Sunday, January 27, 2013

SAG Awards 2013: So Who The Hell Won Anyway?

(He's obviously not telling, but I am!)

It's time for the SAG awards! No host. A couple people tell us how they became actors. Some bits work better than others. No time to waste. Let's do this:

Best Actor in a Supporting Role... In Film? They don't specify. But there are no TV actors nominated. We'll see if they get their own category.

~Note: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper introduce what I assume will be Silver Lining's Playbook, but then they start talking about it and it doesn't sound like the plot to SLP at all, and I'm like "wait, are the introducing someone else's movie? Are they switching it up this year?" But no it turns out to be SLP after all. That was weird.

Female Actor in a Supporting Role... In Film? It's probably a race between Sally Field and Anne Hathaway. And if goes to Hathaway. This basically makes her a lock for the Oscar in this category. The SAG membership was Sally's best voting bloc with which to gain back some momentum. I've muted Hathaway's speech midway through so I could write this and she's still going on and on. She thanked a million people at the Globes. Who's left? Just say thanks and leave the stage. Fantine died quicker in Les Mis than it takes for Hathaway to accept an award for the performance!

Kerry Washington didn't attend rehearsal, I guess, she she biffs her lines in the teleprompter and forgets to announce the nominees. At least they're doing the TV comedy awards so people can laugh.

Male Actor in a Comedy Series - So all the boys just get one category for TV. I hope it's Alec Baldwin. The finale season of 30 Rock has been hilarious. And BALDWIN WINS! YES! Tina Fey has tears in her eyes. Baldwin has kind of an odd haircut right now. Acceptance Speech - short and sweet. He knows how it goes.

~The male leads from Argo come out to introduce Argo and the description sounds like Argo, so we're now heading in the right direction.

Female Actor in a Comedy Series - I want it to be Tina or Amy. I don't want it to be Betty because she didn't show up and has one million awards already. TINA FEY WINS!!! YES!!!! She looks overwhelmed. She is, to no one's surprise, hilarious. She shares the Award with Amy Poehler, who she's known since Amy was pregnant with Lena Dunham. Nice. She begs people to watch the 30 Finale this week and tape Big Bang Theory just this once! I love her.

Outstanding Ensemble in Comedy. GLEE was nominated? Over HIMYM? Uh, okay. I think it's a 3-way horse race between 30 Rock - Big Bang and Modern Family. 30 Rock swan song? No... Modern Family steals their thunder. Well, what can you do? They are a great ensemble. And JTF gives a special shout out to the casts of 30 Rock and Office which is classy. Of all those actors in the cast, he was a good choice for giving the acceptance speech.

Female Actor, Miniseries/Movie - Could it be anyone but Julianne Moore? She's won every other award for playing Sarah Palin. Non-shocker. She wins! Love Julianne Moore. That's quite a low cut dress, Julianne She lists everyone that was in the cast by name. Possibly even the extras.

Male Actor, Miniseries/Movie - No nominees for Dog President?? What are you thinking SAG voters? Kevin Costner wins, but he's not there so we're moving on. Jamie Francisco would've shown up.

SAG-AFTRA merged and it's worth a montage.

~ Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman introduce Les Mis. I'm fixing dinner for myself while they talk, but I'll assume they got through it okay. So different now from what it SEEEEMED! Hearing it is making me cry again from two rooms away. Stop it, Hathaway!

Alec Baldwin narrates lifetime achievement for Dick Van Dyke. I like all the standard awesome icon roles Dick Van Dyke performed, but I have strange affinity for Diagnosis Murder. I don't know why. DVD gets up on stage to a well deserved standing O. He looks like he's in pretty good shape! All his oldest co-stars can't be there tonight because they all have the flu. Well, at least it's not because their dead. Hey, it could be!

Amy and NPH are being all dramatic and lovely as presenters. Make Actor in a Drama Series - I love Bryan Crantson, so we'll see. It will probs be Damian Lewis for Homeland. Oh, Jon Hamm needs to win too. So tough. CRANSTON WINS! It's his first SAG Award! Yay!

~ Dev Patel introduces Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I can't believe he's still with Freida Pinto! Slumdog seems like a million years ago.

Best Female Actor - Drama Series. Claire Danes. Her speech is a little scattered but we learn that Morena runs lines with her every night and makes her dinner and that's kind of awesome.

