Hollywood’s Super Bowl: Could It Possibly Be Better Than The Real Thing?

oscar

My, how fast a monthlong writing hiatus goes by.

When I last left you, I was picking the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl. A fitting end to a season of football picks that hit rock bottom about five times and never hovered much above it.

Since my last post was about the real Super Bowl, I figure I’ll kick off my comeback tour with a running timeline of the Super Bowl of Entertainment…The Oscars of course.

And who wouldn’t want to read all about Hollywood’s favorite self-congratulatory night from someone who’s actually in the industry?

As with any Super Bowl viewing, the action doesn’t begin at kickoff. It starts with an unforgettable pregame show to get the juices flowing. Let’s see what went on during ABC’s 90-minute Red Carpet broadcast:

  • 4:02-4:06pm (PST): We begin with three interviews that all land on the bizarre scale: Sidney Poitier can’t hear a damn thing the interviewer is asking so he vaguely tells us how “things are different than they used to be;” then Viola Davis and her husband tell ABC that they don’t do date night at the movies…they do date night by getting freaky in the hot tub (paraphrasing); and finally, June Squibb, the 84-year-old Best Supporting Actress nominee, tells us about her days as a stripper…or her days playing the role of a stripper. I can’t remember which it was. All I know is this event is giving off a strong elderly sex vibe already.
  • 4:12-4:14pm: ABC apparently gets the ship back on course as they do back-to-back interviews with people we’d much rather associate with a hot tub, Amy Adams and Anna Kendrick. Adams made the crucial mistake of not continuing her side boob dominance over the rest of the female population, opting instead for a dress that shows off only the standard top boob.
  • 4:15pm: Sally Hawkins, a nominee I’ve never heard of, shows up in what I’m guessing is the same dress my grandmother wore at her wedding in the late 1940s. You couldn’t cover more skin with ugly lace if you were trying to win a bet.
  • 4:20pm: A very pregnant Kerry Washington reminds me that as luck would have it, roughly 27 of mine and my girlfriend’s friends are currently expecting a baby. This is particularly insane and if it’s this year’s version of “everyone’s getting married,” consider me not on board. It’s just difficult to keep up with. So I’m proposing that from now own, my friends whose last name begins with A-M are allowed to have a baby only on even years, and my friends whose last name begins with N-Z have dibs on the odd years.
  • 4:23pm: You know why DVR exists? So I can skip over a taped piece called “how a handbag became such an important character in the movie Blue Jasmine.” Seriously.
  • 4:30pm: ABC runs a slow motion replay/montage of all the people who have been interviewed over the first 30 minutes of the broadcast. Why? We already need to be reminded of those four atrocious Q&A’s?
  • 4:31pm: Ahh, and finally we’ve reached the portion of the show titled “People I’ve told my girlfriend I’d leave her for.” Enter Jennifer Lawrence.
  • 4:33pm: ABC shows a clip of actors talking about their first time getting nominated. Wait, thee only explanation for Christopher Walken’s appearance is that the producers literally just dug him out of a grave, slightly brushed him off and stuck him in front of a camera. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

Christopher Walken

  • 4:51pm: Thank god, I thought the awkward interviews were over after the first half hour. But here’s Jamie Foxx telling the world that his daughter, who he’s here with, is 20 years old and showing a lot of leg. Thanks for pointing that out, Jamie.
  • 4:53pm: Jared Leto is maybe the most naturally beautiful woman to walk the red carpet so far tonight (I just want everyone to know I made this joke roughly 40 minutes before Ellen did).
  • 4:55pm: I’m pretty sure Tyson Beckford is doing a horrible job as ABC’s fashion correspondent, and it’s confirmed when my girlfriend finally starts paying attention to the broadcast and rips him to shreds. Can’t blame her considering Beckford’s most insightful statement so far is “We’ve got Matthew McConaughey’s wife in a nice pink dress, and we’ve got Sandra Bullock in nice blue dress.” Groundbreaking work.
  • 5:17pm: This is so boring. Why would anyone watch this? Now they’re showing a montage of how this area of Hollywood was made ready during the rainy LA weekend. Which reminds me, I’d be willing to bet my prize-winning dog on Ellen’s opening joke being a poke at how everyone in LA is reacting to this rare monsoon.
  • 5:19pm: Here’s a good idea, let’s interview the guy who’s singlehandedly responsible for tonight’s ceremony about five minutes before it starts. I’m sure he’ll be nice & relaxed, casual, natural…as a single stream of urine slowly drips down his leg.

