January 31, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year

So the Oscar nominations were announced today, and of course you know I have to comment, because I'm a whore for the golden statue. Forthwith, my comments on the major categories.


No real surprises here, although there was some discussion about whether enough people had seen Capote, and whether Munich would be too controversial. There were some (like GMA's Joel Siegel) who were shocked to not see Walk the Line up there, but I wasn't. After leaving the movie, I thought it was great, but that it did have a sense of "done it all before" considering Ray had just come out the previous year. The strength of the film was the two leads, and that's what it got.


As I predicted in a previous post, this is really a 3-man race between Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix. (Hoffman now has a definite edge, as he received the SAG Award last week.) The surprise here was for Terrence Howard to score a nomination for Hustle & Flow. I'm so glad my hubby rented it - I'll be watching it tonight. Because when you're trying to avoid a pompous speech by the country's First Idiot, nothing satisfies like a pimp with a heart of gold. In other news, clearly the Academy sides with hotel staff everywhere in their distaste for Russell Crowe.


This was without a doubt the least surprising category. About the only question that was up for grabs was if Charlize would get a nomination considering the lukewarm reviews for North Country. I'll be posting my official predictions in a later post (have to catch up on some videos first), but this is really a 2-woman race between Felicity Huffman and Reese Witherspoon. The latter received the SAG award, but my hunch is that the Academy is going to applaud the complete transformation necessary to play a pre-operative transgender woman.


Here's where the morning's big shockers happened. A few were foregone conclusions - Clooney, Giamatti, Gyllenhaal. There had been speculation that someone from the vast ensemble of Crash might get a nomination, and Matt Dillon made it, which is great. His character definitely had the biggest arc of change in the film, and he did it wonderfully (you hate him, then you feel sorry for him, and you possibly like him by the end). William Hurt has one of those "very short screen time but great" roles from what I understand. I won't be falling over myself to see the movie, though - I'm guessing he's a huge longshot. This is really a race between those first three.


Most of this was expected, but I have to say how pleased I was to see Catherine Keener get a nomination (she's had a spectacular year between Capote and The 4o Year-Old Virgin) and Michelle Williams (don't call her "Dawson's Creek girl" anymore!). Again, the surprise was that Frances McDormand would make it in from North Country, although I don't think I can name anyone else who was a strong enough contender, except perhaps Anne Hathaway.


Again, this was a no-surprise category, although there was a lot of talk about Woody Allen slipping in. Instead he'll settle for a screenwriting nod. My early guess is that this is just a race between Ang Lee and Paul Haggis, with Lee taking it home, as he was the winner from the Director's Guild (an excellent predictor).

Other little tidbits and thoughts...

I'm glad to see that Wallace and Grommit doesn't have much competition, and should easily walk off with an Oscar for Best Animated film. It's out on video, and I highly recommend it.

Also happy to see all the acclaim for Brokeback Mountain, which received the most nominations of any film. You go, gay cowboys!

The Best Song category was a bit perplexing - I can't remember the last time there were only 3 nominees. I'm pulling for Dolly Parton to take this home - can't wait to see her perform! (Just please don't let Beyonce do it, please, please!)

I did a pool with some online friends to predict the nominees in each category, and I only got them all right once - for Best Makeup. I'm not sure what that says about me. Other than the gay thing.

So please discuss away - this is my favorite time of year! You know I'm full of opinions. In the meantime, I'll be renting any DVDs I can. Tomorrow I'll be watching the other one the SNU brought home for me - The Constant Gardener, so I can judge Rachel Weisz's performance, and maybe (just maybe) forgive her for looking like hell at the Globes.

January 28, 2006

How did Fred Savage become so fucking hot?

Hopefully the title of this post got your attention. But I assure you it's not some blog publicity stunt - that's really my main topic!

So recently I've been watching a new mid-season show on ABC called Crumbs. It's similar to Arrested Development in the sense that it's an unconventional sitcom. There is no laugh track, and it's not just screwball comedy. There's a real degree of sadness and pathos pervading the whole thing.

The basic premise - Jane Curtin plays the mother (P.S. - completely adore her 4evah) finds out that her husband (William Devayne) is cheating on her, and proceeds to try and mow him down with her car. She's sent off to a psychiatric hospital, where she eventually "heals" (and also starts up her own affair with a strapping orderly). All of this hoopla causes Fred Savage (the younger son) to come home and help take care of his mother and possibly leave behind his semi-successful career as a Hollywood screenwriter. Oh, and he's gay but hasn't come out to his family. (Good times.) He comes home and falls back into his childhood pattern of butting heads with his man-whore younger brother (Eddie McClintock), who's the head chef of the family restaurant. And there was another brother who recently died. Hey - I said it was serious at times!