In Memoriam! Larry Hagman! Whitney Houston! Jack Klugman! Conrad Bain! Celeste Holm! Sherman Helmsley! Michael Clark Duncan! Charles Durning! Davy Jones! Phyllis Diller! Dick Clark! Andy Griffith! So much death this year.

I love that this show is only two hours long. We're already at Ensemble in a TV Drama. I'm assuming it will be Breaking Bad, because it has a stronger ensemble than Homeland. Of course, there are 15,000 actors in Downton Abbey so if they all vote for their own show they could win. OMFG. Downton wins!! Only 5 cast members flew over from England. Mrs. Hughes is accepting on behalf of the cast! She gives a very excited yet British speech. It's hilarious.

~ Sally Field and DDL do a bit where they switch their identical eye glass frames to read the intro to Lincoln. They are very cute together even out of costume.

Female Actor in a Lead Role for Film - Jessica Chastain is the front runner. But JLaw takes it! Oooh. Golden Globe AND a SAG award. Someone's an Oscar front runner now! Her speech is very sweet. She got her SAG card for a MTV promo for my Super Sweet 16. Awesome.

Male Actor in a Lead Role for Film - Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln. Who else did you think would win? This one is a lock. It really is a strong category this year. DDL is a lovely weirdo of a guy. He could ramble on forever and I'd be pleased, but he doesn't. He's too classy.

Cast in a Motion Picture - Who will it be? SLP - Lincoln - Argo? And it's ARGO! Oooh. Argo's picked up all the major awards ever since the Oscars snubbed Affleck for director. He looks positively shocked to have won. It's not that far a stretch of the imagination, Ben! Everyone looks so excited. Is it because they got a nice dinner and the show's already over after only two hours. That's what I'm so happy about. Congrats to all the winners!

Now everyone go out and find an actor and hug tell them how much you support their journey! Yay actors!

Kiss the 2013 Aussie Open Goodbye!

Ah, the Aussie Open. It's been a fun two weeks of tennis with some really great matches. But here we are at the end of all things, and only 1 of 4 finals went the way I wanted it to go. Sometimes that's how the tennis ball bounces. Let's review:

WOMEN'S SINGLES FINAL - AZARENKA d. LI - 4-6. 6-4, 6-3. Blerg. Lotsa folks (including me) were hoping for a Serena-Sharapova face off, but Sloane Stephens and Li Na thought otherwise in the quarters and semis respectively. That's all fair. Can't hate on that. But then in the Aza-v-Stephens semi, Azarenka pulled some bullshit, stopping the match in the second when Stephens had momentum for a "panic attack" or some kind of rib cage issue and fans in the stadium, the commentators and the press were all pissed about it. That created a kind of "Anyone but Azarenka" vibe to the Final Match. Unfortunately, Li couldn't come through. After winning the first set, she suffered some bad errors and two bad tumbles in the second and third set, while Vika stayed consistent. It's not that I hate Vika or anything, but it wasn't a victory you could really cheer unreservedly and it made me miss Serena-v-Sharapova even more so.

WOMEN'S DOUBLES FINAL - The only bummer about this one is that it just wasn't featuring the Williams Sisters. I always want them to win. Instead, top-seeded Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy beat the Australian pair of Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 for the title. Man, the Aussie's were so close to a title win on home soil! If you want to know how little anyone cares about women's doubles when Venus and Serena aren't involved, both and didn't have any direct links to articles about the match. I had to google "women's doubles final to find an article about it. Thankfully The Hindu wrote up a blurb so I knew who was playing!

MEN'S SINGLES FINAL - Djokovic d. Murray - 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-2. So close those first two sets! And then not so close. UGH! So Novak three-peats in OZ. Well, good on him. Still not a huge fan, but you cannot deny that he really brings his best to Melbourne and that nobody can pull out 5-set wins in matches he should lose in the most dramatic fashion. The best match of the tournament was definitely Novak-vs.-Stan Wawrinka in the 4th round. You were so close, Stan! Keep up the great work! Now that OZ is over we get to wonder again about the oft-delayed, still-more-likely-than-a-Broadway-production-of-Rebecca return of Our Hero, Rafael Nadal. What will the Spring look like? Will Rafa dominate on the clay? Will he even show up at the US hard court tourneys? What's it gonna be?? I really hope it's back up and running to a full set of the Big Four. Even if you're not the biggest Rafa fan (then why are you reading my blog???) you have to admit that the energy of the tour is simply not the same without him.

