The ONLY Oscar Blogger, who lives in walking distance to the Kodak Theater!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Miley Cyrus "Mania"

I still can't over the fact that this Miley Cyrus 3-D is one of the biggest pre-sales in history. Yeah, it's right there with actual movies. It's the eight best pre-sale ever. In its company is franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings to name a few. This Best of Both Worlds tour is a joke. She apparently puts a wig on to become Hannah Montana. It's like a super hero. Actually not really.

My question for Miley Cyrus would be, "Are you happy doing what you're doing? Being a slave for Disney?" How soon will it be before she wants out like Hilary Duff did with Lizzie McGuire?

Think about it like this. Miley Cyrus needs to escape and branch out before she is forever Hannah Montana. Yeah, being a tweener idol is "fun", but it doesn't last forever. Then, you're screwed because your career is over before you're 20.

Just remember Miley, it's better to be around for many years and working than being at the top for a very short period of time. People will forget you just like they forgot your Dad and his achy breaky heart.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It Will Be a "Super" Tuesday

With John Edwards out of the running, I felt like I needed to post another political post. Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton? That's the question of the year for Democrats. Who has a better shot at winning? I just got off the phone with someone from Obama headquarters and they told me their concern that Hilary will allow the Republicans another four years in the White House. I couldn't agree more. Many Democrats don't like her (the plain truth) and Republicans hate her.

Obama has a stronger ability to cross over and reach to Republicans. Let's face it, to win a political office you have to be likable (and frankly, Hilary is very unlikable). Policies don't matter as much due to candidates being very similar (sad, but true).

So, I want to remind everyone to VOTE on Tuesday if your state is involved in the Super Tuesday primary. I will be posting more about this shortly after the primary.

P.S. The worst thing anyone can do regardless of your support or political affiliation is to not vote. It's a right and you should exercise it.

Super Bowl XLII Preview Coming...

I will be doing a Super Bowl preview on Saturday. As an exercise in blog reader participation, I'm trying to get people to give me their predictions on the big game. You can email me (preferred) or post a comment on this post. Here is all I want.

Winner:
Score:
Super Bowl MVP:
Why Pats or Giants Will Win: (This can be a couple words or a couple paragraphs.)

Thanks in advance!

Second Podcast Today!

Man, I'm on fire. I'm like a fire breathing dragon. Anyway, did another podcast with special guest, Kyle, from the blog Why I Will Never Be a Famous Writer. You can click HERE to listen to the podcast or click on the title above.

Also, just a quick reminder, you can sign up for the RSS feed on the podcast page. That will deliver the podcasts right to your iTunes.

Two of Us



I couldn't resist due to my recent conversation with Dicking Your Dragon.

New Podcast! Yippee!

Just finished a new and "exciting" podcast. You can click HERE or the title of the entry above (i.e. New Podcast! Yipee!).

Will have a more complete Oscar update in the coming days. Otherwise, I plan to shift some of my focus to this Sunday's Super Bowl. Go Pats!

Spaghetti Sauce and Sweet Peas on iTunes?!

One of the many reasons why my posting has been rather quiet the last two days was due to figuring out how to get my podcasts on iTunes. I finally figured it out late last night and am eagerly awaiting to get the podcasts available in the store. The idea is simply to get some more readers and continue to expand the "fanbase". We'll see if it works. A new podcast should be coming soon.

Once is Eligible

What's up this year with the Academy playing games with numerous categories and film's statuses. First, you had the foreign film fiasco. Then, you had Jonny Greenwood's score. Now, there is this game with Once and it's song "Falling Slowly" (frontrunner IMHO).

Apparently, everything has been cleared up and it is indeed eligible, but what's going on? I can't remember a year in recent memory with this much news and criticism due to the Academy and it's nominating process. Yeah, people get mad certain films don't get nominated, but that's technically out of control of the Academy. The members vote on that and the top five (four or three) get in.

I just find it a little frustrating that films such as Once have to deal with this.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Heath Ledger at 2005 SAG Awards



This video was from the SAG Awards two years ago. It's been posted on YouTube and Awards Daily. I felt like posting it here as well.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Atonement

I saw Atonement the other night (finally). I have been meaning to see it for the last two weeks, but I am poor and just haven't made the time to see it. Why I waited so long, I don't know. All I have to say is the film completely exceeded my expectations. And why this film has fallen off the award planet's map is beyond me.

Atonement is a powerful film that takes you on an emotional roller coaster for two hours. It affected me so much that I couldn't say anything for a couple minutes. Joe Wright had a great vision for this film. The editing was very effective with the use of time and flashbacks. There was also an amazing long shot on the beach during World War II that is one of the best I've seen.

As for the acting, it was top notch. I truly cared about Cecilia and Robbie. And, to find out their fates was shocking and powerful. I couldn't believe it. The three actor role of Briony was also very well casted. Especially, Saoirse Ronan in the beginning of the film and even Vanessa Redgrave's short appearance was great.

I simply thought this film was beautifully made. Ten years ago, you would have to think it would be sweeping the awards. Although, at the present moment the award scene has changed. Regardless that doesn't take away the fact that Atonement is an amazing film.

SAG Awards Live

I have a confession to make. I forgot that Time Warner offers both TNT and TNT-W, which means you can watch the East Coast feed even though you live on the other side of the country. Only missed one film award, so that's good.

Updated Winner List
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Best Supporting Actress: Ruby Dee, American Gangster
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Best Actress: Julie Christie, Away from Her
Best Ensemble: No Country for Old Men

5:40 p.m.: Okay, so I missed the first forty minutes. At least I'm here for the next hour and twenty minutes.

5:48 p.m: What are they saving the film awards until the very end. Only Javier Bardem has received his "actor".

6:11 p.m: Charles Durning has just been honored with the lifetime achievement award. Nice video tribute to him and short, but heartfelt speech. This show has to be running late. There's roughly 45 minutes and there is still a good amount of awards to give out.

6:19 p.m: Wish I had more stuff to write, but it's been a slow evening. Saving the movies until the end.

6:20 p.m: Mickey Rooney still kicking. 87 years young.

6:23 p.m: Okay, Mickey, stop rambling.

6:25 p.m: What's the deal with actors not showing up tonight?

6:26 p.m: In Memoriam...

6:36 p.m: Yay a movie award! Best Supporting Actress. Amy Ryan or Cate Blanchett?

6:38 p.m: Ruby Dee wins! I don't even know what to write. Huge shocker. This possibly makes Best Supporting Actress the toughest of the major awards to predict come Oscar time.

6:49 p.m: Best Actor is up next. Is there any way Daniel Day-Lewis loses?

6:51 p.m: Day-Lewis wins! He's like a juggernaut.

6:54 p.m: Best Actress is next. Looks like the awards will only go a little over two hours.

6:56 p.m: Julie Christie wins! Looking very fine tonight if I might add.

6:59 p.m: Tom Cruise comes out to introduce Best Ensemble.

7:00 p.m: No Country for Old Men wins. A bit of a surprise considering it isn't your typical ensemble piece. Just shows you how head over heals Hollywood is for this film.

7:03 p.m: Show actually ended on time. Amazing.

Final Thoughts:
Rather standard night, but did have a couple surprises. You have to start off with Ruby Dee. This makes the Best Supporting Actress award very difficult to project. Was Ruby Dee's win a hiccup? Is she really gaining steam? If you look at the other two favorites in that category you have Cate Blanchett and Amy Ryan. Cate won an Oscar three years ago. Amy is not very well known. Could the Academy possibly decide to go the career achievement route and give it to Ruby. I need more time to think about it, but that's a real possibility.

I have to mention how much of a class act Daniel Day-Lewis really is. His dedication of his award to Heath Ledger shows you why this man is so well liked. He has literally been affected by Ledger's death and he never even met him. When he won Best Actor he chose to compliment Ledger's past performances. If you missed it, he basically said how Ledger's final scene in Brokeback Mountain with the shirt is one of the greatest scenes he has ever seen. Part of me is disappointed I never got a chance to meet him back in November, but I was set on meeting Paul Thomas Anderson.