So anywho, in this week's episode, we learn that the father has been training to be a masseur, and is practicing on his son (Fred Savage). This leads to a five-minute scene of Fred topless. And let me say, the man is HOT. Do you hear me? H-O-T. Muscular without being "buff," nice furry chest, strong forearms, and those adorable doe eyes.

Now I ask you - how did this happen? What happened to the annoying pipsqueak on that gosh-awful The Wonder Years? Was he this good-looking when he was on that lame comedy, Working? Is there some special Hollywood spa where men come out looking like Adonis?

In short, watch this show, you might like it. And more importantly, you make get a nice dose of unexpected eye candy. (I will not reveal the near-pornographic thoughts I had about Mr. Savage.)

On a different note, the SNU said I really need to do more bitchy commentary on bad commercials. Agreed.

First off this time I must condemn the most recent Olive Garden commercial. Mother comes in and says, "I'm looking for my date, his shoe might be untied" or some such bullshit. Then she and the hostess laugh as we see it's her young son. LAME! STUPID! And also the kid is with his father, and what self-respecting man wouldn't even tie his fucking kid's shoe?

Next I have to say that I detest the Staples "easy button" campaign. It's been around since before the holidays, and it's never made sense to me. It's as if by pushing this button you will suddenly have all the office supplies you need. BULLSHIT! A colleague got one of these buttons, and all it does is say, "That was easy!" There were no printer catridges falling from the sky. Again, I cry bullshit.

And finally I want to discuss the spawn of Satan who is my nemesis - Baby Bob. I mean, it's a stupid idea. Babies who talk is a concept that's so very 1989. And the stupid "kid" already had a lame TV show (which was cancelled with good reason). Now he's back doing stupid commercials for a very average sandwich company (Quizno's). After watching one of these bits recently, the SNU heard me say something horribly inappropriate about Baby Bob. I won't repeat it here for fear of being condemned to Hell for eternity. But let me sum it up for you - a baby should be adorable like this one, not a spokesinfant for grilled bread.

January 18, 2006

GG wrap-up

Last night was the Golden Globe awards, as I told you was coming in this earlier post. It was a fun evening, and here's my round-up of the night's events.

First I should point out that the Globes is the best awards show to watch. Not only do you get TV and movie stars together, but they're totally drunk. Fun abounds!

There were a lot of expected wins, including Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon and S. Epatha Merkerson. But a few fun surprises came out of the night. I was tickled to see Sandra Oh win, and her sister was very pregnant and quite possibly her twin. Another thumbs up to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who won deservedly, setting up a three-way Oscar race with Joaquin and Heath Ledger. And of course I'm happy anytime Lost wins something! It was also nice to see so much acclaim for Brokeback Mountain. My fingers are crossed for a Best Picture win at the Oscars! Felicity Huffman won for Transamerica, which was well-deserved and expected. My hope is she'll edge out Reese come Oscar time.

Disappointments? My only one came with Desperate Housewives - it has not been having a good season, so I can only assume that the foreign press are celebrating season 1. (Seriously, the episode was so dull this past week, I might cancel my TiVo season pass. I'm only holding out for next week's catfight between Gaby and the naughty nun.)

Best moment of the night, bar none, was the winning speech from Geena Davis (Best Actress for Television - Drama). First she had me misty talking about a child who told her she dreamed of being President thanks to Geena. Then Geena tells us she made that up. I began to cry...with laughter! And she just kept bringing the funny. Kudos to Ms. Davis for reminding us all that she's not only a good actress, she's damn hilarious as well. You can get a similar perspective from the Chicago Tribune.

Fashion review!!!

Fortunately this year there were mostly hits and very few misses. If I had to pick my top 3 for women, I'd go with:
  • Eva Longoria in a divine red form-fitting dress by Bob Mackie
  • Ziyi Zhang pulling off a very difficult color that was yellow-green, but kept her looking young and fresh
  • Nicolette Sheridan in cool midnight blue
Worst-dressed would be far easier. There were so few, but every time they came on the screen, I winced:
  • Charlize Theron in a dress that made her look naked underneath, and wasn't that hot on the outside
  • Reese Witherspoon, who apparently thought a gladiator breastplate would be a good thing to wear when accepting a major award
  • Rachel Weiss, who had a horrid dress, bad make-up, and looked as if someone had hit her in the face with a shovel (seriously, was she wearing fake "redneck" teeth or something?)
For the men, it's the usual display where they all end up looking alike. But a few were distinguished, including George Clooney (classic), Terrence Howard (hott!) and Eric Bana (drool).