MEN'S DOUBLES FINAL - BRYAN/BRYAN d. HAASE/SIJSLING 6-3, 6-4 Finally! One I'm super excited about! Wonder Twins Bob and Mike won their 13th major title becoming the winningest team in Grand Slam history. The Bryans already had a career Grand Slam, but like Djokovic in singles, they have had the most success Down Under. They've now got six Aussie trophies, 4 U.S. Open's, 2 Wimby wins and one French. They've also been ranked No. 1 in doubles for 8 of the past 10 years, won at least one Slam title for a record 9 consecutive years and won a record 84 career titles. And of course last year they won the gold medal at the London Olympics. When they eventually do retire, they'll have left pretty much no stone unturned, and set an impossibly high bar for any men's doubles teams after them. Plus it's great that they seem like such nice guys and with US men's singles struggling to keep a presence at the top of the sport, it's great to have the consistency of the Bryan Brothers on the doubles side. Let's go for the calendar slam this year, fellas! You can do it!!

My next tournament to watch is the VTR OPEN starting on Feb. 4 in Vina del Mar, Chile. The clay court tourney will be the return of Rafa to the ATP tour. VAMOS!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

And The Nominees Are! Ranking the 2013 Best Picture Oscar Contenders!

I actually have not seen that many movies this past year. There was a time in early December that I thought instead of a Top 10 movies post I'd just write "The 10 Movies I Actually Saw" post. But then when they Oscar nominations were announced, it turned out the only movies I saw were most of the movies nominated!  I really only had to make a point to go see Amour and then the set was complete! So now that I've actually seen all 9 best picture nominees this is how I'd rank them if I was voting from least favorite to favorite. Before I start let me say that I actually thought all of the nominated films were quite good. There wasn't one that I hated or thought was undeserving of at least being in the conversation, even if their overall odds of winning are not super strong. So even the lowest ranked movie here is not stinky, is what I'm trying to say. Okay, on with it!

9. ZERO DARK THIRTY - I gotta say, the torture scenes in the beginning really turned me off. It took me a long time to find my way into the movie. So if you don't like torture, this is not the movie for you. Jessica Chastain gives a very strong performance and I thought it was well-directed, although I do think it's weird that in a movie that's basically Chastain's character's story, it's odd that she is entirely absent for the climactic raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound. That sequence goes on for a long time and she's just waiting at the base off screen the whole time. Of all the Best Picture nominees, this would be the one I'd be least likely to recommend. But it's not bad!

8. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK - I have the opposite reaction to SLP than I do to ZDT. This is probably the movie I find most universally appealing, and would most likely recommend to people to see. It's not really a revelation of film-making for me though. I was surprised it got a directing nod, because it seems pretty straightforward of a directing assignment to me. I think Bigelow, Hooper and Affleck had tougher tasks with ZDT, Les Mis and Argo respectively and were just as successful, but didn't get directing nominations. The ensemble here is very very strong (even if Jennifer Lawrence is noticeably too young opposite Bradley Cooper, but whatever.) I can't imagine many people not having a positive experience with this movie.

7. LINCOLN - A very well-crafted film that I ultimately didn't care too much about. There's really nothing wrong with it, except for a couple moments of "this simple conversation we are having is actually a very important moment in a very important movie" line readings. Daniel Day Lewis is great as Lincoln. Everyone in the cast is some kind of heavy hitter. It may very well win Best Picture this year, but the films I ranked higher affected me more deeply.

6. LES MISERABLES - Everyone seems to have very strong opinions about this one. Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit it's BIG and IN YOUR FACE and is aiming to just shake the emotional response out of you no matter what. You've gotta give it props for that. After 25 years since the stage show premiered, I think they made the best movie version possible here. Is it perfect? No. But overall it captures the emotional essence of the stage musical which many other movie musical adaptions in the past few years have failed to do. Plus Anne Hathaway just KILLS it as Fantine. She cannot be denied!

5. AMOUR - Amour might be a spot or two little high on my list, because it's the one I saw most recently. I watched it with a bit of emotional detachment, which was odd given the subject matter. But I really liked how it was shot. I felt like this was a movie that really got the details of the characters' situation right. Very well acted. Well written. I felt it was very very solid without being manipulative. Emmanuelle Riva as an elderly woman slowly being overcome by illness has gotten all the award season praise, but I feel a large portion of the movie's success really rests on Jean-Louis Trintignant shoulders as the husband providing her care. Right now, this movie lands solidly in the middle of the pack for me.

