Archive for the Academy Awards Category

Here come the Oscar Nominations for 2007

Posted in Academy Awards, humor, movies, Oscars, reviews with tags , , , on January 22, 2008 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the list of Academy Award Nominees for the 2007 movie season. Honestly, I’m a little appalled at how many of these movies I haven’t seen. The nominees for the “big 4” (actor, actress, director, movie) are a little “out of the box” for my tastes. I don’t know if this whole writer’s strike is having a strange effect on the whole of Hollywood or what, but these nominees are a little strange. As you recall from my favorites article a few weeks ago, I saw almost 5 movies a month this past year however I have not seen the majority of movies that were nominated. That’s how whacked out these nominees are.

Well, like I did last year, I thought I would take a look at a few of the Academy’s selections and maybe give a critique. I won’t go over all of the selections, just some of the more visible categories. You can click the image at the top of this article to go to the Oscar website to see a full listing of nominees. Let’s take a look at a few of the Academy’s decisions this year.


Best Leading Actor:
George Clooney – Michael Clayton – This is a good movie, however I don’t think I would watch it again. Great performances, but the movie dragged a little bit in the middle. This is a good choice however as Clooney was fascinating to watch.
Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood – Daniel Day-Lewis is a phenomenal actor. That’s a given. I’m iffy on this movie, however. I don’t normally like the subtext laden movies that feature a metaphor of our own world so we can learn about the mistakes we are making. I don’t need a millionaire director to tell me that oil corporations are bad and the quest for money is evil. I get that. I will, however, probably see this movie on DVD just to see Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of the main character.
Johnny Depp – Sweeney Todd – Haven’t seen this, but I really want to. Depp follows up his Oscar nominated character Jack Sparrow with another Oscar nominated character. My wife’s aunt and grandmother saw this movie recently and were less than impressed. However, I’m going to assume that they are not the target audience. I think it looks good, and Depp is probably his usual awesome self.
Tommy Lee Jones – In The Valley of Elah – Wha-huh?! I’ve never heard of this movie. A quick check of Yahoo! Movies tells me it was released last September and also stars Charlize Theron…really? Holy crap, where was I?
Viggo Mortensen – Eastern Promises – Saw this and didn’t really like it. Viggo is good, he is completely into his character and the twist at the end is shocking, but the movie is just too dark and somewhat hard to watch. Not one of my favorites, but Viggo, I think, deserves this nom.

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The Movie Board: Worst Movies of 2007

Posted in Academy Awards, humor, Movie Board, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , on January 15, 2008 by Paxton

Movie Board

Allright, last week I gave you my 5 favorite movies of 2007. Now it’s time to unleash upon your delicate sensibilities the 5 worst movies I saw in 2007. Be warned, these movies are bad. Some of them may be bad enough that I’ll recommend watching them, but only for the bold. Do you have the stones to sit through 2 hours of crap? We’ll see.

Here they are in no particular order:

Kickin it Old Skool
Kicking it Old Skool– You’ll find that most movies on this list are here because they had a ton of potential, but completely squandered it. This movie has a funny premise; Jamie Kennedy is an elementary school break dancing king in the early ’80s. During a particularly dangerous move, he falls and is put in a coma for 20 years. When he wakes up he has to adjust to the fact that all his friends have grown up and break dancing is no longer cool. Classic fish-out-of-water premise using the ’80s and break dancing. I love it. Except the movie is terrible. Almost unwatchable. The best part of the movie is about 5-10 min in. Jamie Kennedy’s doctor is played by Alan Ruck (Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Ruck’s character in this movie is named Doctor Frye and he even mentions paying off his father’s Ferrari. Steph and I about died. Great stunt cameo, this movie is gonna rock, right? Wrong. DEAD wrong. STAY AWAY.

Shoot 'em Up
Shoot ’em Up– This looked so good in the trailer. Clive Owen is a mysterious “nanny” that gets caught up helping a woman and a baby escape hired killers. It looked like a cross between Pulp Fiction and Lucky Number Slevin; lots of action and funny dialogue. Well, this movie is weird. Monica Belucci plays a prostitute who lets grown men breast feed from her. Paul Giamatti plays a hitman with an overbearing wife. The dialogue is ridiculous. I had serious issues staying “in the movie” if you get what I’m saying. Just weird, with a few good action scenes. This is here mostly because it should have been much, MUCH better.