So basically, this pregame show was just as compelling as every sports pregame show. What a waste.

Let’s blast through the timeline during the three-hour broadcast of the actual awards ceremony:

  • 5:32pm: Aaaand we’re off…and ChaChing! As expected, the very first thing Ellen jokes about is the rain. We celebrities are a predictable people.
  • 5:39pm: Ellen finishes her seven-minute opening monologue with this killer line: “Possibility #1 is that 12 Years A Slave Wins. Possibility #2 is that you’re all racists.” She might earn herself permanent Oscar hosting duties tonight.
  • 5:41pm: Jared Leto is our first winner (Supporting Actor), and makes every other winner not want to give a speech the rest of the night because he gives the greatest “thank you, Mom “speech ever.
  • 5:43pm: ….And he’s still going, moving over to politics (thanking people in Ukraine & Venezuela) and then to actual thank you’s for his colleagues.
  • 5:44pm: ….And he’s wrapping it up with a political stand on AIDS. He really covered everything he cares about in this world, apparently.
  • 5:48pm: Jim Carrey makes a good LSD joke, the camera catches Bono laughing, he realizes the camera’s on him, he abruptly stops laughing. How dare we think he has a sense of humor.
  • 5:50pm: Brief aside: During the animation montage, there’s a quick clip of Fantasia. Listen, how could you sleep at night if you made that movie? A children’s movie featuring the most famous cartoon character in history and not a single word is uttered the entire time??? I’m still stewing over the time my Mom let me rent this at Blockbuster and I cried for 75 straight minutes while waiting for Minnie Mouse, Goofy and others to show up and start interacting with Mickey. That movie will haunt me for life.
  • 5:58pm: Seeing these celebrities not be able to connect on the single cheek kiss or the double cheek kiss makes me so happy. I thought I was the only one who could never read that situation properly.
  • 6:50pm: That 60-minute gap in my timeline is due to the producers running through 11 categories that no one could possibly care about. Would it kill them to mix in one popular category every 30 minutes or so?
  • 6:52pm: This seems like a good time to clarify my “read about The Oscars from someone who’s in the industry” comment, especially to new readers. I should have written “from someone who lives in the city where the industry is headquartered.”
  • 6:57pm: U2  performs and it’s not very exciting. How could The Oscars get this wrong? You elevate any bad awards show musical performance by planting Taylor Swift in the audience and panning to her overdancing repeatedly.
  • 7:47pm: This installment of The Oscars is dedicated/themed around Heroes In Movies…and by definition, every single movie ever made has a hero. So The Oscars were dedicated to movies? Way to go out on a limb with the theme.
  • 8:30pm: Turns out a run on relevant categories isn’t that much more exciting than the irrelevant categories.
  • 8:58pm: The night ends with 12 Years A Slave winning the coveted Best Picture category.

I think we need to split up the Best Picture category. One award should be for “the movie we enjoyed so much that we’ll probably watch it over & over for the next few years” (That’s my definition of Best Picture, which is why American Hustle got my vote). The other award should be: “The best ‘well done yet difficult to watch’ film.” Pretty self-explanatory. I think most Best Pictures land in this latter category and I hate it.

It turns out Hollywood’s version of the Super Bowl is about as entertaining as watching Peyton Manning compete in the real Super Bowl. Not sure which Super Bowl over this past month was the bigger waste of time.