4. DJANGO UNCHAINED - Oooh, I really dug Django. I thought it was Tarantino at the top of his game, so if you like his game, you'll love Django. Foxx, Waltz and DiCaprio are all excellent in their roles. Sam Jackson is positively on FIRE. The only thing that bumped it down a few pegs for me was that I thought the female characters were a little underwritten. Not a criticism I usually give to QT, who has created some amazing female film characters for the ages. But here, Brunhilde didn't really have a lot going on for me besides being a damsel in distress. The only other female character of any considerable screen time is Candie's possibly incestuous sister, who also was just kind of along for the ride. I wanted more from the women! I wanted to care more about Hilde as a character so I was more invested in her rescue. But beyond that there's really a lot to enjoy here.

3. LIFE OF PI - Ang Lee really deserves the Oscar for directing. I just thought this was an incredible film, with some jaw-dropping imagery. I have not read the book, so I can't speak to it in terms of adaptation, but this movie made me feel something, and I'm still thinking about images from it all the weeks later. The use of 3-D here actually made sense and added to the feeling of depth within the movie and didn't feel gimmicky. Suraj Sharma has to carry almost the entire film on his own in a Tom Hanksian Castaway type situation, and I really think this kid delivers. I was captivated the entire time. Really an exceptional movie.

TIE 1. ARGO. I loved Argo. I thought it was riveting. I don't know how you create so much tension in a movie where you KNOW the outcome going in, but they pulled it off. It reminded me of the feeling I get watching replays of the great tennis matches that they show sometimes on rain delay at The US Open or Wimby. You KNOW what the outcome is, but watching it happen it seems impossible that the winner is going to pull it off. The match still feels alive in the moment. Parts of Argo felt very alive in the moment in that way. You know they are rescued, but it feels like they won't be. Like they couldn't POSSIBLY be. Great acting, great pacing, great writing, great direction. It's pretty much a perfect movie, I think. Well done, Ben Affleck. Even if the Academy snubbed you for director, your movie is a top prize contender!

TIE. 1. BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD - I can't really choose between Argo and Beasts because they are so different, but I give the edge to Beasts because it was just so surprising to me. I had no idea what was going to happen. I felt the story of this little girl and her dad could go anywhere. At times the characters were heading in one direction and saw where they were and went "no, i don't like this." and just turned around and did something else. It was so refreshing to feel they were so free to act even as the boundaries of their circumstances kept closing in. There's nothing generic or predictable about Beasts. This movie has so much heart. And it's great storytelling. So for me it makes it to the top of the list.

We'll see what happens on Oscar Night, but I think it could be a tight race. Argo has support, Lincoln as a lot of nominations and support. Industry people really like Silver Linings Playbook. Beasts could be a dark horse. Can't wait to see who claims the gold!

The Apple: A (Somewhat) Live Blog

(This extended movie trailer provides evidence that everything I'm about to say is true.)

A few years ago, my friend Alex introduced me to this insane, non-sensical low-budget musical called The Apple. What the hell is The Apple, you say? Well, the Apple is a 1980 science fiction rock opera set in a futuristic 1994 (!!!)  that deals with a corrupt music corporation run by the devil who has taken over the world. These two young Canadian singers come on the scene and I guess they are kinda like Adam and Eve (just go with it) and there is an apple, and their lives are basically destroyed, and there's a lot of dancing done in giant group numbers to crazy songs. Wikipedia says, "set in America but filmed in Germany, [Te Apple] was released in West Germany as "Star Rock" in 1979. The film was critically panned and a box office bomb when given an extremely limited U.S. release. It is one of the few movie musicals that has not yet been a live musical." Seriously, somebody needs to make this happen. If I'm not getting a Broadway production of Rebecca, I want a Broadway version of The Apple. C'mon, Julie Taymor. The public cries out for you.

This movie is one of my "So Bad It's Good" gems. Another friend of mine, mentioned on the FB that she was going to watch it tonight and I figured I'd turn it on and do commentary on it as well. I haven't been drinking, so I don't know how this is going to work in terms of me maintaining my sanity. You may want to pour yourself a glass of merlot before we start...

11:15pm: We begin our journey. Thank you MGM for having te balls to bring us this movie. I wonder, how much money was lost in the endeavor?

