Tag Archives: Hollywood

Oscar Party Food (2015)

This year we had our smallest Oscar party ever with just three partygoers in attendance. Actually, if you count the Barbie and Monster High dolls Greta plopped down in chairs near the TV there were actually seven. Either way, it was probably my favorite Oscar party ever.

We had Oscar nominee crafts for Greta, loads of fun Oscar nominee-themed candy (my favorite were the Nerds Rope for The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game and the Whoppers for all the historical innaccuracies in the Best Picture nominees!) and a big bowl of taco salad to support all of the Mexican and Latino nominees this year.

That said, I must admit that we both loathed Best Picture winner Birdman with a passion. Oy, talk qbout art with a capital “A”…so annoying. And that score, my God, it was such a struggle sitting through that crap. And we watched it at home too! I can't even fathom seeing Birdman in an actual theatre. Yikes…

The worst thing is that if what Birdman director Alejandro G. Iñárritu said about good luck charms actually working is true, I fear that our taco salad may have had a hand in bringing that lunatic three Oscars last night. Guess we should have followed our first instinct and gone with all kid-themed food for Boyhood. Oh well…there's always next year.

Oh, and by the way, Nerds Rope are ahmazing! So yummy! And they seemed to work a little magic last night for the nerd movies too, so, hooray for Nerds!

 

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Oscar Nominees 2015

OK, let’s just start with the biggest upset of the morning, no LEGO Movie Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature? What the hell?! To steal a line that has been tweeting around the internet all morning: everything is NOT awesome. Seriously, even the Best Original Song nomination for the film’s crazy-addictive “Everything is Awesome” can’t numb the pain of losing out on what many considered to be sure bet for Best Animated Feature. Wow…still totally shocked.

Also very disappointed to see Nightcrawler’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo overlooked in the acting categories. They both deserved serious consideration for their stellar work in the film, but, I am thrilled to see it score a Best Original Screenplay nod for writer/director Dan Gilroy. Nightcrawler was one of my favorite films last year and I’m definitely rooting for Gilroy to take home the gold, so, rock on, dude!

If I had one major gripe — aside from the two mentioned above — it’s that the Academy showered so much love and so many nominations on movies that, in my mind, were just OK. I mean, seriously, Whiplash and Foxcatcher for Best Picture? Yikes…

And while I’m delighted to see J.K. Simmons finally getting some Oscar love for his kick-ass turn in Whiplash, I gotta say, the rest of the movie is completely overrated. A total “actors movie” with a lot of showy stuff going on but not much else. Same thing with Foxcatcher. Again, very happy to see Steve Carrell finally snare a richly-deserved Best Actor nod, but, beyond the acting the movie was a mess and the fact that it scored Best Adapted Screenplay and Director nods is completely flabbergasting. Wow…

On the plus side, I actually yelped out loud (OK, more like screamed) when Laura Dern’s name was read in the Best Supporting Actress category. She gave an absolutely transcendent performance in Wild and if you ask me, this is her time to shine. She was the heart and soul of the film and literally lit up the screen with her powerful, soulful work. I think she was my favorite nomination this morning. Very excited for her!

I’m also totally stoked to see Boyhood continuing it’s climb to the top in a very chaotic award season. This movie has haunted me more than any other this year and I’m hoping it wins everything it’s nominated for. And yes, I know that means Patricia Arquette would beat Laura Dern in the Best Supporting Actress race, but, hey, there’s room for more than badass mother performance, so, I’m hoping for a tie!

Another cool surprise was the Best Original Song nomination for “Lost Stars” from another one of my favorite films last year, Begin Again. That movie was amazing and even if they didn’t get nominated for their performances in the film, I’m gonna pretend that Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo’s Oscar nominations this morning — for The Imitation Game and Foxcatcher, respectively — were for that movie instead. Either way, glad the stodgy old Academy remembered this lovely film.

And speaking of memory (I know, nice transition here, sorry) I am so excited to see Julianne Moore in the Best Actress race for her career-best work in Still Alice. That movie devastated me and her performance is definitely the stuff Oscar gold is made of. And if you ask me, it’s about freaking time Moore takes home an Academy Award. No one even came close to her this year…she’s probably the one sure bet this season and she deserves everything she gets. Rock on, red!