I also don't know why people continue to believe that the Best Ensemble award is a "Best Picture" award. It's not. No Country I wouldn't even call it an ensemble. Neither is a film like There Will Be Blood. Hairspray, American Gangster, and 3:10 to Yuma for example are ensemble films. Yet, I can almost guarantee that most SAG voters voted for No Country because they think it's the Best Picture.

With the DGA and SAG top prizes, you have to be living very dangerously to pick against No Country. It will probably win the PGA next weekend and the WGA the week after that. It's on a roll and I don't see it slowing down until the early morning of February 25th.

Poor Little Doggy


The picture above has not bee photoshopped. And, no the dog does not have some illness that makes it turn blue. It's a simpy a deranged way for a Giants fan to show his devotion to his team. He just painted his dog blue.

I can only imagine the reaction from PETA and the general public from this. A person should not paint an animal any color. It's probably not healthy for it and I'm sure the dog is a Patriots fan. Dogs might be as smart as humans, but do you think they are dumb enough to like the Giants? I don't think so.

DGA and ASC Reactions

Big last night with the DGA awards. Also, the ASC presented their cinematography prize last night, too. So, now what do we know? You have to be very daring to be going against the Coen brothers right now. The DGA is such a great predictor of the directing Oscar that it's difficult to think otherwise. I know recently their statistics aren't as impressive, but it's still a very good indicator. And, can Robert Elswit defeat the "mammoth" Roger Deakins? I think so.

DGA Awards

So, does this mean that Anderson and Schnabel have no shot at an upset? Anything is possible, though unlikely. If you look at the last two directors to win the DGA and lose the Oscar, they are Rob Marshall (Chicago) and Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Marshall lost the Oscar to Roman Polanski even though everyone thought he would lose to Martin Scorsese. Lee lost to Steven Soderbergh (double nominee that year for Erin Brockovich and Traffic).

My feeling is that the last two times, there was a feeling of doubt. This year you feel confident that the Coens have enough support throughout the Academy to win. No Country has eight nominations and currently the frontrunner.

Sean Penn chose to no show the DGA Awards last night and I found that somewhat disappointing. Penn has been no to stick it to the award's shows, but I thought that was somewhat classless. His excuse? He started filming a movie. Right...

An interesting point was made after the DGA awards that I wanted to quickly write about. Did Paramount Vantage drop the ball and not get There Will Be Blood out to its members? It's possible, but is that the reason why Paul Thomas Anderson failed to win? No. I do believe P.T. will have his moment in the sun down the road. I just don't think it will be this year. As good as Blood is, it's simply difficult to believe that he will pull off the upset at the Oscars. Blood didn't connect to voters as easy as No Country did.

ASC Awards

Robert Elswit beat double nominee Roger Deakins. Is this a sign of things to come? I think so. Personally, I have admired Elswit's work for years and to finally get the recognition is rightfully deserved. His partnership with Anderson is in top form with Blood. Deakins had arguably the better year with two amazing films of his own, but what one do you choose? Personally, I liked Jesse James' cinematography better, but No Country is the better known film. That's a dilemma for voters. The last person to get a double Oscar nomination in cinematography was Robert Surtees in 1971 for The Last Picture Show and Summer of '42. And yes, he lost.

Final Thoughts:
I personally am not a big fan of double nominations in a single category. In acting, it's not allowed (though Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor double noms are) and I think it should be that way for any category. Yeah, some people have great years, but it can be a recipe for disaster. I'm not sure if he was the last person to hold the honor, but Steven Soderbergh got a double nomination for directing back in 2000. The reason he won was the category was weak and he clearly had a superior work (Traffic over Erin Brockovich). This made it easy for voters to know what film to vote for. Unless Deakins declares his preference, he could leave Oscar night empty handed.

Also, why are voting members of the guilds and/or Academy so dependent on Oscar screeners? This bothers me to no end. Go out to the theater! I'm positive that most members can afford a night out to the movies. I'm not saying they have to go out to see every movie, but I do find it frustrating that they don't see many movies unless they have the screener in their hand. My point is that the award chances of any movie (i.e. There Will Be Blood) should not be affected by if screeners are sent out to people. End rant.

SAG Predictions

Here are my predictions for tonight's SAG awards. I won't be blogging live for the simple reason that the awards are not shown live on the west coast and by the time it airs on TNT everyone will already know the winners. Why they just don't air it live is beyond me.

Anyway, here are my picks:

Best Ensemble: Hairspray
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Best Actress: Julie Christie, Away from Her
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Stunts - Film: The Bourne Ultimatum

Saturday, January 26, 2008

DGA Awards Tonight

Tonight, the guild awards officially begin with the DGA. This could be a key night as the DGA has correctly guessed the Best Director Oscar 8 times out of the last ten years. The last four years have matched. And, seven times out of the last ten years it has awarded it to the director of the film that would later win Best Picture.

So, the question becomes who will win tonight? It's a crowded field. I could actually see four of the nominees winning. Tony Gilroy I think has the biggest outside shot due to the nature of his film. It's not mind blowing on a grand scale. Michael Clayton still does not impress me in that way. I look at it as a writer's piece and I believe the DGA will follow suit.

Julian Schnabel won the Golden Globe, but is that enough for him to win the DGA? I don't think so. While his direction is the highly acclaimed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is great, I don't see him competing with the other three guys in the category. It's a stacked crowd and it's going to be hard from separating from them.

Sean Penn might be the most interesting nominee of the bunch. He's an actor turned director. People love that. The DGA has awarded actors turned directors in the past from Ron Howard to Clint Eastwood to Kevin Costner. Could Sean Penn join the bunch? It's possible. The odd part to me is that Penn was not even nominated for an Oscar. If he were to win the DGA award. He would join a very short list of directors who won the DGA, but failed to receive an Oscar nom. The last to do it? Ron Howard in 1995. Before that? Steven Spielberg in 1985. Before that? Never (according to my research). I've come to realize that you can't base your award predictions solely on history, but that is an amazing stat. One thing I can base my prediction on is that Penn would have to beat the Coen Brothers or P.T. Anderson. Enough said.

People say it's the Joel & Ethan Coen's year. Maybe it is. Their direction is superb and the way tension is built in No Country is top notch. They have won many critic precursors. Tonight is the big test. To me, this is the biggest guild for Best Picture forecast. A win and you have to like the Coens going into Oscar night. A loss and many questions will be asked going into Oscar night.

The biggest competition to the Coen Brothers this year I really believe is Paul Thomas Anderson. His latest film, There Will Be Blood, is an epic on a grand scale. That's something that directors like. It's his statement to the world that he is one of the best filmmakers alive today. I've had this odd feeling in my stomach that he is going to win tonight and the whole race is going to shift. I could be completely wrong, but if I'm right remember you read it here first. I really do believe Blood is peaking and it's peaking at the right time (unlike Atonement which peaked in November).

Once I find out the winner tonight, I'll post some reaction. Sadly, the DGA awards is not televised, so I have to rely on the internet. Tomorrow is the SAG awards and that is televised. I'll have some predictions for that tomorrow.

Prediction: Joel & Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Spoiler: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

Friday, January 25, 2008

I Am The Eggman



It didn't click for me the other day that this short film was actually about my idol, John Lennon. I'm not really sure why, considering that it plays on the title of one of Lennon's more famous songs. Anyway, I was curious if anyone has seen this short? If so, is it any good? Yeah, I know it got an Oscar nomination, but how well was it done?

Long story short, I actually am familiar with this interview and I have seen interview footage of Jerry Levitan talking about his famous encounter with Lennon. It's briefly discussed in a documentary called John & Yoko's Year of Peace(I think or maybe something else). It was on VH1 a couple times around Lennon's birthday (October 9th). It's a good documentary that looks at Lennon's year of bed ins and peace work (i.e. WAR IS OVER billboards and a peace festival in Toronto that never came about).

Anyway, I like the concept of illustration over the interview. I'd be curious how well it was done. If anyone has any info, please let me know.

Ringo Starr Live at House of Blues on Sunset

Ringo Starr played a show earlier today at the House of Blues on Sunset. As I previously reported, I was going to attend. And, as I write this today, I did attend. As I did with McCartney at Amoeba, I have blogged the day. Below is my thoughts. Enjoy!