11:16 - Oddly dressed people are running around screaming while being chased by other oddly-dressed people on motorcycles. They're outside some kind of United Nations building, but they are going to some kind of rock concert. Everyone keeps screaming as they make their way inside. Are they excited or terrified? Am I excited or terrified? The answers to both question is: I simply don't know.

11:18 - It's a rock stage show. There's a white dude and a black chick in gray metallic bathing suits along with swim caps. They shout great lyrics like "Hey Hey Hey! BIM's the only way!" and some other non-rhyming gems like "There ain't no good! There ain't no bad! There's ain't no happiness! There ain't no... tears!" What "sad" was too obvious? The studio audience is totally into it, those mindless fools. There's gotta be at least two dozen back up dancers on stage for this number. What spectacle! It's huge! That's what SHE said!

11:22 - It's Mr. Boogaloo aka The Devil in the control room. I can't understand a word he says through what I guess is an Eastern European accent? I wish I knew how to get closed captioning on Netflix! Boogaloo's cracked out assistant tells Boog their crap BIM themes song scored 150 hearts! What the fuck does that even mean? We'll never find out. But it's a good score, I guess.

11:25 - Our "heroes" Alfie and Bibi take the stage to sing an original love song called "Love The Universal Melody." The audience hates it at first, but then they shut up and listen. They've been won over by choice lyrics like "la, la la la la!" Bibi looks a bit like Susan Dey during the Partridge Family and Alfie has the partly vacant/ partly frightened stare of a Will Ferrell character.

11:28 - The guy who plays the evil henchman Shake is just ABOVE AND BEYOND. I don't know how else to describe his acting choices nor his intonation on the line delivery. It's so over the top. It's amazing. Plus Shake's covered in like a three-inch coating of silver glitter.I stop the movie to check IMDB to make sure he's still alive. He is! He does a lot of theater. Good for him.

11:34 - Alfie and Bibi score 151 hearts (which means?) and Boogaloo takes action making the sound guy play interference (if anyone sees hims doing it then he's DEAD! VERY DEAD!) and the crowd gets angry and turns against them. Alfie and Bibi finish the song in disgrace and bewilderment. They basically stay that way for the next 90 minutes. I guess they lose the competition... even though they had the higher score? Who knows! No one bothered to explain the rules. The whole thing is rigged by Boogaloo.

11:39 - There's some kind of post-contest celebration at Boogaloo's, and Alfie and Bibi are invited for some reason, so they decide to go for some other reason. Nothing's explained! Boogaloo wants to sign them to his Evil Music Label, I guess. Everyone starts wearing BIM triangles on their foreheads as a fashion statement too.

11:41 - The metallic bathing suit duo from earlier are apparently named Dandi and Pandi. Pandi is the girl. I mean, obvs. right?

11:42 - At the party, Dandi clearly wants to Do It with Bibi, while Pandi wants to Do It with Alfie. Have I mentioned Alfie's pants are the tightest pants ever? Because they are. He's wearing jeggings before there jeggings were even a thing!

11:43 - Rule for life: When all else fails, say "MOOSE JAW!" it's hilarious, everyone around you will laugh. Shake says it like 15 times in a row. Alfie and Bibi are from Moose Jaw. LOLOLOLOL!!!

11:45 - Bibi looks out over a balcony: "I've never been so high in my life!" This is before she even takes any drugs!

11:46 - Bibi takes a bunch of drugs handed to her by Dandi without any thought or hesitation. Then they start making out. Hey Bibi, you're supposed to be in love with Alfie! We're only 20 minutes into the movie! Slow down, girl!

11:48 - Dandi and Bibi sing this song called "Made for Me" it has a million cutaway shots to dancers in costumes and wigs that would make the people living in the Hunger Games capital look subdued.

11:50 - Alfie finally finds Bibi kissing Dandi and pulls her out of there. He barely reacts emotionally. They don't discuss the drugs or the kissing. They just leave. Where's the drama??

11:53 - I guess it's the next day now? Bibi and Alfie have come to Boogaloo's Evil Empire building to sign a contract of some sorts - even though they kinda suck musically and they definitely lost the big contest. It's a contract for their SOULS, see? Bibi is totally into singing on with BIM, but Alfie thinks it's an awful idea. Their scenes together are ice cold. I swear these two hate each other.

11:55 - Boogaloo apparently isn't ready for them when they arrive, so naturally this totally insane musical number explodes in the lobby while they're waiting. It's called "Show Business" and stars... Mr. Boogaloo, who you might recall can't see them because he's busy. But he's right there! And there are over 100 extras doing the choreo here. It's crazy.