It was a great night, and if you missed it, I'm sorry. Here's hoping someone spikes the water at the Oscars! But for another fun look, check out Entertainment Weekly's top 10 moments from the Globes.

January 15, 2006

Pics and pans at the movies

Hello all! I know it's been awhile since I posted, but things have been crazy at work, and I'm transitioning to a different computer at home. I will attempt in this post to catch you up on a few films and videos I caught recently.

Back over the holidays, the SNU and I went to take in The Producers. It was...good, but not great. In truth it's a lot like the stage show, which has the same problems (the beginning and the end). But the middle was great, and full of hilarious characters. Will Ferrell (who can often bug me) was really great as an over-the-top Nazi. The big disappointment for me was the old lady number ("Along Came Bialy") which just didn't have the oomph you saw in the stage version. Worth seeing? I'd wait for the video.

Tonight we went to see Last Holiday. It was a really enjoyable movie, and I'll borrow from a review I read to summarize. It's great because of 3 little words - "starring Queen Latifah." She absolutely shines with charm, and plays the most understated character I've ever seen her do. I wish I could meet her, because I know she'd love me and we'd be BFFs! But I digress.

This film is pure fluff and fun. If you can't figure out the entire plot (including the ending) after the first 20 minutes, you're not paying attention. But clearly the director had a simple vision, and that was to make you feel good. Guess what? It works. But it also begs the age-old question - if you only had weeks to live what would you do? (Seriously, what would you do? I'd love to hear your responses.) I think I'd take a lot of cues from the film. I'd travel to Europe, and maybe Africa. I'd eat everything in sight. And I think I'd throw myself into a one night only dance concert to go out with a bang!

On the video front, I highly recommend seeing Happy Endings. Don't be fooled - it's far from a feel-good film. It's really a complex and interesting character study, with some amazing performances from Lisa Kudrow and Maggie Gyllenhaal, not to mention hottie-hott Jason Ritter, late of my adored Joan of Arcadia. It's a hard plot to explain, but let me just say that it's similar to Magnolia - a lot of characters and plot threads that slowly intertwine until they collide. And watch yourself being shocked that you actually like Tom Arnold. I'm serious! I confess that I was having...feelings. And now I will burst into flames.

Next we watched A Dirty Shame by John Waters. Frankly, I thought it was a pile of poo. It's as if Waters is now putting stupid stuff on the screen just because he always has. The problem is that years ago it was shocking. Now it's just...silly. The one highlight was that a woman we went to grad school with (and who starred in the SNU's excellent production of Sam Shepard's "Buried Child") was in the film. Her name is Jewel Orem, and she played Loose Linda, who was basically a slut in a police uniform. Hott!!!

Finally, we watched the critically acclaimed Crash. The reason this movie got acclaim was because it's DAMN GOOD. It also is in the Magnolia-model of multiple characters and plot threads, but in this case it's an examination of race relations in America. It says a lot of things that people are secretly thinking but would never say out loud. It's shocking, sometimes scary, sometimes painful. The man getting most of the buzz is Terrence Howard, who has a really emotional and fascinating role. (And I must say he's got the most gorgeous eyes I've ever seen.) He was also good in Ray, and my next stop will be to rent Hustle & Flow.

In short, rent this movie and see it at least once. I wish everyone would, because it really makes you think. Political correctness be damned.

And let me close with a shout-out. Tonight we went to a photography exhibition at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, where I myself have taken a photography class. We were invited to see a piece on display by our own Stef. It was a nice show and was hosted by none other than J of DC Food Blog. It was very nice, and now I'm itching to take another class, and take dozens of pictures. Rest assured we chatted a bunch, and dinner plans will be made amongst us. Come home soon, T!

January 05, 2006

Work it!

So much to catch up on, so little time. Remind me that in another post I need to review some recent movies and videos I watched.

But today the topic at hand is fashion. Although I am by no means a fashionista myself, it's become my new TV addiction. If you asked me to name 10 designers, I'd have trouble. But ask me the name of the bitchy model on Project Runway, and I know! (Cara, if you're keeping track.)

Speaking of which, let's discuss this week's episode, shall we? So much happened I have to blog about it. So as you I'm sure saw (because why wouldn't you watch this show, there is nothing else on Wednesdays at the moment), this week the challenge was to design for "socialite" Nicky Hilton. Which is funny, because I didn't know being a rich bitch heiress makes you a socialite, but whatever. I think maybe it was to give her a term that sets her apart from her crap-whore sister, Paris.