Knocked Up
Knocked Up– Oh Seth Rogan, you magnificent bastard. What happened here? The cast for this movie is pretty much part and parcel from the very funny TV show Underclassmen (if you remember the 1 season it ran back in the early ’90s). Seth Rogan is on a roll lately and the premise seemed amusing. However, Seth and his friends in this movie are lame. Seth’s character is even somewhat of an A-hole. Katherine Heigl’s character is a little witchy (with a ‘b’). I could not laugh at this movie because the whole thing is so tragically sad. Paul Rudd saved the 5 minutes of the movie he appeared in. Other than that, I say go see Superbad instead. I really wanted to like this one, too.

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The Movie Board: My Favorite Movies of 2007

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , on January 10, 2008 by Paxton

Movie Board

Well, 2007 is over and the Oscar nominees are being decided as we speak (the 2008 Oscars are supposed to air on February 24). When the nominees are finally announced, I’ll be sure to let you know and I might even give a little review of how the Oscar committee did like I did for last year’s Oscars nominations. Did I get to see everything I wanted to see this year? No. Of course not. My wife and I love movies and there are several movies we missed this year. However, we did see a lot of movies in 2007.

In Dec 2006, I decided to keep track of all the movies released in 2007 that I got to see. Whether it was in the theater or on DVD. I started this because I would read all of these “Best Movies of the Year” articles and wanted to write my own. However, by the end of the year, I’d forgotten all the movies I’d seen except for a select few. So, I decided to keep a running record. I set up a white board in my cubicle and wrote down every movie I saw throughout the year. I called it “The Movie Board”. People would come over and check it out to see if I’d add any new ones over the weekend. It was fairly popular. Well, now that the year is over, let’s take a look at the final tally. Remember, these are only the movies released in the 2007 calendar year. My wife and I saw many more movies, these are just movies released within the current year.

2007 Movie Board

There it is above, The Movie Board (click the picture for a bigger view). According to its all knowing whiteness, I saw 57 movies last year that were released in 2007. Well, the board actually says 58, but I mistakenly put Knocked Up twice. And, well, crap, now that I look at it, the first two movies, Blood Diamond and The Good Sheperd, were released in December 2006, so that reduces the list to 55. That’s about 4.58 movies a month. Just over 1 a week. Not bad. That doesn’t include the older movies Steph and I rented and/or own that we watched.

So now it’s time to peruse this list and see what my top 5 favorite movies are for 2007. Notice I’m not saying these are the 5 best movies of 2007. “Best” is subjective. I’m not telling you one movie is better than another for whatever reason. Sure, I could wax philosophic about my favorite movie saying it’s the most important movie of the year. I could talk about how deep and profound the script is, how it tackles many issues on several different levels. I could discuss how lush and royal the colors and scenery are. I may even delve into the hearty tone, smart characterization and sweeping scope using flowery words that mean little but sound like I know what I’m talking about. The truth, I really have no idea what I’m talking about. You know it and I know it. The following five movies are the ones that entertained me the most. Period. I’m letting you know so that you may enjoy them too. Shall we begin?

Here they are in no particular order:

3:10 to Yuma
3:10 to Yuma– What a really good movie. Russell Crowe is a captured outlaw and Christian Bale is a poor rancher who is somewhat railroaded into helping escort Crowe’s character to the departing prison train of the title. Wonderful performances by Crowe and Bale as well as strong appearances by Peter Fonda and Ben Foster. Check this one out, seriously.

Stardust
Stardust– I wanted to see this in the theater because it looked fun, but I was surprised at how good overall it was. It’s a wild and crazy fantasy movie with many characters and a plot that is really hard to describe. I’ll try: A guy is in love with a girl who doesn’t love him. He promises to fetch her a fallen star if she would love him back. He goes to find the fallen star and his adventures in trying to get the star back to the girl is the main adventure. Such fun adventures with a lot of magic, witches, pirates, sword fights and danger. I highly recommend this. How old is Michelle Pfeiffer, by the way? She is still unbelievably beautiful in this movie (quick trip to IMDB tells me she’s 50 years old…WOW). See it.

Bourne Ultimatum
Bourne Ultimatum– This end to the first trilogy (hopefully there will be more) is a fitting one. Bourne returns to put a stop to the government’s dogged pursuit of him and what he knows. Damon was born (pun intended) to play this role. Exotic locales, unbelievable action sequences and smart dialogue make this one as good as the first Bourne movie.