11:58 - Finally they go to Mr. Boog's office. He wants them to sign right away. Alfie wants their lawyers to look at it first. Bibi wants Alfie to stop ruining all their chance!. I can't figure out where Alfie's accent comes from. It's not American. Nor Canadian. Austrian?

12:00 - Alfie has visions of an earthquake in the office, with terrible destruction and dismay. He stares at it all with total indifference.What does this mean? Does he have special powers of seeing the future and not caring?

11:02 - Now we're in some weird alternate universe that's underground. Dandi is in a g-string. He's singing the title song "The Apple." There are more dancers than ever before. Have I mentioned the choreography in this movie was done by Nigel Lythgoe - executive producer of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance? It's the highlight of the film, hands down. It keeps you watching. Choice Lyric here: it's a natural natural natural desire! with an actual actual actual vampire!

12:06 - We're magically back in the office. Alfie won't take the contract. Bibi wants to do it even without Alfie.  So after a huge production number nothing has changed! Well, Alfie's pants seem tighter than ever. He leaves, Bibi signs.

12:08 - Booglaoo sings another song called "The Master." It's sort of the Apple's version of Rainbow High. Bibi is getting decked out. All her descamisados expect her to outshine the enemy! She won't disappoint them!

12:10 - We barely can catch our breath before it's time for the movie's best number "Speed." It basically is a music video where Bibi sings about America being on drugs. The lyrics require her to keep screaming "Speeeeed!" "Speeeeeed!" It's amazing and will definitely get stuck in your head. They are employing at least 8 smoke machines to cover the background dancers here too. LOTS of smoke!

12:13 - An old lady on the street is being accosted by police officer for not wearing a BIM triangle on her face. It turns out she's Alfie's landlord.

12:14 - We learn Alfie wears tighty-non-whitey briefs and that's all he sleeps in. And the Landlady just comes into his apartment. Does Bibi normally live here with him? Like so many things in this movie, it remains unclear. Does Alfie have a sexual relationship with his much older landlady? Quite possibly.

12:16 - Alfie sings "Where Has Love Gone." to his landlady/inappropriate love interest. It's a new original song he just wrote or something! Choice Unrhymed Lyric: I've searched every street of this cold wicked city. I don't know where else she could be. I hear that he's well and she's happy, I'll believe it when she tells me so.

12:18 It's the national BIM hour! Everyone has to stop what they're doing and dance as part of the National Fitness Program. Boogalooo means EVERYONE! Of the many scenes we are subjected to witnessing, my favorites are firefighters dancing in front of a burning building, doctors dancing in an operating room while the patient dies and an assortment of nuns in a park. They are breaking it DOWN.

12:22 - Bibi is the new craze with all the kids. Nobody cares about Dandi and Pandi anymore which doesn't sit well with them. A crowd of extras rushes Bibi. Did any of them put this movie on their resumes later on? Alfie tries to fight through the extras to get to Bibi, but instead he gets the shit beaten out of him by BIM security. Bibi starts to reconsider her sorry state of being. She doesn't actually help Alfie in any way though. She's such a bitch, that Bibi.

12:25 - Bibi and Alfie sing an EPIC sad song, "Cry for Me." She sings it while at the window in her penthouse suite in hooker garb. In the words of Latrice Royale, God God, Get a Grip Girl! Alfie sings as he drags his broken body up the stairs of his 5-flight walk up.  Naturally it's raining during the song. There are big thunder and lightning effects to let you know how bad tings are right now for them. Choice lyric: Oh, Alfie, I wish that I were DEAD. I'd rather die than know that I hurt you. How can I go on? You were the only hope left in this hopeless world! And now you're gone. You're gone!

Bathroom Break for O

12:30 -The Landlady nurses Alfie back to health. She gives him a poor man's "Peoples is Peoples" type of speech to motivate him to try to save Bibi. Dude, she is NOT worth it. Live a good live with Landlady instead! But alas, no. Oh, Landlady, he was never yours to lose. Why regret what cannot be?

