No Oscar for Stiller, Please!

(FYI, thoughts on the Sons of Anarchy finale are at the bottom because it’s spoiler-heavy …)

Suffice it to say, I’m still catching up on 2010 movies. Technically, that’s like saying last night’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was a quiet little affair — both big understatements. Once the TV season stalls out in about a week or so, I’m going on a movie-watching binge.

So for me to comment on the state of this year’s movies is probably a little shortsighted. I’m happy that Winter’s Bone is starting to get some major publicity, hopefully enough to get people renting it, enjoying it and talking about it. It deserves to have an audience. I’m happy that people already looked past the obvious challenges both Social Network and Inception would have had in being accepted by a mainstream audience and embraced them like they belonged at the multiplex right along side Jackass 3-D.

if you're going dramatic and ironic and thoughtful, stick with wes anderson movies

if you're going dramatic and ironic and thoughtful, stick with wes anderson movies

But after Tuesday’s Spirit Awards nomination show, I’m already starting to get angry — specifically at Greenberg. After seeing the movie I resisted the temptation just to blurt out the quickest, easiest and most all-encompassing review I could muster — “Sucks.” I wanted it to sink in for a little while. After about four months of stalling, I’m submitting an addendum my initial review — “Sucks and I now hate Ben Stiller.” So hearing Jeremy Renner announce it was getting a nomination for best feature, and worse, that Ben Stiller was getting nominated for best actor, pretty much turned my stomach.

It’s hard to express eloquently how much Ben Stiller’s character Roger Greenberg licks butt in this movie, but here goes: The character is a deplorable, egotistical jack-off with a highly inflated sense of self-importance that deserves all the bad that happens to him 10 times over. He may not be the 2010 movie mayor of Douchebagville -- no one is beating co-mayors the Winklevoss Twins this year — but he’s probably the Douchebagville City Council president.

All of that is fine, there have been hundreds of unscrupulous characters we ended up cheering for by the end of their movies. Roger Greenberg is not one of them, not even close. We cheer against him. Of all the bad things that happen to him by the end of the movie, we want more bad things to happen to him. Maybe he finds out his former bandmates have signed a record deal and left him out in the cold? Maybe a piano could drop on his head or something? Maybe something as simple as stepping in a sewer grate and twisting his ankle? ANYTHING!!! There’s nothing in the movie that makes you want to like him, which I guess is the point. It’s just an extremely belabored, root-canal-painful point that makes you feel like you’ve been held upside down by your toenails for two hours.

Whatever, I know that’s a little too detailed for the 95 percent of readers who haven’t seen the movie, just as long as the journey doesn’t end with a Spirit Award. Or worse, an Oscar.

she can read just as good as anyone else

she can read just as good as anyone else

Apparently we’re in the opening stages of awards season with the Spirit Awards nominations and the surprising announcement of the James Franco and Anne Hathaway pair hosting the Oscars. No one should have a problem with either of them hosting based only on talent. Just because it’s not a major comedian or entertainer to keep things rolling as had been the tradition for the past 20 years. Just because those kinds of people -- Hope, Carson, Crystal — always have proved to be the best hosts that doesn’t mean this can’t work. Franco and Hathaway are actors, they’re adept at reading lines. Since that’s all the comedians do anyway, no big deal. Where my issue lies is this is just publicity for their movies — both have new movies coming out April 8 ahead of the Feb. 27 broadcast. Do we really want the Oscars to become another stop on the publicity machine? “Yeah, I’m doing Letterman and the Today Show tomorrow. Then on Sunday, I’m doing the Oscars. No biggie.” I sure don’t. “The Oscar for best picture goes to … make sure you see Your Highness, in theaters April 8! … Greenberg!” That will be two bad things.