9:55 a.m.: I have finally arrived in line. I was "here" earlier, but I couldn't find a place to park. The valet was not open yet and a couple lots on Sunset were closed. I was forced to park two blocks down on Alta Loma (I think). The line is actually small. I'm probably like the 20th person here. Maybe, I'll get a good spot?

10:03 a.m.: There's a much different feeling in the air today than McCartney. It's very rainy, wet (obviously), and cold. I couldn't find an umbrella anywhere (Lady at Ralph's laughed at me), but I did remember about an old raincoat I owned. So, I'm wearing that. I'm currently standing next to two sisters, Marilyn and Renee. One is probably 30 or so, the other has to be close to 50. Just a guess...

10:24 a.m.: Two words: very unpleasant.

10:39 a.m.: It's funny how there is this Beatle "community". Every show you see the same damn people. I don't recognize anyone, but I see people pass by and say hello to one another like they've been to these shows before. Not really sure if I want to be a part of it. Everyone knows everything The Beatles and is their biggest fan. Blah, blah, blah. I have an unwritten rule about these events. Don't brag about who you saw when and what collectibles you own. Most people don't give a shit (myself included).

11:15 a.m.: The doors were SUPPOSED to open at 11. Surprise, suprise. Still waiting... Please! It's fucking cold.

11:55 a.m.: The place is slowly filling up. Believe it or not, I'm in the second row. Damn close, but damn tight. I'm worried about my oxygen supply. Some woman just gave me a dirty look while I'm writing this. I wonder if she realizes that while she is staring at my "sexy" body that I'm writing about her. I think she just gave me a wink. Wait. It was for the guy next to me. Damn...

12:27 p.m.: A "fight" for a Beatles concert is about to erupt. It's about some guy to my left and how he cut everyone. His girlfriend is trying to defend him, but it's not looking good. Security has been called and people are yelling. I feel a bit overwhelmed by all this. Although, what is a concert without some verbal or physical altercation.

12:51 p.m.: Place is getting more energetic. You can feel it in the air. About 10 minutes away.

12:59 p.m.: A minute away (maybe). People are yelling, "Ringo!" Another person yell, "What's my name?" Everyone yells, "Ringo!"

1:00 p.m.: The screen that they were showing videos is slowly going up. Showtime! Ringo Starr and Dave Stewart have entered the stage. Ringo is wearing this designer t-shirt and he has a blazer that is threaded with either silver or diamonds. Looking very spiffy. Dave is wearing a shirt with the top couple buttons undone, tight leather pants, and three or four huge silver rings. I don't even know what I would call that outfit. Maybe unforgettable. Three chairs are on the stage. There is another man who looks like will be doing an interview. Apparently, this is not just a concert or "party" as RingoStarr.com likes to call it.

1:02 p.m.: This is reminding me a bit of VH1 Storytellers. You know when an artist talks to the crowd and plays music. I don't know if it's going to be start and stop, but Ringo is talking about the new album, Liverpool 8.

1:15 p.m.: The music begins. Ringo starts off with "Photograph". Dave Stewart is extremely flamboyant (P.S. Is he gay or bisexual? I don't care, but he just comes off that way.). He has a crazy, shiny silver guitar. Very flashy. The strap reads, "Guitar Lives". The crowd is very hot for the music and getting into it.

(Editor's Note: Due to the show and the tight quarters, I was unable to get out my notepad and write anything. After "Photograph", Ringo played "Liverpool 8", "Boys", and "With a Little Help From My Friends".)

1:30 p.m.: Ringo and the band thank everyone for coming and leave the stage. Show over? Shorter than I thought. I guessed about an hour. He played music for 15 minutes!? Everyone is confused. Chants of "Ringo" are all over the building. People want at least one more song. Not happening. PA announces that the show is over. Lights go up and equipment is being taken down.

Overall Thoughts
I admire the fact that Ringo tried to duplicate McCartney's success at Amoeba this past June, but sadly he failed miserably. First and foremost, I admire the man as a musician and everything he has done. He was part of the greatest band in the history of mankind. Still, after going to now my third concert (2003 and 2006) of his, I always leave with a bitter sweet taste in my mouth. I know he is NOT Paul McCartney. And, I'm sure if Lennon and Harrison (not counting the '74 tour) toured, he would probably NOT be them either. That doesn't discredit him as a performer, it is just you have to realize what you're going to get. Basically, lower your expectations.

Part of my issue with this show was that people waited in the cold rain for a couple hours. I'm guessing the first people were there around 8:30 or so. That means roughly three hours in not ideal weather. No one could even sit down on the ground since it was so wet. Then, we had to stand in the cramped House of Blues for over an hour. At the end of the day, I was exhausted and I'm 22 years old. So I ask, why not play a couple more songs? Play it for the fans who waited for hours to see you.

Also it's a Liverpool 8 release party, yet he plays only one song from the album? Come on, Ringo, you could do better than that. It's his best album in a while, so show it off. I didn't expect him to play a full concert, but everyone there seemed a little disappointed. A couple people very close to me also said, "Four songs?!" So, it's not like I was the only "disappointed" Beatle fan there today. I left today with the feeling that Ringo wants to continue to embrace his status as a Beatle, yet he fails deliver what comes along with it.

I hope he can continue to perform and make music for many years to come (he's 67). And, I don't want to listen to people comment how I'm not a Beatles fan. I am and honestly, I'll probably go see him in concert again if he tours. I enjoy the nostalgia trip and respect everything he has done. I just personally felt like he could have had a better show, party, or whatever it was called.

(Editor's Note 2: From my research Dave Stewart is apparently straight. I guess he just has a sense of style. All power to him. The guy has a lot of talent.)

Oscar Contest is Coming... (Hopefully)

For all my loyal readers, listeners, and fans, I've decided to hold the Inaugural Spaghetti Sauce and Sweet Peas Oscar Contest. I will be posting details in the coming weeks, but it's real simple. You try to guess as many Oscar categories (24 total) as possible. It will be a good way to get people "excited" about the blog. I also want to do it since I don't (personally) know anyone that has ever ran an Oscar pool and I think it would be fun.

The winner gets bragging rights and an imaginary high five from yours truly, Mikey Filmmaker.

Any ideas how to advertise and make this a real competition is encouraged. I'll probably be posting it on MySpace and Facebook. I'm excited and this will be a lot of fun (hopefully)!

It's Okay Boston, Brady is Going to be Fine

I really think the sports world is desperate for a Super Bowl story right now. They don't know what to do with themselves after the Packers blew the NFC Championship against the Giants. You had a potential "dream" match between two of the best quarterbacks of this generation, now you have a matchup that many people don't want to see. So, what happens? People don't have much to write about and try to find a story.

What's the story this time? Tom Brady has a cast on his foot. Folks, calm down. It's nothing serious. If anything, the Patriots are adding fuel to the fire by not having Brady practice or talk to the media. That's the Patriots for you. Did you know Tom Brady has been on the injury report every week for the last three years or so with a "right shoulder" injury? Brady did have a shoulder problem for a time, but they never took his name off the list. Bill Belichick does that.

Even if Brady is hurt, would the Patriots even hint that to the Giants? Not at all. Did Philip Rivers tell everyone before the AFC Championship that he had surgery before the game? No. In sports, you're supposed to keep quiet about that stuff. So, they'll never be a story about it. I wouldn't even be surprised if Brady is completely unavailable to the media until media day of the Super Bowl.

The point I'm trying to make is that every sports channel and/or site is trying to make a big deal about Tom Brady in a foot cast. I can almost guarantee you that every sports channel in Boston doesn't even care about it. They're probably just talking about how the Patriots are going to beat the Giants.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oscar Questions

Here are some questions I've been asking myself since the nominations have been announced.

Is Best Editing really the key award to solving the Best Picture mystery?

Will Roger Deakins double nomination in Best Cinematography hurt his chances? Will he split the vote?

How much does the recent Oscar win (2004's Best Supporting Actress) for Cate Blanchett affect her chances for another trophy?

Is there even a frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress?

Will the early release dates hurt Julie Christie and Marion Cotillard's chances?

Will age hurt either Ellen Page or Julie Christie?

Will acting in a foreign film hurt Marion Cotillard?

Is there any possible way for Daniel Day-Lewis or Javier Bardem to lose their respective races?

Can Atonement regain its status as a serious contender that it had a couple months ago?