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Enough Academy Awards Trivia to Choke a Donkey

Posted in Academy Awards, movies, Oscars with tags , , , , on February 21, 2007 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

The time is nigh, my friends, the Academy Awards are here. Well, almost here. They’ll officially be here on Sunday at 8pm EST. I. Can’t. Wait. The wife and I, being rabid, movie whores, are throwing a huge (read “small”) shindig to celebrate the occasion. No expense will be spared. Our guests will drink out of the finest gold color paper cups and eat off the most delicate black and gold paper plates that Wal-Mart can provide. We’ll dine on the most succulent tiny quiches and taquitos a microwave oven can cook. Extravagant doesn’t even begin to describe it. Our guests will feel like Gary Coleman at the Soul Train Awards. ROYALTY.

At the party, we pass out ballots and you have to choose who you think is going to win each category. Points are weighted towards the major Awards like Best Picture and Best Actor. It makes things fun when you start wagering on categories. Before we started the ballots, we’d be falling asleep by the time Best Documentary Short was presented. Now, the group is arguing whether No Time For Nuts or The Little Matchgirl is gonna win Best Short Film (Animated). And NONE of us have seen either one. AWESOME.

Anywho, while surfing through some move websites preparing for this weekend’s festivities, I came across a treasure trove of Oscar trivia that I thought was pretty cool. Read on, sir, for some unbelievable, face rockin’ tidbits about the Academy Awards and those who win them.

# The first Academy Awards ceremony was in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and was hosted by Douglas Fairbanks and William deMille. Tickets cost $5 and the attendance was 270 people.
# In the beginning, the winners list was sold to the newspapers prior to the ceremony for publication. In 1940, guests could buy the 8pm LA Times edition and read who won each award. This lead to the sealed envelopes system in 1941.
# NBC first televised the ceremony in 1953 (25th Academy Awards)
# Longest Award Ceremony was the 2001 Academy Awards hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. It lasted 4 hours and 16 minutes but, thanks to Whoopi, felt like 36 hours.
Oscars 2004# Walt Disney holds the record for having the most Academy Awards: 22 won, and 4 honorary.
# Jessica Tandy at age 80 is the oldest person to ever win (for Driving Miss Daisy) an Academy Award.
# Tatum O’Neal at age 10 is the youngest person to ever win (for Paper Moon) an Academy Award.
# Katharine Hepburn is the only person to win more than 3 major Awards (four times for Leading Actress) (1933 Morning Glory, 1967 Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, 1968 The Lion in Winter and in 1981 On Golden Pond .)
# James Dean is the only actor to receive a nomination after death. Dean was killed in a traffic accident in 1955, but was nominated in 1956 for East of Eden and 1957 for Giant.
# Only three movies have swept the top 5 awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay): It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs.
# Only three movies have been nominated for the top 5 awards and missed by one win: American Beauty (didn’t win Best Actress), Annie Hall (didn’t win Best Actor), Gone With the Wind (didn’t win Best Actor)
# Only three Best Picture winners have achieved a ‘clean sweep’ at the Oscars, winning every award for which they were nominated: Gigi (nine nominations and awards), The Last Emperor (nine), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (eleven).
# John Cazale, the man who played Fredo Corleone, holds the distinction of being the only actor whose every film was nominated for best picture (The Godfather, The Conversation, Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter). After his death, Cazale appeared in archive footage in Godfather Part III, which was also nominated for Best Picture. Fredo no longer brings shame to the family.
Oscar Statue
# The film with the most nominations without a best picture nomination: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They with 9 nominations.
# Actress Bess Flowers has appeared in the most Best Picture winners: 5. Number I actually saw: 1.

Hope you enjoyed the trivia. Have a good week and weekend everyone and we’ll talk on the other side.

Peace.

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Oscars Wild: Oscar nominations for 2006

Posted in Academy Awards, humor, movies, Oscars with tags , , , , on January 25, 2007 by Paxton

Oscars Wild!

Well, it’s mid-January and everyone should be girding their loins for two of my favorite beginning-of-the-year events. First is the SuperBowl on Feb 4. My boy Peyton Manning takes on the phenomenal defense of the Chicago Bears. Should be a good matchup. After the SuperBowl is the Academy Awards.

Being movie buffs, the wife and I love the Oscars. For several years we threw Oscars parties and everyone would contribute 5 bucks to the betting pool. We printed out ballots and had everyone select who they thought the winners were going to be and the one with the most points wins the whole she-bang. As a tie breaker you had to pick the running time of the show without going over. It’s a lot of fun and makes categories like Best Foreign Language Film or Documentary Feature a little more exciting. We didn’t throw the party last year but we are thinking about doing it this year.

