or, y'know, if blogs had existed then) and done a post about Oscar beefs, it might've just been one long entry about Do The Right Thing. Anyway, Ruby Dee was in American Gangster for literally five minutes. She has one good scene where she confronts Denzel. That's it. This is little more than a lifetime achievement type of nomination.

Lost not being nominated for Best Drama. Oh wait, that was the Emmys. IT WAS STILL GARBAGE.

No songs from Walk Hard nominated for Best Original Song. This one was a bummer. Most of the songs aren't PC, but hell, if Blame Canada can get in there, why not one from John C. Reilly? Walk Hard came out of nowhere to be arguably my favourite comedy of the year. It's better start-to-finish than Superbad and Hot Fuzz, though that said, the initial stages of Hot Fuzz are devoted to building to the unbelievably funny last 20-30 minutes. That movie pays off so well that it is still ahead of Walk Hard by a nose. See both movies, sez me. But man, Walk Hard. One reviewer described it as a feature-length SCTV spoof, which is just about dead-on. I won't spoil any of the jokes for you, but there are multiple laugh-out-loud scenes: Tim Meadows' anti-drug speeches, the sinks, the cameo by the Temptations, John Michael Higgins' hilarious speech as the record producer, the "Let's Duet" song and accompanying visual of Reilly and Jenna Fischer eating ice cream, the Dylan-style protest songs and much more. This would've been unthinkable even two years ago, but it may be time to have a who's funnier debate between Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly --- this movie might clear up some of the controversy.

Only one song from Once nominated for Best Song. On the bright side, at least the best one ('Walking Slowly') got the nod. But come on, three songs from Enchanted get in and only one from Once? I was really hoping this one would be an upset Best Picture nominee too. My friend Kyle wrote as good a summation of Once as any on his blog.

The Simpsons Movie not nominated for Best Animated Film. I should be used to seeing the Simpsons snubbed for awards by this point. But come on, friggin' Surf's Up was nominated ahead of it. That is simply disgraceful.

Sound engineer Kevin O'Connell nominated again, this time for Transformers. This is his 20th nomination and he probably will lose for the 20th time. Give the poor soul a break! Just torture him in a less public way, like slapping him and tearing off his shirt while he's sitting on the john like Steve-O's dad.

--- If I read one more Bill Simmons column that mentions the 1986 Celtics, I'm going to scream. I'm not on the 'Simmons has lost it' bandwagon like many others, since I'm still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt given that his schedule over the last few months (a new baby, E-60 segments, a podcast, finishing a book) has been hectic. And it's hard to say his almost near-total topic shift to Boston sports is out of line, given how the Red Sox won the Series, the Celtics are on fire, the Revolution made it to the MLS Cup Final* and the Patriots are approaching a perfect season. But there is no doubt that Simmons, to use one of his own phrases, has lost his fastball. The biggest weakness is in the comparison department. Simmons used to have a knack for coming up with very apt pop culture references or real-life scenarios to describe sports, but now he is falling back on either tired 80's movies, or The Hills, which is inexplicably the only modern show that he seems to watch regularly besides The Wire. It seems like he just isn't putting his full effort into the material unless it's a basketball column, and even those have been on the wane since the Celtics got good again. Maybe this is the problem --- Simmons only pays full attention to a sport when his team is struggling or not a serious contender, and thus he is forced to look at the entire league and not be too Boston-centric. I still can't over his column where he claimed there was nothing interesting about the Colorado-Arizona NLCS. The Rockies had won 17 of 18 games coming into that series! It was the greatest run in modern baseball history! Nothing interesting about it?! I can take the Patriots winning another Super Bowl, but now I'm anti-Red Sox and anti-Celtics just so Simmons can get his head back to writing quality material.

* Contractual obligation to mention this.

--- One more note: Havant & Waterlooville came up short in their attempt to cause the biggest upset in FA Cup history. The gallant Hawks lost 5-2 to Liverpool in Liverpool, though H&W held the lead not once, but twice in the game and went into halftime tied. Liverpool, at this point, probably realized that they would be tarred and feathered en masse if they lost the game, and scored three unanswered goals in the second half. Even still, it was quite a showing for this low-ranked team and a true inspiration to underdogs everywhere in that if you try your best, you too can get very close to your dream before having it eventually crushed by an overwhelmingly greater force. Hmm, I need to listen to Unwritten again, that wasn't very positive.


brian said...

so 'falling slowly' is in for sure? i read that it would maybe be ineligible...but hopefully it stays. i haven't seen enchanted, but i am surprised 3 songs from one movie are nominated when there were great movies with some great original scores this year: once and walk hard in particular.

RT Murphy said...

To mellow out the harsh from the Facebook comment, it's just to say that Simpsons would be a serious lame duck against Persepolis and Ratatouille, both of which I can tell are easily better than it, without having seen either.

Mark P said...

Falling Slowly is definitely in, yeah. The Academy were apparently sticklers about the music nominations this year --- apparently Jonny 'Guy From Radiohead' Greenwood's score from There Will Be Blood was declared ineligible.