How much support does Juno really have?

Can There Will Be Blood beat No Country for Old Men head to head?

New Oscar Podcast


I published a new podcast today. So, if you ever wondered what my voice sounded like, this is your golden opportunity to find out.

In this episode, I quickly looked at the eight major races at this year's Oscars. I will be doing more podcasts in near future discussing the races in more detail.

Click HERE to listen!

Oscar Update

Updated the site with some new thoughts and analysis on the major races. You can view it all at AWARDS INVASION!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Dark Knight Dilemma





There' all kind of talk about what Warner Bros. is going to do with the marketing with The Dark Knight. I see their concern, but are they really going to change the whole marketing campaign due to Heath Ledger's death? Would have Heath wanted it that way?

It somewhat bothers me when someone famous dies at a young age that people become so sensitive that they can't bear to look at a poster, picture, or whatever of that person in the wrong way. Although, I will say that I don't agree with say Defamer posting a video of the cops taking Heath Ledger's body out of his apartment in a body bag. That's disturbing, but a promotional picture with him on it is a different story.

Heath Ledger played The Joker. A bad guy that is crazy and cynical in the film. It won't change my opinion on him or the movie if you continue to use The Joker as a marketing campaign. It's not like they just came out with the poster right after his death to capitalize on it. It's been out for some time now. This is a film that had so much hype that it didn't need any help. People have been talking about it as soon as Batman Begins. My roommate came in his pants he was so excited when he saw the trailer.

Now, people are like, "That's offensive." Well, I guess then you won't be going to the movie unless they change the film into a fairy tale or they go back to making Batman corny like they did back in the mid 1990s.

Maybe, it's because I'm a filmmaker, first and foremost, and this stuff does not bother me. I just find it somewhat annoying that people begin to look too closely into everything. I'm sure that The Dark Knight is going to be amazing. Maybe the highest grossing film of 2008. If that is Heath Ledger's swan song, then he's going out on top. He deserves it regardless of how he died. Just don't tarnish his last role due to his untimely death. It's not fair to him.

Young Lost Legends: Movies Edition

The reason why I was originally trying to find Public Invasion's site was for this list. About seven years ago, my friend and I had one episode where we discussed people in movies and music who died before the age of 50.

With Heath Ledger's recent passing, I wanted to give you my top ten people associated with movies. This isn't a list you really want to be on (obviously). This list is also subjective as I'm ranking people in regards to what they meant to my life and career as a filmmaker. If you have anyone else you can think of that influenced you, feel free to write a comment.

10. Chris Farley, 33
I was actually recently watching a SNL tribute to him this past December with my parents for his ten year anniversary of his death. This guy was funny, plain and simple. I was laughing for almost the entire show. I always loved that interview with Paul McCartney when he was so "nervous" that it was this awkward humor that I found amazing. His transition into movies also was smooth and on its way up. Personal favorite for me is Tommy Boy. His comedy partner, David Spade, and him were a great duo. Farley in that film still cracks me up with his selling techniques. Or how he destroys a roll and gets the waitress to turn back on the grill. Sadly his weight and substance abuse problems go the best of him.

9. Sharon Tate, 26
If you want to look at someone in the 60s and say they were absolutely beautiful, Sharon Tate would have to be at the top of the list. I recently bought an old Playboy with a pictorial of her in it that Roman Polanski took before she became pregnant. Not to be "sick", but because I'm still amazed at what she could have done. Her acting career never really took off, but she was so stunning. She tragically died in the famous Manson murders while eight and a half months pregnant in one of the most horrific murders of the 20th century. One film I've never seen in its entirely, but looks very interesting is The Fearless Vampire Killers. It was directed by her husband. As for Roman, he was never the same after Sharon's death and rightfully so.

8. Heath Ledger, 28
He may move up this list years down the road, but this is where I rank him right now. I just think he was so talented and for him to die with such a small film resume is disappointing. I remember watching 10 Things I Hate About You all the time when I was younger. I actually almost bought it during this past Black Friday, but they had no more copies. He still will be forever remembered for his critically acclaimed performance in Brokeback Mountain. It's a film that would be remembered 50 years from now regardless of this tragedy, but now I know for a fact that it will be remembered. Him firmly grasping that shirt at the end of the film or standing in the foreground of the fireworks will be images that will be replayed for many years when someone talks about his short, but great career. The upcoming film, The Dark Knight, will only add to his legend.

7. Judy Garland, 47
A lot of people (or maybe just me) forget that Judy Garland died so young. For years growing up, I wanted to try to convince myself that I should not like The Wizard of Oz. I'm currently 22 and I can honestly tell you that I gave up. It's a great movie and her performance as Dorothy is one of the best. Her career might have never been the same after that, but she was also in A Star is Born. Still, she's always been Dorothy in my heart and I love her for that.

6. Bruce Lee, 32
Why do I love Bruce Lee? He was just simply the man. I watched Enter the Dragon once and I honestly don't know why I don't own that movie. The way he fought guys in some of those kung fu movies was awesome. Some people call it cheesy, but I would take Bruce Lee over say Jet Li or Jackie Chan any day of the week. How can you not love it when he gets those huge cuts on his chest and he's still taking out 10 men at once. I would have loved to see him kicking people's asses well into his 50s. Sadly, he died a mysterious death at 32.

5. Andy Kaufman, 35
Some people I think forget how funny and original Andy Kaufman really was. I got somewhat obsessed with him after Man on the Moon. He was on SNL for a little and also Taxi. I also loved how he was the inter-gender wrestling champion. Rather than wrestle men, he wrestled women. That's a great gimmick. Although, even a greater gimmick was Tony Clifton. Talk about fucking with the minds of his audience. That's how you know you're dealing with a genius. He was one of a kind.

4. River Phoenix, 23
River was one of those child actors that you just had a really good feeling that he would transition well into becoming an adult actor. He just had the talent. My favorite film of his was Stand by Me (one of my favorite films of the 80s). That's a great film with plenty of scenes I still remember vividly. You have the scene in the pond with the leeches. You have the scene with the gun in the back of the store. That film is always bitter sweet for me too since it is revealed that Phoenix's character dies while trying to break up a fight. Like his character in that movie, Phoenix died too young. Another good film with him is also Mosquito Coast with Harrison Ford. Considering that at the time of his death, he had a role as the Interviewer in Interview with a Vampire I can only imagine where his career would have gone. If you think his brother, Joaquin, is talented, River would be on another level.

3. John Belushi, 33
John Belushi may have been the funniest member of the original cast of SNL. Some of his skits were absolutely hilarious. One of my favorites is him impersonating Joe Cocker. You also have to love Samurai Futaba (one of my favorite skits in SNL, period). Even look at his short filmography. The Blues Brothers and Animal House are his two big films. Two classics. I was watching Animal House a couple weeks ago. I forgot how funny he was in that film. How can you forget him loading up his food tray with every food imaginable. What am I? A zit. Get it? Hell, I even like him in The Rutles as Ron Decline. Enough said. I can only imagine what he would have done in the 1980s. He was slated to play Bill Murray's character in Ghostbusters and I'm sure his career would have been long and funny.

2. Marilyn Monroe, 36
Simply stunning and talented. How can anyone not like Marilyn Monroe? From her modeling career to her film career. I can only imagine what it was like to live during her time and be a man. She's in my one my favorite movies of all time, Some Like It Hot. A film that I still think is extremely funny for being made all the way back in 1959. Add other films like The Seven Year Itch or Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It was a damn good career. Plus, she even had the high profile marriages to Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio. What really happened to her will probably never be known. That's part of her legend. With all that said, there will only be one Marilyn Monroe. She was that special.

1. James Dean, 24
What if? There's just something about James Dean that I just connect with. I know a lot of people put him at the top of these lists, but I just can't put anyone else here. Three films. Two Oscar nominations. Really, all three are amazing films with three amazing performances. For his time, there had to be no one cooler than James Dean. Another reason why I admire him so much is for the quote, "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." I love that quote. It's one of my favorite quotes and it's how I try to live my own life. I envisioned him to be somewhat like a Clint Eastwood (posture) and Marlon Brando (talent) combined. He was going to stick around for the long haul. What more can you really say about him?