Well, the Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday. As usual, there are some oversights and a few, “They nominated wha?!”. Since I obviously know better than the Academy, I thought I’d take a stroll through some of the academy’s decisions this year. You may disagree with many or all of my comments, but these are only my opinions. We may very well have wildly differing tastes in movies. I just ask that you take this list in jest. Moving on to some nominees…..


Best Leading Actor:
Leonardo DiCaprio – Blood Diamond – This is nice, but I would have put his performance in The Departed here instead. He’s good in Blood Diamond, but better in The Departed.
Ryan Gosling – Half Nelson – The dude from Notebook was in another movie? Who knew?
Peter O’Toole – Venus – This is a fabulous choice by the Academy, as O’Toole is a fine actor. It’s too bad I’ve never even HEARD of the movie Venus. Is it about the planet, or the goddess of love? And why should I care?
Will Smith – Pursuit of Happyness – Does it bother anyone else that they misspelled Happiness in the movie title? Anyone?
Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland – What’s with the wierd movie titles? Forest plays Idi Amin who, last I checked, was black and not from Scotland.

Best Leading Actress:
Penelope Cruz – Volver – Um. Okay. Did I go to bed and wake up in Spain? WTF?! Yahoo Movies says it’s a generational story of three women set in Spain. It might as well have said ‘Don’t Watch Me, I Suck’.
Judi Dench – Notes on a Scandal – I think Judi Dench puts in all of her contracts that she will be nominated for her performance. That’s just how she rolls.
Helen Mirren – The Queen – Excellent choice. Saw this last weekend. Phenomenal performance.
Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada – The Devil Wears Prada is now an oscar nominated movie? I think Meryl Streep might also be on the must-nominate list. She could star in the auto-biography of Carrot-Top, playing Carrot-Top, and still be nominated.
Kate Winslet – Little Children – I love Kate Winslet. She’s gorgeous and a wonderful actress. However, despite being in roughly 20 movies since Titanic in 1997, off the top of my head I can remember only 2. Of those 2 I can remember, I’ve seen only 1. This isn’t either one of those.

Best Picture:
Babel – Even the trailers for this look bad. The plot description on Internet Movie Database begins ‘A poor Morrocan family acquires a rifle to protect their goats…’ Sounds like a winner, but I’ll be in Theater 2 watching Pirates of the Caribbean 3.
The Departed – This is what I’m talkin’ bout, Academy. More like this, please.
Letters from Iwo Jima – I can understand why this made it. I haven’t seen it, but I don’t like war movies, or war veteran movies, so I have no interest. You could also substitute United 93 or World Trade Center here. Same thing.
Little Miss Sunshine – I’m speechless that this little gem of a movie made it to Best Picture. Wonderful cast, funny dialogue, crazy situations. Something the Academy should recognize more. Nicely done.
The Queen – Another wonderfully acted movie. I’m happy that Mirren is recognized above, but I’m sad Michael Sheen who plays Tony Blair is not also recognized (as Supporting Actor, not Best Actress). He is just as good as Mirren.

Best Director:

Babel – Goat protecting gets a best director. Really?
The Departed – Scorsese. Represent, yo!
Letters from Iwo Jima – Sentimental. Patriotic. Yada yada.
The Queen – Good choice.
United 93 – Wha? So you are saying Little Miss Sunshine is a better movie but United 93 has a better director? Whatever, dude.

Some quick shots on other categories:

Mark Wahlberg in The Departed for Supporting Actor? Not that he was bad, but his character disappears halfway through the movie. A better choice would have been Jack Nicholson in The Departed. He was awesome (and I don’t really even like him). I’m a little sad that no other actor in The Departed is recognized for their performance. They were all spot on.

The movie An Inconvenient Truth got a nod for Best Original Song? It’s a documentary. About the weather. I guess Dreamgirls didn’t have a fourth song to nominate.

Borat got a nom for Best Adapted Screenplay? ADAPTED? From what? Is there a Borat novel out there I’m unaware of? Or a Broadway play, maybe?

I’m loving that American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson has a nomination for Best Supporting Actress and Beyonce “You Must Not Know ’bout Me” Knowles got nothing.

As usual the Academy nominated a bunch of stuff most of America will never get to see, so it keeps things interesting. Bottom line, like what you like, not what the Academy tells you to like. If Dreamgirls is your Best Picture, then so be it. If Borat was your Best Picture, then fine. No one can tell you what a better movie is. It’s all subjective.

Regardless, this year should be a good broadcast. Check it out on February 25, 2007 at 8pm EST.

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