Post-Oscar Thoughts and Kevin Smith the Trailblazer

Sorry it’s been so long without some straight links, so here we go:

for all the talk about british prestige movies, their barks are worse than their bites

for all the talk about british prestige movies, their barks are worse than their bites

I’m not buying, at all, that King’s Speech is the new favorite for the best picture Oscar simply because it got the most nominations. It’s far inferior to Social Network and Inception and Social Network has all the momentum even though it didn’t get a nomination for best costume, sound mixing or art direction like King’s Speech did. This is what British “prestige” movies do, they dominate the lesser categories but come up empty-handed on awards night. In 1981, Chariots of Fire won the best picture Oscar. Since then, I counted about 20 movies that can be considered decidedly prestige movies from the United Kingdom and Ireland nominated for best picture, and exactly one of them won (English Patient, which I don’t even think is a British movie anyway, and I don’t count Braveheart). So for all the talk about how those British prestige movies are a force to be reckoned with come Oscar time, I don’t believe it. The last three major British prestige films to be nominated for best picture — An Education last year, Atonement in 2008 and The Queen in 2007 — netted one major award, for Helen Mirren in The Queen. If someone bets you that King’s Speech will win the Oscar, take the best and give me a 20 percent cut on Feb. 28.

Anyone who bitches about Oscar snubs this year really doesn’t have a leg to stand on — even though I might do exactly that in my Sunday PopRox column. Usually there are three or four movies that can make a legitimate claim to say “Eff you Academy, we should be in.” This year? Not so much. If you’re bitching about snubs this year, you were probably the same person complaining that a team like Virginia Tech didn’t make the NCAA tournament last year. Even if they made it, did they really stand a chance? The one exception could be Christopher Nolan, who didn’t get a best director nomination for Inception. Who does this guy have to sleep with to get an Oscar nod? He made two of the 25 or so best movies of the 2000s — Memento and Dark Knight — and didn’t get directing nominations for either of them. Now he makes easily one of the three best movies of 2010, a movie that had to be one of the most difficult movies of the year to put on the screen, and he still can’t get a nomination? He must have cheesed off the wrong person pretty badly back in the 90s.

genius? or completely off his rocker?

genius? or completely off his rocker?

Kevin Smith has always walked the precarious line of genius and crazy stoner — but it’s never been quite like this. The director announced this weekend his intention to self-distribute his long-delayed and now-protested political satire Red State. So basically, he’s going to be touring the country and begging people to show his movie, theater by theater. The move is to cut down on the millions every movie spends on marketing that isn’t figured in to the movie’s budget. About 90 percent of me is ready to just deem him a crazy stoner and have done with it. But the other 10 percent of me is dyingfor this to work. It would give every filmmaker in the country hope that they could get their movies made and seen without having to go through studios — independent or major studios — or work the excrutiating film festival circuit. Of course, not everyone will have the name recognition of Smith, so it will be about 6,452,820 times harder for Johnny Independent from Reeders to get his movie into theaters. There is a 1 percent chance this could become a trend though — so maybe there is hope for all those little filmmakers that can’t figure out how to break in to the business. There is no arrangement for Red State to come to the Poconos yet, so maybe the good folks over at Pocono Community Theater or at Casino Theatre will give a call to the movie’s producers. I really wanted to embed a scene from a Kevin Smith movie here, but couldn’t find one without an F-bomb. Seriously. But really, go ahead and Google “chasing amy star wars,” to re-live one of the funniest two minutes I’ve even spent in a movie theater.

Wait, didn’t Aaron Sorkin already do this? With all the Oscar buzz he’s getting from Social Network, he should be able to write his own ticket to do whatever he wants. And his first project is a behind-the-scenes look at a cable news show? So, it’s News Night? Instead of his first show, Sports Night? I was a mild fan of Sports Night, I think it actually would work a little better now since back then it was one of, if not the, first sitcom to go without a laugh track. But the practice was so radical back then that ABC decided to pipe in a laugh track in an attempt to make it more accessible to the masses. That’s exactly when I tuned out, and the first time I noticed how much laugh tracks suck. It just doesn’t make much sense why Sorkin would want to revisit the same kind of show that could have ended his career if not for The West Wing. And what’s with all the behind-the-scenes shows? Behind the scenes at ESPN. Behind the scenes at the White House. Behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live. When does it end? How about an in front of the scenes show?

Oops, looks like I totally missed the fact that TNT decided to cancel The Closer back in December, making its upcoming seventh season its last. Then again, it doesn’t seem to matter since TNT is trying to extend the life of the show and maybe even continue the show without Kyra Sedgwick. I’m the wrong person to ask about this show since I’ve seen it about two times and it took me until about its third season to realize, “Whoa, isn’t that the evil cop guy from the later Police Academy movies???” But it seems like the show starts and ends with Sedgwick. At least in The Office, it looks like Steve Carell is going to be replaced by someone of similar stature. If TNT decides to keep The Closer going, they might have to invest in a star to make the show watchable.

I should probably make sure to give Jersey Shore some publicity, because geez, if I don’t, who will? Anyway, the cast is going to Italy for the fourth season. Not sure that Capri Shore has the same ring to it, but good luck to them because you know what Italians hate even more than people who talk about the bloodlines of Sicilians? Italian-Americans who go to Italy and act like complete tools. Prepare for a new definition of ugly American.

it's bad enough they're remaking the british version, but isn't the british version just a rip-off of the movie kids anyway?

it's bad enough they're remaking the british version, but isn't the british version just a rip-off of the movie kids anyway?

Still haven’t gotten a chance to check out Skins on MTV, I’ve been too busy wasting my time on the American version of Being Human (officially giving up on that, if I want to watch the same show over again, I’ll watch the original show’s DVDs). Whether it’s good or bad, I don’t know. But what I do know is that Americans are dumb, as evidenced by all the companies pulling their advertising from the show. It’s easy to understand that MTV signed up all those companies before there was a finished product and just told them, “Look, it’s a raw look at teenage life in America, and it’s pretty racy. But it’s gonna be a huge hit, trust us.” So Taco Bell and the others just signed on the dotted line and waited for the money to roll in, only to be shocked by its graphic content. Shocked? IT’S A REMAKE!!! The British version is available to any digital cable/DirecTV customer on BBC America. It’s beyond racy, it’s pretty close to kiddie porn. Do these companies not have Google on their computers? All they had to do was look around the Internet to see the original’s content and they would have said, “That’s what we just invested in, a TV version of Kids???” I’m pretty sure they all did, which makes it lame and completely unbelievable that any company would say they didn’t know what they were in for when it came to this show. Sell that somewhere else.

burn that baby down, keith. have fun doing the weather in boise next year.

burn that baby down, keith. have fun doing the weather in boise next year.

The surprising part of Keith Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC isn’t that he left — it’s that he lasted so long. This is a chronic pattern of Olbermann’s career, most famously when he left ESPN in 1997 and didn’t just burn that bridge, but then went after the bridge’s family Keyser Soze style. If you don’t remember or don’t know, he was part of the most famous SportsCenter crew in the network’s history, teaming with Dan Patrick when ESPN was at its absolute zenith, pre-Internet. Their Sunday night SportsCenter was required viewing for anyone remotely interested in sports. When he left, he was banned from the campus. So it’s not surprising that he just up and left his Countdown gig since the guys seems to be his own worst enemy.

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