12:33 - Alfie goes to a Boogaloo party to save Bibi. He runs into a bunch of transvestites who are not sweet and not from Transexual Transylvania. Pandi gives Alfie a drink, but it's roofied and he gets woozy and  then she rapes him! She does! Seriously! While singing this horrible disco song called "Coming For You," no less! It's prominently featured in the trailer embedded above.There is absolutely zero subtext to the lyrics. Is this supposed to be a sexy rape? A funny rape? A legitimate rape? Regardless of how you categorize it, I don't know why any of this is okay. The actual Doing It is represented by a dozen couple dancing the kama sutra positions while Pandi makes panting noises and Alfie screams for Bibi. Holy Jeebus, make this terrible song end! Finally it does. Alfie puts his clothes back on and stumbles toward an exit but before he goes, he finds Bibi Doing It with Dandi. Then he blacks out.

12:42 Alfie wakes up suddenly outside in some park in Germany. Was it all just some horrible nightmare?

12:44 - Unfortunately no. Bibi wakes up the next morning feeling hung over. Shake is there in metallic bikini briefs asking her to go in the sauna. She declines. Your loss, Bibi! Shakes is the best you can do at this point! Bibi thinks she remembers Alife being there, and Pandi confirms that he was. She neglects to mention the RAPING HIM part of the evening. Suddenly Pandi has a change of heart and decides to help Didi escape because Alfie loves her so much. How does she know this? Maybe because Alfie was screaming her name while Pandi was raping him? That's a pretty good guess.

12:50 - Police come to the park where Alfie is now congregating with hippies. They run off into the trees. So very random. Is this movie goona wrap up already?

12:52 - For some reason Shake lets Bibi leave the BIM compound. I guess the plot demanded he do so. Pandi stays behind. Pandi then sings a song called "I Found Me" which is a song about how raping someone changes the rapist too, or something like that.

12:54 The landlady tells Bibi that Alfie left to live with the homeless hippies in the park. Bibi sings a verse of "I Found Me" about how you find the person you love after you sleep with the bad people who help your career, or something.

12:56 Some hippie guy that looks like Captain Caveman takes Bibi into a cave deep in the park to find Alfie. He sing this weird hippie song called "Child of Love" Alfie and Bibi reunite and... embrace. But they don't kiss. Have they kissed once in this entire movie?? They are not in love, guys. They hate each other.

12:59 It's some time in the future. Over a year, since Alfie and Bibi now have a kid together who is toddler-sized and Alfie has a full hippie beard. Armored Police Officers advance on the hippies. They are there for Bibi who broke her BIM contract. Bibi has a huge ridiculous butterfly painted on her forehead. Arrest her for that crime, boys!

1:01 The police decide to cart all the hippies away. Bibi worries what will happen to them. Alfie's all "don't worry. he's coming." Bibi's all, "who's coming?" Alfie's like "Mr. Topps" and Bibi and the viewing audience together are like "WHO'S MR. TOPPS???"

1:02 - Then there is a glowing cadillac floating in the sky. It's the cheapest looking effect ever. A man gets out of the car.  While it's still floating in the sky. And he kinda Glinda-bubbles his way down to the surface. This is Mr. Topps. If you think maybe you missed an earlier scene where he was introduced or mentioned, you haven't. This is new for everyone.

1:03 - Mr. Topps is... God? Umm... okay? He tells all the hippies to walk up into the sky. Alfie and Bibi and their kid walk off into the sky. Pandi follows them leaving behind Dandi. Shake looks chagrined. Boogaloo asks Mr. Topps where he's taking them all. Mr. Topps hasn't thought that far in advance. Nice planning there, God. Will they go to another planet? Yeah, maybe. Another PLANET??? Then Mr. Topps walks back into the sky... leaving BIM to rule the rest of the planet? Well, okay. I guess.

1:07 - The end? Yes, that's the end. WHAAAAAT? We hope you liked the costumes and the dances and the songs. Disclaimeer: No sense was made during the making of this film.


(Does Boogaloo actually win? Does Shake become Serpentor? YOU DECIDE!)

Good night, everybody!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kelly & Beyonce: An Inauguration Face Off!

(It's the Sing Off!)

Yesterday's Inauguration was great. Not as freezing cold and not quite as historic as the first time we went through it with Obama, but even if we didn't have Yo Yo Ma and Aretha's Amazing Hat this go round, we did have two other mega-stars - Kelly Clarkson AND Beyonce! Neither singer disappointed, and while they didn't necessarily TRY to one-up each other, it was interesting to see who would have the most memorable Inaugural Moment.