Don't Know What to Say

I was surfing the internet today and I decided to google "Public Invasion" (my old public access tv show). Anyway, I quickly discovered that www.publicinvasion.com is a porno site. Considering I took a lot of pride in that show, I not really sure how I think about that. I never actually owned the domain www.publicinvasion.com, but still I felt like I did.

The site advertises on the website that it's "the land of sex in public places". Sounds kinda hot. I wonder if they'll give me a discounted rate since I had a public access with the same name?

Blogs and Oscars, Oh My!

Last night, I spent some time thinking about what I'm going to do for the next month on this blog. The Oscars are on February 24th and I wanted a plan. Here's the deal.

I'm going to be writing a lot about this year's races. I want to look at some more closely than others. I'm also going to be doing some lists like favorite Oscar moments and biggest Oscar upsets according to me. I'm probably only going to look at the last ten or five years, but I think it will be fun.

If any reader has a suggestion for a list they would like to see, I would be happy to do it. So here is your chance. Request something while you still have a shot.

Otherwise, prepare for an exciting month at Spaghetti Sauce and Sweet Peas.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Some More Good News

Believe it or not, I received my first ever screening sent to me today. The film? Vanaja. Haven't heard of it? Me either. Although, I'm so excited that I may even vote for it for the simple fact that the filmmakers sent me a screener.

For those who don't know, I'm a voting member of the Indie Spirit Awards. Yeah, I'm kind of a big deal. I know, I know...

Some Good News

What a day between the Oscar nominations and Heath Ledger's tragic passing. I've decided that I'm going to post about something other than those two topics.

I'm going to see Ringo Starr in concert on Friday! That's right, I got a ticket to the House of Blues - Sunset show at 1:00 p.m. This will be my third time seeing Ringo (2003 and 2006) in concert. Although, it will be my fourth time I've shared the same building with him (I technically stood ten feet away from him at the McCartney at Amoeba show, but he wasn't putting on a show).

I'll keep you updated and I'm sure I'll have more to write about this after the show.

Aftermath of Heath Ledger's Death


Anytime someone dies, many questions are being asked. I've been reading numerous different blog posts today and many people in the industry are curious to see what effect Ledger's death will have on both The Dark Knight and The Imaginirium of Doctor Parnassus.

For The Dark Knight, Jeff Wells wrote this earlier:
We all know what Warner Bros., the distributor of Chris Nolan's second Batman film, is going to say about this this tragic news. They'll say the same thing that Warner Bros. said about James Dean's death when he was killed in a car crash in September 1955 with two movies yet to open -- Rebel Without a Cause and Giant. They'll say "this is a very sad time for all of us, and not a time for discuss grosses."

But you know and I know that the WB hardballers are asking themselves right now, "Will this adversely impact the Dark Knight box-office or will it enhance it, or will it have no impact?" The latter, I would think.

Kris Tapley wrote:
The question that immidiately arises is, was the character set for the third installment in the series? Did he have a pivotal role to play in the final act of a trilogy long planned out, in broad strokes, by screenwriter David Goyer and director Christopher Nolan? Whatever the answer to that question might be, we're left, regardless, mourning the loss of a true acting talent, yes, but a husband and a father as well.

Kris also has linked photos of Heath Ledger being hung by a noose. Definitely disturbing to look at now. To view them you can click HERE.

As for The Imaginirium of Doctor Parnassus, it's a question of how far along in filming they are. They are either forced to recast the whole role or reduce his role through editing. It's shitty either way you look at it.

There's also an article in the New York Times published two months ago. Here is an excerpt:
“I stressed out a little too much,” Mr. Ledger said.

He tends to do that. He is here in London filming the latest episode of the “Batman”franchise, “The Dark Knight.” (Mr. Bale, as it happens, plays Batman; Mr. Ledger plays the Joker.) It is a physically and mentally draining role — his Joker is a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy” he said cheerfully — and, as often happens when he throws himself into a part, he is not sleeping much.

“Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night,” he said. “I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” One night he took an Ambien, which failed to work. He took a second one and fell into a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing.

Even as he spoke, Mr. Ledger was hard-pressed to keep still. He got up and poured more coffee. He stepped outside into the courtyard and smoked a cigarette. He shook his hair out from under its hood, put a rubber band around it, took out the rubber band, put on a hat, took off the hat, put the hood back up. He went outside and had another cigarette. Polite and charming, he nonetheless gave off the sense that the last thing he wanted to do was delve deep into himself for public consumption. “It can be a little distressing to have to overintellectualize yourself,” is how he put it, a little apologetically.

News just keeps flooding in. If I find or read anything else interesting, I'll post it.

Ledger's Legacy


As I wrote earlier and I'm sure most people have heard that Heath Ledger is dead. 28 years old and lost forever. This is disappointing on a multitude of levels. For one his age. For another, he had a two year old daughter with ex-fiance Michelle Williams. And, also for the simple fact that he was a talented actor. He was nominated for an Oscar back in 2005.

For me, Heath will be remembered for two roles right now (one more if Dark Knight lives up to the hype).

How can anyone who grew up in the late 1990s forget the surge of teen comedies? One of the best was 10 Things I Hate About You. It became Ledger's breakthrough and was a well done modern day twist of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Ledger had the tough task of taming Julia Stiles in that film and they had good chemistry. He played this tough, mysterious guy. Of course, there's that memorable scene when he sings to her in the stands "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You" while being chased by security. It's a scene that has been parodied since.

For the next couple years he made some films that were okay. The Patriot and Monster's Ball are a couple that come to mind. Although, it was his work in the 2005 film about two cowboys that showed his potential.

"Heath Ledger surprised me and many of his peers with his performance. By far, the best of his career and probably the best shot to defeat Hoffman." - California Chronicles, March 4, 2006

Well, he didn't beat Philip Seymour Hoffman, but I still think Heath's performance was the second best of 2005. I also still think that Brokeback Mountain was the best film of 2005 (it won over 20 Best Picture awards far surpassing any other film that year) and Ledger was leader of that charge. His portrayal of Ennis Del Mar was amazing. It was subtle and reserved. A man of few words and you could just feel the pain in his character. At the time, you had to question whether he could ever do better. Of course now we know that he won't.

I do still believe that 50 years from now, if you have to choose five films that defined the decade, Brokeback Mountain would be on that list. And if that's his legacy, then so be it. If I've learned anything about John Lennon, James Dean, or Elvis Presley, it's that in death you're 10 times more popular. It brings you to another level. It's not something that should be desired, but it's the truth. Heath Ledger will be forever 28.

How did he die? Well, there are reports of a possible suicide. Pills were found near his body. He did break up with his fiance, Michelle Williams. He might have possibly been depressed for some time about it and had enough. Although, I hope it's an accidental overdose. That probably won't be determined for a couple weeks.

I will say thing about Heath Ledger. He was one of those that had the rare gift of not only good looks, but also talent. At 28, he had a lot left in the tank. Who knows where he would have gone? There's a line in the last film I saw him in, I'm Not There, which I find interesting. I'll leave this post at that, but I'm sure I'll have more to say in the future.

Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg): I would like to know what is at the center of your world?
Robbie Clark (Ledger): Well, I'm 22, I guess I would say me.

Heath Ledger 1979-2008

Clip from I'm Not There

Heath Ledger Dead at 28

Heath Ledger has been found dead. He was 28. It's a possible drug overdose.

Don't really know what to write here.

I will get back to this story later tonight...

PTA is Here to Save Us



I don't know what's the deal with this picture, but I found it rather amusing. Look at all the shining light around P.T. Anderson. Maybe, I haven't been crazy all these years for worshipping him? He's the second coming.

Seriously, he's got to be very happy right now. It took a while for people to take his Oscar chances seriously for There Will Be Blood. I personally had him in my top five since my very first chart back in November, but enough about me.

Does he or his film have a shot to make some noise? It's tough to say right now, but I think so. The buzz continues to grow and grow, and that may take him over the top.

Check back later today or tomorrow for my first official chart with the actual Oscar nominees. The real race is beginning and I'm not going to lie when I say it's very exciting. Yippee!

Initial Oscar Nomination Reaction

Oscar nominations are out! I actually predicted 31/40 nominations in the major eight categories (picture, directing, writing, and acting). 23/30 in the big six (excluding screenplays). That's pretty damn good for me at least since this is the first year I've ever tried to predict the nominees.

