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Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

Most people knew him as Mr. Spock, but I'll remember Leonard Nimoy best as the host of the spooky-ass TV show In Search Of. Man, I can't even begin to tell you how many sleepless nights my brother and I spent watching that show. The creepy theme music and archival footage was scary enough, but it was Nimoy's voice that really killed us. Whew, that show scared the shit out of us, especially when we watched it on my Mom's old B&W TV. Terrifying!

The Bigfoot and various UFO episodes were probably the most memorable, but, it was the Bermuda Triangle episode that seriously haunted my dreams. I actually lived in mortal fear of being sucked into the Bermuda Triangle for years. In fact, I still get creeped out every time I fly over water. But, hey, don't take my word for it. Check out the clip and see for yourself! So scary!

I actually met Nimoy a couple of years back at the 36th Annual Saturn Awards. I think he was there for some sort of Lifetime Acheivement award or something. Anyway I took a picture with him afterwards and he was one of the sweetest, most gracious celebrities I've ever met. Which was kind of shocking considering that he spent most of his life no doubt hounded by crazy Trekkies and film geeks like me. Not only was he friendly, cool and totally down-to-earth, but Nimoy was genuinely nice to boot. I met a lot of cool folks that night, but he was my favorite.

Thanks for all the memories, Mr. Nimoy. You will be missed…

 

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Trailer Thursday: “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter”

Every year around this time you hear some art house hipster complaining that the Independent Spirit Awards have somehow “gone Hollywood.” And while I can see how some people might think that — especially considering how much overlap there is these days between the Spirit Awards and the Oscars — actually, many of the films celebrated at the Spirit Awards are as freaking weird and independent as they come.

This year, there were two movies that got me excited enough to think about actually paying (!) to see them in a theatre. I know, shocking, huh? The first one was writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour’s B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night which, well, kind of had me at B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western. So cool!

And the second movie was Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter. Starring Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) as a young Japanese woman on a quest to find buried treasure in the frozen American heartland, the movie looks just as cool as the concept sounds.

Scoring two Spirit Award nominations this season, one for Best Director (David Zellner) and a Best Actress nod for Kikuchi, Kumiko opens next month in select theatres and I, for one, cannot wait to see it. So, check out the badass trailer below and let me know what you think!

 

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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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Pumpkin Cream Donuts at The Donut Man

Having been a Donut Man loyalist since I first sampled their now-legendary Fresh Strawberry Filled Donuts a few years back, I was really looking forward to trying their Pumpkin Cream Donuts last weekend. I mean, hello, pumpkin filling and fresh, creamy goodness piled high on a big, fluffy donut, what's not to love?

The answer, it turns out, is plenty. I'm not saying it's the worst pumpkin-flavored concoction I've ever tried, but, sadly, this seasonal favorite doesn't hold a candle to The Donut Man's rocking Strawberry and Peach bretheren. It's not terrible, but, it's just weird tasting. And though a warm donut underlayer always sounds appealing, in theory, in actual practice, it left me seriously jonesing for some proper pie crust instead.

That said, the Tiger Tails were incredible (as always), the colorful Cream Puffs pictured below were amazing (even two days later!) and Greta loved the Halloweenish sprinkles on her chocolate donut, so, any way you look at it, we came out ahead. Thanks, Donut Man!

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Welcome home, Dad!

The best thing about being away for a week is that the ladies in my life really, really miss me when I’m gone. And even though all three of us had a weird stomach bug all week — nothing like being sick in a hotel room! Fun! — Mrs. Yeti and Greta have been crazy nice to me since I got home.

If you don’t believe me, just check out the super cool sign that was waiting for me on the back door when I drove up. In case you were wondering, that’s our gardener José on the left with the three eyes. Greta said he is mowing over a giant red worm in the grass with his lawnmower. I don’t know what that means, but, man, it’s good to be home!

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Allison Williams as Peter Pan!

OK, I love me some Allison Williams (she is probably my favorite character on Girls) but, even I was a little taken aback by the news that she had been cast in NBC's upcoming Peter Pan Live! I mean, I'm sure she can sing and everything, but, if NBC's latest live “musical event” is as lame and over-produced as last year's The Sound of Music Live!, well, let's just say there's a pretty high probability that it's gonna totally suck.

And then I saw this super cheesy pic (above) of Williams in costume as Peter Pan and I knew that this movie wasn't just gonna suck, it also has serious train wreck potential. Which I always love, especially at Christmas! So, slap my wings and call me Tinkerbell, because this train wreck — which is produced by the reliably ham-fisted duo of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and also features Christopher Walken (!) as a singing Captain Hook! — is only gonna get better/worse from here on out. Simply put, I cannot wait!

Peter Pan Live! airs December 4th on NBC.

 

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Second Monday…

Man, just when I thought we were doing so well, good old second Monday rolls around to fudge everything up. And though she was grumpy, tired and downright hostile a few times, Greta's finest moments this morning involved some truly inventive delay tactics.

First, she said she was too sick to go to school. Oldest trick in the book, I know, but, still very effective, especially since she has a very mild cold. But, since that was my go-to excuse growing up, daddy wasn't buying it. Sorry, biscuit.

So, then she got really creative and staged a “sit in” on the toilet for like five minutes. When I told her we had to leave, Greta said she was waiting for her poo to come out and that she wasn't going to school until it did. Good times! Needles to say, the poo never came and many tears were shed as we made our way to the kitchen to put on her shoes.

There again, she pulled out the big guns claiming that her shoes had tiny sticks in them that I couldn't see but that hurt her feet. After much stick searching and more tears, we switched to another pair and hurried to the car, where she staged perhaps her finest trick of the morning: pretending to fall asleep on the drive to school!

I don't remember trying that one as a kid, but, wow, if they gave out gold stars for morning delay tactics Greta would be top of her class! Simply put, she was good, but I was better. And since I've grown accustomed to half-dragging her ass to school lately, I just pretended not to notice that she was “asleep” and kept right on dragging.

And despite all the tears and recriminations — not to mention the fact that she would not say “goodbye” to me when we parted — we still somehow managed to make it to school on time, but something tells me we're in for another long-ass week…

 

 

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