It’s Dec. 1, so not only are we getting into Awards Season, but we’re also going to be seeing a lot of “Best of 2010″ lists. E! looks like it’s got one of the first lists out on voting for the celebrity of the year. Last year was pretty easy, it was the year of Sandra Bullock, 2008 belonged to Robert Downey Jr. This year isn’t nearly as clear-cut. You could say Conan O’Brien, but that would be a vote for failure since in 2010 he was dumped off The Tonight Show, even though he’s rebounded nicely at TBS. You could say James Franco, but you didn’t really hear his name until November, unless you count the time he spent doing General Hospital as an “art project,” or his 15-minute so-so turn in Date Night. There have been people that dominated the news — Charlie Sheen, Demi Lovato, Lindsay Lohan, Bristol Palin, T.I., John Mayer — but none of them were in the news for their talents, which is what a contest like this should be about. Soooooo … who’s left? A reality star like The Situation? A resurrected career like Betty White? Maybe someone will separate themselves in December, or else the answer is probably Katy Perry. That’s kinda boring.

Missed this last week but wanted to pass along the supposed end to the Christian-Bale-as-Batman Era. Nothing is set in stone, apparently it hinges on whether Christopher Nolan wants to come back to the franchise after The Dark Knight Rises, but it seems like he doesn’t. This sounds very familiar in the comic book movie world — we saw it with Spider-Man 4 when Tobey Maguire said he wouldn’t be back without Sam Raimi. Apparently, three is the limit for how long respectable actors will dress in tights. If Bale doesn’t come back, he easily goes down as the best movie Batman. It goes Bale, Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton, Adam West and pulling up the rear is George Clooney. You read that right, Kilmer ahead of Keaton. Personal choice.

A Christmas Story: The Musical? Why do people continually try to ruin great things?!?!?! Somehow A Christmas Story has stayed fresh and re-watchable despite being overplayed for the next month and the fact that my father has a about 20 of the figurines under the Christmas tree. It sold out long ago, but it’s still just as funny as it ever was. This is like poking it with a stick and saying, “Why won’t you suck already?!?!?!Just SUCKKKKKK!!!”

Did someone say something about ruining a good thing? This probably falls more under the category of driving the final stake into a 10-year-dead corpse. On the bright side, Jason Biggs is available!

until next year, jax

until next year, jax

(SONS OF ANARCHY FINALE SPOILERS COMING!!! TURN AWAY IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET!!!) Since near the start of the season, I’ve been asking for one thing from Sons of Anarchy -- progress. We finally got it last night. So why am I still feeling unfulfilled, like I just watched Passion of the Christ all over again for no good reason? Good stuff first from the finale: The Jimmy O and Agent Stahl stories were played out last year, so it’s about time the show got rid of their dead weight. The people that did the deeds — Opie blasting Stahl in the back of the head as revenge for Donna and Chibs doing Jimmy O as revenge for Fiona and his daughter — were perfect. And the hint that the show is going to get back to its biggest secret that it abandoned about three episodes in to season 1 — that John Teller was actually killed by Clay and Gemma — is very promising. But in the end, there was just too much confusion in both the finale and the season. For as confusing as the finale and most of this season was — a surreal mesh of guns, drugs, rival gangs, truces, wars, baby snatching, baby hunting, hostage-taking, globetrotting, hits, misses, break-ups, reconciliations … I’m baffled just trying to remember the dozens of subplots — I figured out the twist ending a good half-hour before it happened. How is that possible? My head was spinning for the first 45 minutes, I was distracted by whatever I was doing on a laptop, I was almost falling asleep — but when the club members were doing their man-hug thing before they go off on their mission, I said to no one in particular, “Jax and the club are setting up Stahl, she doesn’t make it to the end of this episode.” In other words, every crazy, nutso thing that happened this year was just a red herring. In the end, the entire season was about revenge, and the club got theirs. Which is fine, it just shouldn’t have taken this long to get there. When all the dust has settled and you look back on this season, it was a clear step back from the first two seasons when I had it in my top 10 shows each year. FINALE GRADE: B. SEASON GRADE: C+.

Now because I’ve had this song stuck in my head all night and probably will for a week (thanks a lot!) I want to make sure it’s stuck in everyone else’s heads too, the song perfectly used at the beginning of the finale:

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