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Saturday, December 20, 2003
Two movie recomendations from this weekend (and neither is "Return of the King"--I'm honestly not that desperate to see it and will wait for the crowds to die down), and they couldn't be more different.
Last night, I ventured out to see Tim Burton's new flick, "Big Fish." It goes alongside "Frequency" on the shelf of "Weepy Guy Movies" in the "I Love You, Dad!" division. Father and son are estranged. Father is dying. Son returns. Father and son come to understand that they are not that different. In "Frequency," we get there by way of a sci-fi based twist. In "Big Fish," it's a fantasy twist. We learn, along with the son, that the stories his father has told are all tall tales (as the son has thought), but that there is a grain of truth to all of them. Particularly nice is Danny Elfman's score, which balances creepiness and tenderness both in exactly the right measures. It's not a perfect film, but it's entertaining and touching--yes, I teared up at the end.
Having done "weepy guy" movie last night, I went with "utter chick flick" tonight with "Mona Lisa Smile." The biggest problem in this one is the star--Julia Roberts. She's utterly miscast as a "bohemian" professor of art who comes from California to Wellesley in the 50s and the film spends FAR too much time dealing with her and her personal issues (although Marcia Gay Harden, as Roberts' housemate, a repressed "poise and charm" professor, is a complete hoot). What works is the story of four friends (Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Gennifer Goodwin) whose lives are changed as a result of their interactions with Roberts. The film shows a few signs of inspiration--it's framed by voiceover narration from Dunst, and there's a fascinating film in there that would have been about these four girls, with Roberts' art professor as a peripheral character. What we have instead is an OK film with a few excellent performances (particularly Stiles) and an unexpected ending (no, it's not "everyone learns to get liberated!"). Still, worth checking out for solid work from the four youngsters, including what (hopefully) will be the first step toward quasi-stardom for Goodwin.
Is there a contractual obligation that every television show airing right now use REM's "Bad Day" as background music at some point this season? I mean, thus far, at least "Alias," "Smallville," and "Boston Public" have all used it, plus a couple of times showing up on CNN. It's a great song, but EVERY show?
Thursday, December 18, 2003
I have a really long post on the Golden Globes cued up in my blogger queue, but it doesn't seem to post. So, comment below about whatever you want to hate/love on.
Ah, Golden Globe nominations are out. Always quirky (due to the small voting pool and the oddball division of categories), this year is no exception. The shockers include:
No nominations for "Elf," while Billy Bob Thornton picks up a nomination as best actor for "Bad Santa."
No acting nominations for "Love Actually," despite nominations for Best Picture and Best Screenplay
Cate Blanchett getting an acting nomination for the almost totally unseen "Veronica Guerin," rather than "The Missing."
Scarlett Johansson getting TWO acting nominations as a leading actress, for both "Lost in Translation" and "Girl With A Pearl Earring."
The inexplicable nomination of Uma Thurman as best actress for "Kill Bill." I liked the movie an awful lot, but, let's be honest here, was the performance that good?
No nomination for Jennifer Connelly for "House of Sand and Fog."
Where it gets really bizarre is over in TV:
"Nip/Tuck" getting the fifth slot for best drama over "ER," "Law & Order," "Alias," and "Without A Trace?"
Joely Richardson of "Nip/Tuck" and Amber Tamblyn of "Joan of Arcadia" getting leading actress/drama nominations over Marg Helgenberger and Mary Steenbergen. (Though it is nice to see Tamblyn, who's unquestionably the star of her show despite third billing, get recognition as such)
"Arrested Development" and "The Office" both getting "Best Comedy" nominations over "Friends" and "Scrubs." (I know I should love "The Office," but somehow, I've just never been able to get into it.)
Reba McEntire and Alicia Silverstone getting Best Actress in a Comedy Series nominations, without nominating Sarah Chalke, anyone from "Friends," or Lauren Graham.
Ricky Gervais getting a nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy Series?
"Angels In America" utterly dominating the categories it was eligible in. (Ok, not really a shocker, but still...)
What shocked and surprised you?
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Now, I don't agree with much of what Eugene Volokh has to say (particularly about the Second Amendment), but I have fond (and not so fond) memories of editing a piece by Kaminer for my journal in law school that extensively cited one of his articles. Who knew that an academic writer could be as funny and smart as his blog (co-written with other "conspirators"), The Volokh Conspiracy, is. I link today because of the lengthy discussion there today of "Red Dawn," and the high quality posting that notes that Texas has the word "Dildo" in its Penal Code. (Yes, I'm six.)
Monday, December 15, 2003
Before my regularly scheduled blogging, an interesting observation. When I was updating this blog, it turns out that Democrats for Bush/Cheney was updated in the last few minutes. Oddly, at around the same time, Howard Dean 2004 was updated. Draw your own conclusions.
Somehow, lost in the all-Saddam coverage of the past week was the name of the operation--"Red Dawn," and the fact that the search locations were "Wolverine 1" and "Wolverine 2." Were they expecting Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell to lead the operation? Or is someone in the White House a really big fan? Just a thought.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
I loathe Limp Bizkit. Frankly, I consider "Nookie," with its "classic" chorus of "I did it all for the nookie! The nookie! The nookie! So you can take that cookie! And shove it up your yeah! Shove it up your yeah! Shove it up your yeah!," to be one of the worst songs ever to make the Top 10. That's what makes admitting that I really like their cover of "Behind Blue Eyes" really difficult. But I do. Demonstrates just how great Pete Townsend is, I guess, despite that kiddie porn unpleasantness.
Now, it's certainly great to hear that Saddam Hussein has been captured--but doesn't the fact that he was hiding (literally) in a hole in the ground make you doubt our electronic surveillance capacities? I mean, it took this long to find someone hiding in a hole in the ground? What if he'd actually been seriously hiding?