I'll have more thoughts later in the day. I just wanted to post something quick. Here are some random thoughts.

- Atonement is alive. Still not really a factor in the Best Picture race, but it did receive some love from the Academy.
- Into The Wild, what happened? Sean Penn's film received only one nomination (Hal Holbrook). Many people thought this film was going to be a contender and I know some people really liked it (extremely high on some pundit's charts).
- There seems to be a feeling right now that people are mad that Juno is in the Best Picture race. I thought that was what everyone wanted? Or are people beginning to realize that it's just not on the same playing field as the other nominees. It's a great film, but will it really be remembered down the road as say, Blood?
- If the Oscars were a wrestling or even boxing ppv, I would love to see how they would promote the main event (Best Picture race). It does indeed look like it will come down to No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Both scored eight nominations. Well, Blood should have probably had nine (Greenwood's score), but we won't get into that.
- I'm still sticking to my bold prediction (look at my charts HERE) that Robert Elswit will beat Roger Deakins for Best Cinematography. Deakins might have done the "better" job, but he got nominated for two films. Yes, that is not always a disaster for everyone (Soderbergh won Best Director in 2000 with a double nomination), but both work is being applauded and how do you choose? It could be a recipe for disaster.
- There is an old saying that Best Editing wins Best Picture. If that is the case, then only Blood and No Country have a legit shot at the top prize. All the other Best Picture nominees did not receive editing nominations.
- One surprising nomination to me was Tommy Lee Jones for In the Valley of Elah. I've yet to see it, but I have heard good things. I guess it's surprising due to the fact that barely anyone took him seriously in this race.
- Cate Blanchett scored the double nomination, but what club will she join? The 0/2 club? The 1/2 club? Or the 2/2 club? I'm thinking 0/2. It's okay though. Julianne Moore is in that club, too.

I'll have more later. I'm off to relax for a little now that the nominations are announced.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Oscar Nomination Predictions

Well, here we are. A day before official nominations are announced. I've posted my thoughts on what I think will be nominated on my Awards Invasion site. Click HERE for my major award predictions.

I'm going to try to do another podcast in the next few days with my reactions. I'll also be posting my reaction to tomorrow's nominations. I'm sure they'll be a couple surprises.

Anyway, here is my Best Picture Chart:

Updated Oscar Best Picture 1/21
The Nominees:
1. (1) No Country for Old Men

2. (2) There Will Be Blood
3. (3) Michael Clayton
4. (4) Into the Wild
5. (7) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
On the Bubble:

6. (5) Juno

Looking for a Miracle:
7. (6) Atonement
8. (8) Sweeney Todd
9. (9) American Gangster
10. (10) 3:10 to Yuma
11. (11) Charlie Wilson’s War
12. (12) The Great Debaters

Please click HERE for my thoughts. I have written about the major races on my site and just don't feel like typing everything again.

Why Greenwood's Score Was Disqualified!

As I wrote earlier, Jonny Greenwood's score for There Will Be Blood has been disqualified for a possible nomination for an Academy Award tomorrow. Kris Tapley, of Variety, reported this today. You can read the whole article HERE.

Basically, the score was ineligible due to Rule 16 of the Academy's Special Rules for Music Awards. It excludes "scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music." He did use about 35 minutes of original material and about 46 minutes of pre-existing work.

Paramount Vantage was notified of the decision on January 19th, but the annoying part of the whole situation was why notify them so late? For example, Into the Wild (also ineligible) was notified far in advance, but Blood was notified last minute. This left no time to even possibly appeal.

For those who saw Blood, know that the score was amazing. I actually had it as my favorite to win the Oscar. I just thought it was that good of a score. Very disappointing for Greenwood and the film, but rules are rules. It's just too bad it was handled so poorly.

Also ruled eligible was Enchanted.

I will be posting my final nomination predictions later tonight.

Greenwood's Score is Ineligible!

What a bunch of bullshit from the Academy. News broke today that his score for There Will Be Blood will not be considered for a nomination. I'll write more on this later as I'm about to leave my apartment, but that pisses me off.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

17 Down, 2 To Go: AFC Championship Preview

Here we are again. Four times in the last five years if you can believe it. The AFC Championship is becoming second nature to the New England Patriots. And tomorrow, they set their sights on another goal: a trip to the Super Bowl.

As I stated last weekend, I can't believe their opponent is the Colts. I think Michael Felger of the Boston Herald put it best. Indy is a bunch of choking dogs. Bill Simmons thinks they pulled a "1986 Lakers" and copped out of the game. I won't lie that I would be much more nervous for tomorrow if it was the Colts. I just wanted to play them again. I don't like Peyton Manning and I wanted to watch the Pats knock him out of the playoffs. I thought we owed it to him after last year.

Last year's AFC Championship was a heartbreaker. For myself, it only comes next to the 2003 ALCS as heartbreaking defeats I've experienced (Born in May 1985, so I had no idea what was going on during Super Bowl XX and even worse the notorious '86 World Series.).

When I left Mass earlier this week, there was a feeling everywhere that there was no way the Pats are going to lose tomorrow's game. Granted I agree with them, but still I guarantee that most people thought the same thing about the Colts playing the Chargers. The big wild card in this game will be injuries. How healthy is Tomlinson, Rivers, and Gates? Even if they "play", it won't matter unless they can really "play". For example Gates played last weekend, but was mainly a decoy. That can work for a tight end, but will it be as effective for a running back or quarterback?

If Tomlinson starts off slow, Norv Turner should play Michael Turner much more. Turner is probably one of the best back ups in the league and there's a very good chance that he will be starting for someone else next year. Rivers is still overrated to me and Billy Volek doesn't scare anyone. If Rivers plays and is completely immobile than it could be a very easy day if the Patriot's pass rush is effective.

An interesting matchup for this game will probably be Randy Moss vs. Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie didn't even start in the week two game and has 10 interceptions this year. With Quentin Jammer on the opposite side, I will say that the Chargers have a very good secondary. Although, they have had some issues with covering slot receivers and that's where Wes Welker comes in. I actually wouldn't be surprised if Moss has another quiet game. I'm confident that Brady will throw to the open receiver and not get obsessed over forcing it to Moss.

Then, there's Brady and what can you really say about him without sounding like a homosexual? Last week's performance was amazing regardless of all the short passes. I've said it once and I'll say it again. I will never doubt a football team with Tom Brady on it. Add Belichick to the mix and there's no way in hell that the Patriots won't be playing in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona. This is their year and nothing is going to get in the way of 19-0.

Prediction: 38-21 Patriots

Armageddon?


Have we reached armageddon? Check out this LINK on ESPN. Major League Gaming?! Are you serious? Has this generation of Americans become so lazy that there is a professional gaming league. What would have own forefathers thought?


These guys really look like "role models"...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bobby Fischer Has Died



If you are still searching for Bobby Fischer, it's too late. Bobby Fischer, 64, has died.

I remember watching Searching for Bobby Fischer numerous times when I was younger. I actually took chess up as a hobby for many years (I even joined my high school team for a little). I wouldn't call myself great, but I could usually play a decent game. I had my fair share of checkmates.

Anyway, I felt I needed to post something quick about Fischer since he was the chess master. If you haven't seen the film, you should check it out. It has nothing to do with Fischer rather it's about a young chess prodigy who could become the next Fischer. It's not a bad film.

You Are My Brother



Do I need to even write anything? This was funny.

Conspiracy Theory?


I'm beginning to think there is a conspiracy theory on my life.

Girls don't like me.

Jobs won't hire me.

I might as well call up Richard Donner and offer to star in the sequel.

WGA Statement

From the WGA site:
Now that the DGA has reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP, the terms of the deal will be carefully analyzed and evaluated by the WGA, the WGA's Negotiating Committee, the WGAW Board of Directors, and the WGAE Council. We will work with the full membership of both Guilds to discuss our strategies for our own negotiations and contract goals and how they may be affected by such a deal.

For over a month, we have been urging the conglomerates to return to the table and bargain in good faith. They have chosen to negotiate with the DGA instead. Now that those negotiations are completed, the AMPTP must return to the process of bargaining with the WGA. We hope that the DGA's tentative agreement will be a step forward in our effort to negotiate an agreement that is in the best interests of all writers.