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Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street…A Scary Good Time

wolf of wall street

I’ve been sitting on this Wolf Of Wall Street blog review for a couple weeks because I have no idea where to rank it on my world-renowned Watchability Scale. Sometimes I think it’s a brilliant movie. Other times I think it’s terrible. But I’m probably going to play it safe and rank it somewhere in between those two extremes.

The best, yet vaguest, description I can give is that it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

Since I saw it in early January and was fooling myself into thinking I’d start dieting for my New Year’s Resolution, I went into this movie telling myself I would only eat one Peanut M&M each time Leonardo DiCaprio’s character partakes in illegal drug activity. I ended up in the hospital after the first hour with what the doctors described as an aggressive case of chocolate poisoning.

For those who have seen Boiler Room, I can only imagine Wolf was dreamt up by someone watching that film while doing a bunch of cocaine and quaaludes. And then he decided, “What if the main character was as fucked up throughout the entire movie as I am right now?”

For those who haven’t seen Boiler Room, Wolf is a movie about an ambitious young stock broker, Jordan Belfort, who finds ridiculous success in the 1990s by participating and then running an illegal stock brokerage. He and his colleagues make such a crazy shit ton of money that they can afford to throw parties with booze, drugs, midgets and hookers almost nightly. And then the FBI starts investigating them and the whole damn thing unravels.

A few interesting notes from the different Wikipedia pages I explored in order to research this movie:

  • It’s categorized as a black comedy. The plot description I just gave you might not sound like there’s any humor, but trust me, this was one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.
  • It is now ranked atop all movies in terms of how many times the word “fuck” is used (unless you count a documentary named Fuck–A documentary on the word).
  • After you’ve seen this movie, you’ll think there’s no way in hell what you just saw actually happened. But my look into the real Jordan Belfort revealed that almost all of this insanity did take place, without much exaggeration by Martin Scorsese, the film’s director.

My biggest problem with the movie is its three-hour run time. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • 1st hour: Possibly the finest 60 minutes in movie history. Never laughed so hard.
  • 2nd hour: A solid story of your classic rise and fall of an extremely flawed characte (lots of similarities to Blow).
  • 3rd hour: Atrocious, heavy, slow and loooooooong, ultra-depressing.

So if you only have two free hours but really want to see this movie, go for it. You won’t miss a thing.

And that first 60 minutes, the funniest hour in movie history, is anchored by the single greatest scene in movie history (from a comedy standpoint). For those of you who have seen Wolf, I’m talking of course about the lunch date between Leo and Matthew McConaughey. There’s no way to explain what goes on except to say that McConaughey’s character baptizes DiCaprio/Belfort via an extremely strange ritual. These five minutes alone are worth the price of admission.

You should see this movie if: You want to see some of the funniest yet craziest shit any movie has ever tried to pull off; you (like me) have seen every movie Leo’s ever been in minus The Man In The Iron Mask; ditto for seeing every Scorsese movie; if you love McConaughey, even though he’s only in the movie’s first 45 minutes; you love films about excess, flawed characters and an epic crash & burn; you’re able to take serious subject matter lightly.

You should not see this movie if: Pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? If the drug-fueled exploits of a womanizing criminal isn’t your cup of tea; if swear words, specifically FUCK, make you uncomfortable; more importantly, if copious amounts of breasts and vaginas on the big screen make you uncomfortable; if you don’t like to see bad people prosper; if you or someone you’re related to got jobbed by the real Jordan Belfort’s fake brokerage in the 90s; if you hate humor; if you’re a super serious person who can’t take a light approach to an immoral film.

While the final third of the movie is nearly unwatchable, I’m still giving Wolf of Wall Street a 7.5 out of 10 on the Ross Watchability Scale (RWS) because humor triumphs over boring tragedy in my opinion.

