Sunday, February 29, 2004


What? That was it?

This year's Oscars were a model of ruthless efficiency...and utter lifelessness (full disclosure: my two favorite Oscarcasts were the two most derided shows: the Letterman one, and the 2002 show with all the film clips that ended up being the longest one ever). I wonder to what extent the Super Bowl fiasco cast a pall on the proceedings. They just didn't do much for me this year, though the fact that I didn't do any sort of Oscar pool this year may have lessened my interest.

Best dressed: Diane Lane, Scarlett Johansson. Charlize Theron would have made the grade if not for her Oompa-Loompa tan.

Worst dressed: Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh.

probably the most common pool upsets: losses by Bill Murray and Destino.

So what the hell was that thing Sting was playing, and how long does one have to crank it before the Jack pops out?

Congratulations Errol Morris! Even if Fog of War was a make-up award, nice to see Errol win, and especially nice to see him acknowledge that it was About Damn Time he got some attention from the Documentary group.

It wasn't my favorite, but I can't begrudge ROTK any of its awards except Best Song. "Into the West" was the weakest of the five. Running close to it was "A Kiss At the End of the Rainbow", which was slight and in a disappointing film, but it gets the edge for actually being part of its film, and not just aural wallpaper under the credits.

Too bad about Twilight Samurai losing Best Foreign Film. It's outstanding; keep an eye out for it this year.

Crystal: he was okay...better'n Whoopi, who should be kept 50 miles away from the Kodak Theatre at all times, but still, I say the best way to cut show length (and it does not need to be cut) is to eliminate the host altogether.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Hey Ralphie boy...

Hey, Nader's running again. Time for more whining about how voters like me cost Gore the presidency. Whatever. Actually it's interesting how the most vitriolic Nader hate this time around is not coming from the Democrats. Or the Greens, who should feel particularly betrayed.

The perspective of the now-jaded 2000 Nader supporter is wrapped up pretty well here, but I have some additional thoughts.

I didn't vote for Gore in 2000 because Gore didn't earn it. He could have earned it. He could have picked a runningmate who wasn't an elephant in donkey's clothing. He could have renounced his wife's PMRC foolishness from the 80s. He could have done something other than rolling over and accepting the misrepresentations the wingnuts got past about him.

And now in 2004 it's Nader who hasn't earned it. Sure, in the long, long run he's probably done more for the public good than any other single candidate in '04--and that includes all the many times he got it wrong. But politics has a certain amount of "what have you done for me lately," and that's where Ralph has fallen off. Bush II has provided so many ripe opportunities for Nader to position himself as the Loyal Opposition: Enron, Patriot Act, Plame, Halliburton, now this stupid marriage amendment...Jesus Haploid Christ! Proverbial grist for the proverbial mill. And what's the biggest scandal Nader's attacked since November 2000?


I'm not terribly thrilled about Kerry being the Democratic frontrunner, but he doesn't have Al's Tipperstink. And based on the way he tore into people ostensibly on the same team, I at least have hope he'll give as good as he gets after the conventions.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

I'm still halfway through writing up my B-fest recap, and bogged down with other things at the moment. But I may as well just scrap it altogether after the pain Dee inflicted tonight at her Movie Dictator:

1. Glitter

2. Crossroads (Spears, not Macchio -- but isn't that a Hobson's choice anyway?) this point we were fearing From Justin To Kelly. Or Under the Cherry Moon, or worse, Graffiti Bridge.

But no, it got worse.

3. much worse.

The best thing that can be said for this movie is that Madonna gets slapped around a good deal.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Best Valentine Story Ever

Meet the luncheonette-sitters and freedom marchers of the 21st century. What God has brought together, let no man tear asunder.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Newly arrived in my inbox:

"GREG, home0wners at 1110 CRAIN ST APT 1 are getting ahead!"

Considering that address, our previous abode, is a rental property, it's probably safe to assume that the owners were "ahead" (whatever that means) quite some time ago.
Belated best of 2003: Movies

A lot of films have been talked up elsewhere already, so I only have comments on a few:

Top 5:

1. Lost in Translation

2. Spellbound - one of three great chronicles of obsession (see below for more), and the most suspenseful film of 2003.

3. American Splendor

4. Capturing the Friedmans

5. Bubba Ho-Tep - Aged Elvis and a black JFK fight a mummy. What business did this have being as sweet and good-natured as it was?

Honorable mention (in alpha order):

Bad Santa

Bend It Like Beckham

Cinemania - Obsession film #2, this one trailing five New Yorkers who've built their lives around seeing as many films as possible. At the very least, I'm grateful to this film for putting a friend's life in perspective.

Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Koi...Mil Gaya - You'd think Bubba Ho-Tep or Kill Bill would be the wildest genre pastiche in 2003, but that honor goes to this Bollywood import; a strange mishmash of Flowers for Algernon, E.T, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, starring a leading man with two thumbs on one hand and given the traditional three-hour musical treatment. Why Preity Zinta isn't a superstar on these shores, I'll never know.

Stone Reader - Obsession film #3. The fate of Dow Mossman is not as interesting as its meditations on becoming an evangelist for a book (or a thing), and the nature of publishing's one-hit wonders. Too bad it never made me the least bit interested in reading The Stones of Summer.

The Triplets of Belleville

Twilight Samurai - An entry in the Chicago Film Festival, I hope this Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee gets a wider release in 2004. In a way, it's the mirror-image of Ikiru, in which a man finds his fulfilment, but in the menial, the family.

28 Days Later

The Chaff (in no order)




The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

All Tomorrow's Parties

Never got around to:

Finding Nemo, the Matrix films, Cat in the Hat, Gigli, Kangaroo Jack, Master & Commander, Mystic River, Cold Mountain

Most underrated performances:

Joan Cusack in SCHOOL OF ROCK

Ossie Davis in BUBBA HO-TEP

The former added life to a character surely meant as a throwaway role. The latter added heart and depth to a film that, sadly, only a core audience of geeks like me will bother seeking out.

Most overrated:

Winged Migration - What can I say except I find bugs (as shown in the filmmakers' previous work, Microcosmos) inherently more compelling than birds? Initially fascinating cinematography wears on...and on. A documentary about how this was made would be more interesting than the product itself.

Doomed to disappoint:

A Mighty Wind

Best "Bad" movie

Bubba Ho-Tep

Worst "Good" movie

All Tomorrow's Parties