And even though Guardians of the Galaxy missed out on a Best Picture nomination, it did score a Writers Guild of America nomination last week and picked up two Oscar nods this morning as well. One for Best Visual Effects, (go, Groot!) and one for Best Make-up and Hairstyling (go, Gamora!) so, I’m not complaining. On a related note, it was very cool to see something other than stuffy English period films in the Best Costume Design category with Maleficent and Inherent Vice picking up surprise and totally deserving nominations. Rock on, crazy Maleficent horns!

Speaking of Inherent Vice, even though I only liked the first hour of the film (which is perfect!) and it descended into total madness in the second half, I have to admit I am glad to see writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Knowing Oscar voters, who have a rich history of rewarding people for the wrong movies, Anderson, who should have won for Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, will finally win an Oscar for his work here.

The bad news is that two really deserving writers got totally shut out in Anderson’s Adapted Screenplay category. Novelist Nick Hornby’s script for Wild was incredible and deeply moving. And though I haven’t seen it yet, Gilian Flynn’s adaptation of her novel Gone Girl is supposed to be pretty badass too. Sadly, their slots got taken by the likes of total groaners like Foxcatcher and Whiplash instead. Oy…makes me want to groan again.

And finally, even though Bradley Cooper knocked Jake Gyllenhaal out of the Best Actor race, Cooper gave one of the best male performances of the year in American Sniper and I was really glad to see the film pick up so many nods this year. It’s a really great flick with a, pardon my French, fucking doozy of an ending. Amazing!

OK, that’s all for now. You can find a complete list of this year’s nominees here. And, as always, I’m dying to hear what you guys think of this year’s crop of nominees, so, comment away!

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Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)

It’s official, amigos, the golden age of Hollywood glamour is gone forever with the passing of Lauren “Betty” Bacall today at the age of 89. Truly one of a kind, Bacall’s smoldering beauty lit up the screen for over 70 years but the thing she’ll probably most be remembered for is her voice. Oh, that voice!

I think my favorite Lauren Bacall movie is probably Key Largo, but I will always have a soft spot for that big ball of convulated craziness that is The Big Sleep. Even Raymond Chandler (who wrote the novel) used to joke that he couldn’t make heads or tails of that story. But when you’ve got a 19-year old Lauren Bacall making her screen debut opposite Humphrey-flicking-Bogart, who cares?! A true classic in every sense of the word!

I’m just glad old Betty finally got an Oscar before she died too. It might not have been the one she was hoping for — Bacall’s Best Supporting Actress loss to Juliette Binoche for The English Patient in 1996 is still considered one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history — but Bacall did take home a richly-deserved honorary Academy Award in 2009. So, rock on classy lady…and please give my regards to Bogey!

 

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Record Store Day 2014

I know Record Store Day actually took place a couple of weeks ago now, but, I had such a blast celebrating it this year, and I took so many cool pics, that I simply had to share them again here. So, bear with me…Facebook friends.

Record Store Day 2014

Unlike in previous years, Record Store Day 2014 fell on Easter weekend this year, and since we always spend Easter at my Mom’s place in San Diego, we got to check out a couple of different record stores this go around. So, yay for us!

First up was a cool little place in the grungy-hip North Park neighborhood called Off The Record. And though the selection was pretty decent — but nowhere near the awesomeness of our local Amoeba Records in Hollywood! — the prices were fantastic, so, I would totally hit them up again. I bought a brand new Nina Simone CD for $5.99 and my brother-in-law walked away with a handful of very cool used CD’s for around $10-$15 bucks for the lot of them. Not bad.

Record Store Day 2014

But our next stop was even cooler. San Diego’s M-Theory Records has been rated one of San Diego’s Best Record Stores for years and it’s not hard to see why. Although their selection seemed much smaller than Off The Record’s, the depth and quality of M-Theory’s inventory was amazing. I’m not kidding, man…they had some really eclectic shit in there.