Anywho, they were given a couple pics of La Hilton, and then sent off to "make it work." The results were clearly mixed. I offer my critiques of each garment. You can reference them all by going here. I'll go left to right to make it easy on you.

Santino designed something that looks rather creative and interesting from a distance, but to me feels like it would be unwearable. I just thought that dyed braided rope would be so itchy and...bleh. Plus as you got up close the fabric was very bunched and lacking in shape. I think Nicky liked it because it would set her apart on the red carpet. But I could see several fashion mags taking issue with the gown. The only reason he really won is because he was such a pushy asshole at the party Nicky threw. I'll bet he makes it to the final 3 just for shock value.

Well the great heap of tears came up with something lovely at last. His dress was very simple but very elegant and young-looking. I thought the ribbon trim was a very good touch. But I protest his assertion that you could just "toss it in your suitcase and it won't wrinkle." Maybe I just have to feel the fabric to be sure.

It's no secret that I adore Chloe. This is yet another example of her ability to make a sophisticated and sexy dress, and she is not afraid of color. My one disappointment was her choice to go with colors almost identical to those she had in the "Clothes Off Your Back" challenge. Regardless, I think she is destined to make the final 3. Tim the Silver Fox loves her, which should go a long way.

Daniel V.
Danny overcame his fabric malfunction to come up with a very striking dress. I thought it was definitely stunning and in my top 3 for the night. My only negative was that I thought without the strong pattern of the fabric, the dress style was very basic. If this had been a solid color it would have looked too simple. I just wish I could have seen what his original idea would have looked like.

"Dirty" Diana is a real puzzle. I mean, I adore her - she's so cute. "I love math and science..." But sometimes her ideas are a bit odd. This dress I thought was half-great...the top half. The bottom half (surprisingly pointed out with astuteness by Nicky Hilton) was just a mess and unattractive. I doubt Diana will last to the end, but she can be my friend.

This is a dress that did not look good on television, but looks better in the photo. I think his problem as with Kara's (see below) is that there was too much black used amongst the designers this week. So with all that black, dresses like this one get lost. It's simple and pretty, but doesn't excite me. Neither does he. Is he made of wood?

Ugh, what a mess. I mean, I never really liked this girl's work, but this was a stark example. Her dress sticks out like a sore thumb, as if it was made from upholestry. I think she's too much an "artist" and not enough "commercial."

Same problem with Emmett's only more so. The design of the dress itself is certainly lovely and flattering. But having it be all black is so...been done before. I think if she'd done this in any bold color (like silver or maybe coral) it could have even won.

How do you spell disaster? The fact that she was not eliminated for this is astonishing. I mean, copying another designer is exactly what got Alexandra eliminated last season. But whatever. On top of that, it was poor construction, and her model SUCKS. If Marla sticks around next episode, it will only be on the strength of her partner (like the lingerie challenge).

Ah, my darling Nick. Come into my room where we can sit for awhile and...woops, sorry about that folks. Anywho, his dress was flawless. Gorgeous color, expert tailoring, and a very creative and interesting back. If it had been any other woman, I think she would have picked this dress. Too bad for Nick that the client was a touch too trashy. Fortunately I think he is easily bound for the final 3.

Yuck. I mean, I think she knows how to put a garment together well, but I just don't think it's always flattering. That's certainly the case here, and giving the model such dark eye shadow makes it worse. I'm afraid that Zulema only has a small bag of tricks, and they're running out.

What a great show. Can't wait until next week!

Meanwhile, I must tell you about this little show I got sucked into over New Year's weekend thanks to the evil Em. It's called America's Next Top Model, on UPN. Although currently you can see reruns quite a bit on VH1, which is what we did. We ended up watching cycle (that's season to most of us) 4.

The show is hosted by the uber-fabulous Tyra Banks. Yes, she's no Heidi Klum. But she takes this show VERY seriously, which is what makes it so rad.

The girls are all so young, it's very strange, and a different experience than watching Runway. But the photo shoots are so much fun, and it's amazing to see how they can turn out.

Ultimately the winner (after I stayed up to 3 a.m.) was Naima, who richly deserved it. I'll bet I'll be seeing her years from now and thinking, "I knew her when." She has this fabulous mohawk, and an interesting mixed-race heritage. And she's sweet. Here's a little pic of her and Tyra.

All in all this show is a real guilty pleasure. I mean, it's certainly not on par with Runway or a good season of The Amazing Race. But it's completely entertaining, and you don't feel scummy afterwards. Dare I say I will be tuning into cycle 6? I just might.