It seems from what I've been reading online since the deal broke that people aren't jumping up and down, but trying to stay optimistic. It would be "great" to get a deal done soon, but I also support being "smart" when it comes to agreeing to one. Things are getting very interesting.

The Monroe Doctrine

I found out last night the Monroe Doctrine was created in 1832. It was the tiebreaker question last night in trivia (We won!). Just figured I would let everyone know in case you need to know it for some reason in the near future.


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Thursday, January 17, 2008

DGA Official Announcement

The DGA's statement:
DGA AND AMPTP REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON TERMS OF NEW CONTRACT

Well, unless it gets voted down, it looks like it's a done deal. It's a three year deal. Some of the highlights of the deal pointed out by in the release:
Increases both wages and residual bases for each year of the contract.

Establishes DGA jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet.

Establishes new residuals formula for paid Internet downloads (electronic sell-through) that essentially doubles the rate currently paid by employers.

Establishes residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet.

Gil Cates, chair of the DGA negoitations committee said, "Two words describe this agreement - groundbreaking and substantial."

I'll have more on this as more information comes up. Is this the beginning of the end? A lot of people in Hollywood have to be smiling a little after today's news. At least I am.

Go check out the DGA site for the complete official announcement.


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DGA Deal Reached?!

According to Variety, the DGA has reached a tentative deal with the AMPTP. Not really sure what this means to the WGA, if anything? Still, for a deal to be reached by one of the guilds is a good sign that maybe the struggle between the writers and studios can be resolved.

Here is the news from Variety:
The DGA deal amps up the pressure from all sides on the leadership of the Writers Guild of America, which has been out on strike since Nov. 5. Its last negotiations with the AMPTP collapsed on Dec. 7 with the congloms demanding that the guild drop six of its proposals.

The town’s focus will immediately shift to whether the terms of the DGA deal will be acceptable to the WGA. A group of moderate writers have been pushing in recent days for the leaders not to reject the DGA deal out of hand.

Optimists believe that the DGA deal will be enough of a breakthrough on new-media questions to pave the way for a WGA pact.



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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cloverfield Spoilers




Apparently, Cloverfield was screened the other night and spoilers are beginning to come in. Part of me really wants to see this movie and another part doesn't really care. From what I'm hearing, you should see this movie in the theatre or it just won't be the same.

I actually watched a video on YouTube earlier today where a guy explains how the monster is Manhattan. Yes, the island. He actually even has six points to why it's the land coming alive. It's a nice effort and all, but it's totally false. If you want to see the video click HERE.

The monster is indeed a monster. Some spoilers can be found HERE. Enter at your own risk.


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New Poll

There's a new poll on the blog. I want to see what film most people think will most likely be left off the Best Picture lineup when nominations are announced this Tuesday. It's beginning to become a consensus that both Atonement and Sweeney Todd are out of the running. That leaves six films vying for five slots. I'm curious to hear what people think.


Check out Spaghetti Sauce and Sweet Peas

The Killing of John Lennon Review

I got a chance to see The Killing of John Lennon yesterday. It was being offered OnDemand through Comcast. The film is actually on very limited release through IFC, but I believe the only city showing it is New York City as of this post.

First off, this film is better than the very mediocre, Chapter 27. If you have to choose between both films on this dark subject, I would say this is the superior one. Still, it's a film that is nothing special. It's basically about Lennon's killer (I'm not even going to type his name, so look it up if you don't know him. I will refer to him simply as The Killer) leading up to the murder and the aftermath of his action.

The film uses a good amount of voice-over and he's basically the only person in the whole film that you even get to know. Jonas Ball, who plays The Killer, does a decent job being in I think every scene, but still it begins to lose you. Too much voiceover hurt his performance. I felt like he needed the voiceover to explain everything.

I thought the supporting job of some of the other characters was also weak and partially hurt Bell's performance. I can't believe I'm writing this, but the girl who played Jude was horrible (Lindsey Lohan played her in Chapter 27, has a much bigger role, and was better.) and gave a cardboard performance. I also was not very crazy about Paul (the photographer) in this film. I also preferred Judah Friedlander's performance from Chapter 27. I just thought both performances in this film were real weak points and annoying. It was either bad casting or poor direction, or maybe a little of both.

Also, for some reason, The Killer doesn't have his interaction with Sean and his nanny (Not really sure why since it happened and is important in my opinion) on the day he killed Lennon. How hard could it have been to film that? I also don't really like his interaction with Lennon when he gets the autograph. I preferred that in the other film, Chapter 27. Not that it really matters, but Lennon and Ono in this film don't look very much like Lennon and Ono circa 1980. If you can't find someone suitable to look like them, then don't shoot them so close. That's what they did in Chapter 27. It's a small detail, but takes away from the realism when I see a Japanese woman who looks nothing like Ono.

I also think this film was a little too long (close to two hours, but should have strived for 90 minutes) and to be honest, I don't really care too much what happens after the murder. There is a scene between The Killer and a shrink in the prison talking about the murder. Really a waste of time in my opinion. There's also a scene of The Killer being escorted to prison and the cop asks him, "Why did you do it?" Again, a waste of time. I'm sure these scenes happened, but how many times do you need to show that The Killer is just a crazy nobody.

The director, Andrew Piddington, chooses to use some experimental filmmaking techniques such as jump cuts and dream like sequences. I'm guessing he was trying to show inside the mind of The Killer and all its chaos. I think it works for this film. The Killer is crazy, so why not use that to mold the style of the film. Piddington also uses a fair amount of archival footage (pictures and videos) throughout the film. I'm not exactly sure how he managed to get the right to use pictures of Lennon, but he did it. I think that makes the film a little more legit. If I remember correctly Chapter 27 doesn't even use the real Double Fantasy album. The picture is of two actors, but this film even shows the real album (in a close-up).

The way the director chooses to shoot the murder is an interesting choice and much different than Chapter 27 (Very quickly shot and edited together). He goes the slow-motion route. The viewer literally sees the flesh being ripped apart from the bullets. You see Lennon shatter his recording tapes and stumble up the stairs. He falls like dead weight at the vestibule of the Dakota before being surrounded by a puddle of his own blood. His life quickly coming to an end on that cold December night.

It's not an extremely graphic scene, but it still gives you the chills a little. I think some people forget to realize that Lennon was shot at point blank range with a .38 caliber gun. It was a horrible way to die.

Towards the end of the film, there is a voiceover from The Killer that I did think worked well. To paraphrase, he says how Lennon had no father in his life. His mother died when he was 17. He was raised by his aunt. He had two sons (one who had very little relationship with him). Then, he was killed by him (The Killer). At 40 years old. This whole voiceover is being said over archival video of Lennon through the years. That's the saddest part of the film in my opinion. I know he's been dead for 27 years, but that is the moment when you realize that's all that's left of John Lennon. Fucking archives. It's bullshit.

The rest of the film shows an aftermath of the murder. The killer is arrested and pleads guilty. It ends saying that he has spent the rest of his life in a prison cell in Attica State Prison.

After watching both these films (Chapter 27 and The Killing of John Lennon), I didn't leave either one with any more answers than I already know. Maybe, I've read too much on John Lennon and his murder, so I've maxed out my knowledge. That's my big issue with both these films. Why glorify the subject if you aren't really going to contribute to it? Okay, so Lennon's killer was a psycho? Is that the message of the movies? Well, that's already common knowledge.

That's why if I really had to recommend either film I wouldn't. Not for the reason that I don't think they should make a film about John Lennon's murder, but both these films are mediocre and aren't worth your time. Believe me if people stopped talking about these films (i.e. Starting a boycott), then no one would ever waste their time. It's the word of mouth from people that is sparking interest and it really makes no sense.

Seriously, only watch this film if you are such a huge Lennon fan that you must see, read, listen, touch, or smell anything with his name on it. Otherwise, watch There Will Be Blood (FYC Best Picture 2007).

Note: If anyone has seen this and reads this post, I have a quick question. After The Killer shoots Lennon, does one of the doorman tell him to get out of here. I was watching this scene with my Mom and we both thought the doorman said it. That doesn't make any sense and I've never read anything about that.