Even more surprising than M-Theory’s artfully curated vinyl stash was the totally disarming coolness of their staff. Friendly, smart and totally knowledgable, the clerks at M-Theory seemed determined to dispel the myth of the surly hipster record store clerk once and for all. And all I can say to that is: “Amen, brother!” Record Store Day or not, I can’t wait to spend more money in that joint next time we’re in town!

And even though I wasn’t able to find that David Lynch record or the Original The Muppet Movie Soundtrack vinyl reissue I was looking for, I still had a blast. So, rock on, San Diego record stores…see ya next year!

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Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

I don’t know about you guys, but, I’m still kind of reeling from the death yesterday of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Not only was he one of my all-time favorite actors, but he was also the kind of reliably brilliant character actor (like John Goodman) that you’d hope to see onscreen in killer parts large and small for years to come. Sadly, that was not to be…

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Although it’s little comfort right now, the fact that Hoffman left behind such a remarkable and diverse body of work is pretty awesome. He was usually my favorite character in anything he was in, and I loved him in everything, but, my favorite role of Hoffman’s is probably his turn as a home health care nurse in Paul Thomas Anderson’s crazy masterpiece Magnolia.

It’s not Hoffman’s showiest role and he could easily be eclipsed by the onscreen theatrics of his co-stars Tom Cruise and Julianne Moore, but there is a quiet grace in his performance that just kills me every time I see it. It’s like you can actually feel the things he is going through. Really amazing work in a movie busting at the seams with great actors.

I also loved him in Happiness, Boogie Nights, The Savages, Doubt, The Big Lebowski, Almost Famous, Moneyball and Pirate Radio, a movie I missed the first time around and finally saw (and loved!) this past summer. The funny thing is that when I looked up his filmography just now, some of the best stuff Hoffman did onscreen was in tiny parts in big movies that I barely remember seeing. And if you ask me, that’s the mark of a truly great actor.

Rest in peace, PSH. You left us way too soon…

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Quote of the Day: James Gandolfini

I was never a regular viewer of The Sopranos when it was on, but, I saw enough episodes to know that it was, like Twin Peaks or The X-Files before it, totally game-changing television. And though I loved James Gandolfini on the show, I think I loved him even more in some of his smaller supporting roles in movies.

For instance, I don’t remember one goddamn thing about that piece of crap Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts movie The Mexican except that I loved Gandolfini in it. I also loved him in more recent stuff like Zero Dark Thirty and that crazy-good TV movie Cinema Verite with Diane Lane. He was one of those guys who just walked in, read a few lines and totally stole the movie. But, even better than that, I liked watching him on interviews where he seemed like a genuinely humble regular dude who just happened to fall into massive Hollywood fame. Guys like that don’t come around too often, and when they leave us at such a young age, man, it makes the loss even greater.

So, for that and for the fact that I totally agree with what he says about people who like to meet up for breakfast (unless it’s a late breakfast at noon, can’t stand em!), I salute the late, great James Gandolfini in his own words. RIP, Mr. Soprano.

“I read [The Sopranos pilot]. I liked it. I thought it was good. But I thought they would have to hire some good-looking guy, not George Clooney but some Italian George Clooney, and that would be that. But they called me and they said can I meet David [Chase] for breakfast at nine a.m. At the time I was younger and I stayed out late a lot, and I was like, ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake. This guy wants to eat breakfast? This guy’s going to be a pain in the ass.'”

Location:Los Angeles

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Festival de Cannes Poster (2013)

OK, it’s official. I am so busy these days that this year I actually missed all of the coverage of my favorite film festival on earth, Cannes! Urgh, I actually forgot it was May. Crazy, huh? I guess that’s what happens to old SAHD’s who are trying to raise a toddler and freelance a bit on the side…there is just no more time for extracurricular nerdiness. Hell, I didn’t even see this beautiful poster — featuring a gorgeous shot of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward from the little-seen 1963 film, A New Kind of Love — until tonight. Sacrilege!

But any regrets I had at missing the 66th Annual Festival de Cannes in its entirety this year are more than up for by the sheer raditude of this poster. I mean, wow, if you ask me, love never looked cooler or newer. A more than worthy addition to the library of groovy Cannes posters! Que viva la Cannes!

Cannes Poster (2013)

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