First up to bat was our girl Kelly. She was on hand to sing "My Country Tis Of Thee." She had a tough act to follow, singing right after the President's speech, but she was up to the challenge. She NAILED the song in rousing fashion, bringing compliments from the President and a simple final comment from Inauguration Emcee Chuck Schumer, "Wow." Kelly was set to be the talk of the town!

But THEN, right before the President left the stage, out came Beyonce! She was batting clean up singing that ever-so-tricky tune, The National Anthem. She was having a moment, ripping the monitor out of her mid-song without missing a beat, and finishing in grand fashion. Looking out on to the masses of people below like our very own version of Eva Peron. The First Family swooned over her. Beyonce had taken the day!

Or had she? You see, not long after the Inauguration ended and the Parade through DC began a picture surfaced on the internet once again putting Kelly back in the spotlight. It seems that as she was taking the stage, President Clinton craned his head to make sure he got a glance of K.Cla and nodded is approval. The resulting effect was that Clinton seemingly photo-bombed Kelly's moment. The internet was a'buzz! Kelly was back on top.

But then -THEN! - just as the focus seemed to be off her, Beyonce was back front and center. It seems that her performance was actually a lip-sync! SCANDAL! Or not really. This is not uncommon for live performances, where weather can be a mitigating factor. Yo Yo Ma, who I mentioned early, even played to a tape last Inauguration. It happens. Shouldn't be a big deal. I mean, it IS her voice! But of course everything with Beyonce is a Big Effing Deal. So she was back on top! The fact that Kelly sang live only added fire to some people's indignation over the Beyonce lip-sync. She cannot be topped!

So who fared better? It's not a competition, but IF IT WAS Beyonce wins in terms of pure spotlight, while Kelly ultimately comes off looking better. The part that I find disappointing with the Beyonce lip-sync thing is not the lip-sync itself but the way she took off the monitor from her ear. To me, it felt like a calculated move instead of the spontaneous need to get rid of her ear piece so that she could perform better, we initially assumed it was. It seemed to the viewing audience to be a risky move, thus making her subsequent flawless performance seem that much more amazing. Knowing that the ear piece had no effect on the vocals we were hearing cheapens the drama of it. I believe she knew what she was doing the whole time and it felt to me unnecessarily manipulative. That's what irks me.

Still love my Beyonce. Love my Kelly Clarkson even more. Love my President O and Michelle Obama the BEST!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Penny For Your Thoughts. A Dime For Your Dreams

Would a shiny plat'num quarter buy a peek at... the end of debt ceiling hostage negotiations? 

Alas, after much bemused speculation, it seems The U.S. Treasury Department will not in fact mint a high-value platinum coin to put an end to the debt ceiling bullshit Congress increasingly likes to wring their hands about. President O had left that option on the table, but now an official statement from the O Administration says it won't happen. 
"Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit," the statement reads.
But that's not entirely true! It COULD be lawful! A 1996 law permits the Treasury to mint platinum coins at whatever the hell denomination it wants to and it doesn't even have to backed up by that amount of platinum. A Montgomery Burns-esque $1 trillion coin could then be placed in the Federal Reserve, giving Treasury the power to withdraw funds based on the coin to pay bills already incurred by Congress. Therefore they wouldn't need to raise the debt ceiling to make payment on existing financial commitments. PROBLEMS SOLVED!
Sure it SOUNDS sort of ridiculous and it IS sort of ridiculous. But you know what else is even more ridiculous? CONGRESS! The House Repubs think its cool to threaten defaulting on our debt or shutting down the government as negotiation tactics. Well, you know what? It's not cool. In fact, it totally sucks and everybody's tired of it. And I think their ridiculous posturing deserves a ridiculous (legal) resolution. As my girl Buffy the Vampire Slayer would say, "As justice goes, it's not unpoetic, don't ya think?"
I'm not alone in hoping this would happen. Even Senate Dems have been urging President O to just bypass the dysfunction of Congress and take whatever absurd-sounding measures were necessary to stop the debt ceiling from being a negotiating chip. But President O seems determined to make Congress act responsibly. CAN they act responsibly? I have little hope of that. I just have to believe President O knows what he's doing. 
And so I must put my dreams for the Platinum Coin Option back into my shoebox of Yet-To-Be-Realized dreams, right next to the Broadway production of Rebecca. These things won't be happening right now, but maybe someday. Just because President O doesn't think it is possible doesn't mean his successor will feel the same. I could see President Hillz using the PCO to shut down any kind of bullshit Congress put her way. Takin' it to the Bank in 2016, Ladies and G's.