Note 2: If you want another solid review on this film go check out Robert Rosen's blog, Chapter 27. He also wrote a really good book, Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon. I've read it and highly recommend it. I've also had a chance to have an email correspondence with him and he seems like a nice guy.


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Oscar Analysis Up

While waiting at the airport, I did manage to write up my first Oscar analysis. Take it for what it's worth since nominations aren't even announced yet. I just figured I would do a full chart for the fun of it to see how "inaccurate" I will be.

Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 22nd.

You can check it out HERE. Remember to check Awards Invasion for all the latest during the awards season.


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I'm Back... in California

For anyone who cares to know, I have arrived back in California. Believe it or not, it's been a month and a half (I flew out December 1st). I'll have more updates later today.


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Monday, January 14, 2008

Leaving

Well, I return to California tomorrow after spending the last month and a half in Massachusetts at home. First of all, damn did the time fly by. I think now that I'm getting older (22 yrs old), I'm realizing more and more that time goes by really quick.

I was actually supposed to go back tonight and as I write this I would probably be very close to landing. I declined to fly today due to bad weather (snowstorm in Boston) and postponed my flight by a day. So, I'm leaving tomorrow.

As with any trip back home, I never do everything I want. I usually sit in my room the night before and quietly reflect. Tonight, I spent the time reflecting on what the hell I'm going to do with my career. I have an interview with Sears (Yippee!)on Friday, so we'll see what happens there.

I'm still hoping for a quick settlement of the WGA strike, so I can pursue my true passion and career of filmmaking. Only time will tell and I'm not making excuses.

I'm also looking forward to seeing my friends, who I haven't seen since November/December. In contrast, it's always hard to say goodbye to the family again. I have no idea when I will be returning to Mass. It really depends on my employment, first and foremost.

It also still sounds a little weird to me, but I live in California now. And, tomorrow at 8:30 pst, I will be looking at palm trees again.


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There Will Be Milkshakes?



This video was posted on Hollywood Elsewhere earlier today and can also be found on YouTube. I'm sure P.T. is not thrilled with videos like this being made. From another angle, it's a good way to build general interest for this film.

I got nothing really else to say about it.


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Rock of Love is BACK!

If you've been reading this blog for some time, then you may know that I am a huge fan of Rock of Love with Bret Michaels. Last night, the show premiered season two and I have a feeling it's going to be another great season. I just envy how Bret is able to get like 20 girls to basically get on their knees and want to pleasure him in anyway possible (I knew I should have been in a band). Hell, last night a couple of them already showed them his tits rather than shake his hand. It's classic.

I wouldn't call it the best reality show, but I think it's a lot of fun. It's one of my personal favorites. Although, I think VH1 in general has some really good reality shows. I was also watching Scott Baio is 46... and Pregnant, which also premiered last night. I missed season one, but last night's show was hilarious.

My favorite part of last night's Rock of Love debut was that one of the girls got so wasted that she passed out and never even met Bret. Hence, she was one of the five girls eliminated. She makes it all the way to the show, then passes out. What an idiot!

I'll definitely be talking about this season throughout the season.


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Sex Advice from John Mayer

Forget all those sex advice columns, just open up the latest issue of Cosmo for advice from John Mayer?!

Cosmo: Has anything changed about the way you interact with women?

John Mayer: I can get more out of relationships with less fireworks. A lot of people like to start a fire to feel heat. They're like "Oh, makeup sex is the best sex!" Fuck you, no it's not. The best sex is the decision by two people to just blow each other's minds.

Not too sure what to make of that.


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Never Blog on iWeb

Word to the wise, never blog on iWeb. The blog site I set up keeps fucking up, so until further notice, I will be blogging on this site. Although, my other site (Spaghetti Sauce and Sweet Peas) will still be fully functioning and I encourage you, the reader, to continue to check it out.

I just want to be able to blog effectively and not have to deal with the same problems. The biggest of them all being the blog keeps screwing up the comments section of the site. And I know comments were made there, but were unfortunately lost.

I will continue to update you on the progress.

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Reaction to PGA Noms

PGA nominations were announced today. And surprise, surprise, no Atonement or Sweeney Todd (As much as I respect Tom O’Neil, the guy hasn’t posted a blog entry today after last night saying how he was right about Sweeney). Further making my point that the Globes probably don’t hold that much weight this year to the Oscars. Follow the guilds and you’ll be in much better shape.

Kris Tapley over at In Contention, has been doing a great job at compiling the list of the guild nominations for each film. (source: HERE)

8 guild mentions:

"No Country for Old Men" -- ACE, ADG, ASC, CAS, DGA, PGA, SAG (3), WGA



7 guild mentions:

"There Will Be Blood" -- ACE, ADG, ASC, DGA, PGA, SAG (1), WGA



6 guild mentions:

"Michael Clayton" -- ACE, ADG, DGA, PGA, SAG (3), WGA



5 guild mentions:

"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" -- ASC, ADG, DGA, PGA, WGA (also AMPAS makeup bake-off finalist)

"Into the Wild" -- ACE, CAS, DGA, SAG (4), WGA



4 guild mentions:

"Juno" -- ACE, PGA, SAG (1), WGA



3 guild mentions:

"300" -- ADG, CAS, VES (1) (also AMPAS makeup and visual effects bake-off finalist)

"The Bourne Ultimatum" -- ACE, ADG, CAS (also AMPAS visual effects bake-off finalst)

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" -- ADG, ACE, VES (6) (also AMPAS makeup and visual effects bake-off finalist)
"Ratatouille" -- ACE, ADG, VES (4)

"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" -- ACE, ADG, VES (1) (also AMPAS makeup bake-off finalist)



2 guild mentions:

"American Gangster" -- ADG, SAG (2)

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" -- ASC, SAG (1)

"Atonement" -- ADG, ASC

"Elizabeth The Golden Age" -- ADG, SAG (1)

"The Golden Compass" -- ADG, VES (1) (also AMPAS visual effects bake-off finalst)

"Hairspray" -- ACE, SAG (1)

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" -- ADG, VES (3) (also AMPAS makeup and visual effects bake-off finalist)

"Lars and the Real Girl" -- SAG (1), WGA

"Transformers" -- CAS, VES (5) (also AMPAS visual effects bake-off finalist)

"Zodiac" -- WGA, VES (2) (also nominated for USC Scripter award)



1 guild mention:

"3:10 to Yuma" -- SAG (1)

"Away from Her" -- SAG (1)

"Beowulf" -- VES (2)

"Blades of Glory" -- VES (1)

"Eastern Promises" -- SAG (1)

"Gone Baby Gone" -- SAG (1)

"Knocked Up" -- WGA

"I Am Legend" -- VES (5) (also AMPAS visual effects bake-off finalist)

"I'm Not There" -- SAG (1)

"The Kite Runner" -- ADG

"Live Free or Die Hard" -- VES (1)

"A Mighty Heart" -- SAG (1)

"The Savages" -- WGA

"Spider-Man 3" -- VES (3)

"La Vie en Rose" -- SAG (1) (also AMPAS makeup bake-off finalist)

"Shrek the Third" -- VES (2)

"Surf's Up" -- VES (4)

"The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep" -- VES (2)

"We Own the Night" -- VES (1)

Below is my reaction and analysis of the race.

PGA NOMINEES:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax)
Juno (Fox Searchlight)
Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.)
No Country for Old Men (Miramax/Paramount Vantage)
There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage/Miramax)

ANALYSIS:
The PGA lineup has gone 4/5 the last three years in regards to the Oscar best picture lineup. If this trend continues, then one of the above films will be left off. As I said yesterday, I think there’s probably a legit chance for eight films to be nominated for best picture. Another interesting point is that the PGA has not matched up with the Oscars since 2003 like the Golden Globes. They have been 3/7 this decade (Gldiator and Chicago, and Return of the King).

Last year the PGA went the Little Miss Sunshine route. Could it be that mean success for Juno? It’s possible, but I still like No Country. Last night was probably a hiccup for this film. I think we’ll start seeing the it as the frontrunner as the guild award winners are revealed.

The “steak eaters” as Harvey Weinstein likes to call them are coming.


Originally appeared at Spaghetti Sauce and Sweet Peas on 1/13/08.