When I returned to work from Christmas break, several of my coworkers had seen both Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle. All of them agreed that Wolf was significantly better. Those people are certified morons. If you’re choosing which Oscar-nominated film to see this weekend between the two, please do yourself a favor and see American Hustle. But sometime shortly after that, go see Leo play the Big Bad Wolf.

Movie Reviews: A Predictable Disappointment & The Best Movie of 2013

american hustle

Maybe on this New Year’s Day you’ve decided to wait out the hangover by heading to the movie theater. It’s not the worst play to be when you’re recovering from too much partying: It’s dark, the seats are generally comfortable, you’re actually encouraged to eat greasy junk food, and you don’t have to speak to other humans.

Or maybe one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to see more movies (that’s a weird one, try harder next time).

Either way, I wanted to weigh in on two movies I’ve recently seen in the theater: Anchorman 2 and American Hustle. 

Anyone who’s already seen these two movies knows it’s a travesty to compare them. One of them is an over-the-top, zany, hilarious and clever film featuring some of the finest actors Hollywood has to offer. And the other one is Anchorman 2.

Let’s just knock this out of the way quickly: Anchorman 2 wasn’t very good. You can convince me that there were enough individual funny moments to make seeing the movie worthwhile, but if you try to argue that it comes anywhere near the brilliance of the original Anchorman, you’ve lost all credibility with me forever. Maybe in similar fashion to the first Anchorman, this latest installment will prove better the more I watch it. But we’ll have to wait and see. For now, I remain unimpressed. I don’t think I laughed once during the opening 25 minutes, and I was secretly rooting for the film to take a drastic turn where it would focus solely on Brick Tamland & Chani’s amazingly awkward love (Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig).

Don’t see this movie in the theater. Save it for a Netflix night when you only want to laugh a little bit. On the Ross Watchability Scale (RWS), I give it a 4.5 out of 10. 

Now that we’ve gotten than bit of unpleasantness out of the way, let’s turn our attention American Hustle, a comedy-drama crime film that will most certainly be getting some Oscar nominations, both for its actors and its director/screenwriters.

Like other David O. Russell films, it’s tough to do the plot justice via a written description. The movie’s loosely based on an FBI operation from the 1970s (so loosely based, in fact, that the movie opens with these words on the screen: “Some of this actually happened”) that involves a couple of con artists working with the Feds to entrap some of New Jersey’s greedier politicians. Except that the FBI agent leading the operation is almost as incompetent and distractable as the con artists he’s supposed to be in charge of. And while Christian Bale’s con artist Irving Rosenfeld and Bradley Cooper’s FBI agent Richie DiMaso appear to be the people in charge of this cat-and-mouse game, it’s really the women that make the big moves and drive the story. Amy Adams is fantastic as Bale’s partner who ends up in the middle of everything, but Jennifer Lawrence steals the show as Bale’s bitter and unstable wife. I’d estimate Lawrence only had 20 minutes of screen time in this entire movie, but she was so good, she’d better win Best Supporting Actress at the 86h Academy Awards in March or else.. (or else what? Or else I will never attend the Academy Awards no matter how bad they want me there. That’s how serious I am about this.)

If the previous paragraph didn’t sound like much of a plot description, that’s because it’s impossible to appropriately capture all the madcap zaniness of this film. Just know that it was super entertaining the entire time, the acting was amazing and the twists and turns at the end completely legitimize this movie as a crime drama.

You should see this movie if: You enjoy incredible movies; you liked other David O. Russell films; you enjoy seeing today’s best actors submitting possibly their best work of their careers; you gravitate towards movies that have the perfect amount of comedy, drama and intelligent plot; you’re as obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence as I now am; you appreciate outrageous comb-overs and perms; you want to see the most glorious usage of constant side boob ever seen on screen.

You should not see this movie if: I don’t know, actually…if you hate good entertainment, I guess?

On the RWS, I give it a 9.5 out of 10. This is now the highest-rated film of all time using the RWS.

Poor Wolf of Wall Street…before I even see it I know it doesn’t stand a chance to match wits with American Hustle.