Pop Culture Princess
Friday, January 30, 2009
Kitty Norville is one popular gal,thanks to her talk radio show The Midnight Hour,which not only discusses whether vampires,werewolves and other supernatural creatures of legend are real but dispenses advice to folks having trouble dealing with their otherworldly afflictions.
She speaks from some authority(not as much as her listening audience gives her credit for,she would say)due to having become a werewolf four years ago.
Kitty was attacked and then taken in by the local pack of werewolves,keeping a position in the bottom of the pecking order. With the unexpected success of her radio show,however,Kitty started to take control of her life and her lycanthropy,but not without some consequences to deal with.
So far,Kitty has had to leave her original pack behind due to being caught in the crossfire of a power struggle,testify before a Senate committee lead by a bigoted politician out to form an official witch hunting party on all supernatural beings in America,deal with vampire politics and try to reconcile her family to her celebrity status and alternate lifestyle.
She's not entirely alone in her pursuits,having made friends with Cormac,a bounty hunter who was originally assigned to assassinate her on-air and Ben,the lawyer who represents them both but becomes more intimately connected to her.
The Kitty series is written by Carrie Vaughn,who has four books out and two more on the way,in February(Kitty and The Dead Man's Hand) and March(Kitty goes to Hell). Her approach to werewolf and other supernatural lore is very much old school style,with silver bullets and the full moon being a strong influence over weres,but not without a few twists of her own.
She also has a sense of humor and fun,especially with some of the call-in guests to Kitty's talk show. The second book,Kitty Goes To Washington,starts off with a great exchange between Kitty and a guy who wants to know where he can find a were-alpaca to change him over.
As I always tell my sister(who loves to tease me about werewolf and vampire lore),Kitty lets him know that weres are nine times out of ten predatory animals. Good to have something in print that I can use to win an argument(even a mock serious one).
The books are not meant as laugh fests;Kitty has plenty on her plate to handle and not just figuring out if her latest opponent is human or not. She's also juggling a growing career while keeping in touch with her family,dealing with unwanted celebrity status and learning how to be strong and confident not just for others but for herself.
I'm only started reading the series this week and am close to finishing up the second book today(it's like literary Pringles,you can't read just one or two pages). While my personal preference for paranormal protagonists still tilts toward the vampire section, Kitty Norville is one werewoman I'd gladly follow to see what she does next.
So,to help out my fellow readers who are just as interested as I am in Carrie Vaughn's Kitty adventures,We here at LRG are having a little giveaway,courtesy of the good people at Grand Central Publishing.
All you have to do is leave a comment to this post over the weekend(since Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial holiday for many,the deadline will be Monday night)and I'll chose a winner from amongst them.
That lucky duck will get a set of all six of the Kitty books from Grand Central,including the upcoming Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand(which takes place in Vegas,sweet)and Kitty Goes To Hell. If anyone out there wants to alert their friends and fellow bloggers to this contest,please feel free to do so.
Your comment doesn't have to be werewolf related,but if you want to name your favorite were book,movie or TV show,that would be fun. Hope you all have a great weekend because I know I will,with more of these great books to go through,bad moon notwithstanding:
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Top Chef does the Super Bowl Shuffle,American Idol auditions and the most bizarre episode of Nip/Tuck ever
Another theme week on Top Chef,as the chefs were presented with some football related challenges to tie into the Super Bowl.
Padma and guest judge Scott Conant started the games off with a Quickfire Challenge that had the chefs choose blindly what main ingredient they could use with the catch being that their recipe had to incorporate Quaker Oats into the mix( Bravo is also having a Quaker Oats cook off contest for fans of the show to face off against the chefs in person).
That concept went over like gangbusters...not! See what I mean for yourself:
Stefan won the challenge(which annoyed Hosea to no end)for his banana oatmeal mousse with almond crisp but didn't receive immunity as a reward. Instead,he was granted first choice in the Elimination Round that had this season's chef go head to head against a team of Top Chef All-Stars. The All-Stars had in their line-up,Miguel and Andrea from Season 1, Nikki,Spike and Andrew from Season 4,Josie from Season 2 and Camille from Season Three.
Each set of chef had twenty minutes to cook a meal based on the regional foods of a major league NFL team and the food would not only be tasted and scored on by the regular judges but by a group of culinary students as well. If the judges all agreed on one dish,that chef would be given a "touchdown"(worth 7 points)and if the students favored one dish,that would give the chef a "field goal"(3 points). The team with the highest score would be declared the winner,with the chef that did badly in their showdown going up for elimination.
It was pretty close,but the current crop of chef managed to beat out the All-Stars,thanks to the efforts of Jamie,Leah,Hosea and Carla,who was chosen as the winner of this challenge for her andouille and crayfish gumbo. I've never had gumbo but was worried about her not having enough time to prepare it. Turns out that she had plenty of time,plus going up against Andrew gives her some extra bonus points.
Carla was given a special prize,two tickets to the Super Bowl. Her husband and stepson must have been thrilled,since she mentioned that they were the football fans in her household. Congrats,Carla and family!
Stefan had chosen to go up against Andrea,thinking that he would score an easy win by picking the infamous nuts n' grains girl. Alas,his Dallas Cowboys inspired duo of meats were no match for Andrea's Tex-Mex chili.
It was a close call,but Stefan just didn't have enough Texas style boldness of favor in his food. Good to see him get humbled for once,and he did take it well(especially when the judges called him out at the panel for thinking Andrea wouldn't be much of a threat).
Fabio,on the other hand,showed no humility about his overcooked venison. He kept insisting to the judges that if they had eaten his dish sooner,it would have tasted more medium rare. Dude,I don't care how fast you eat something,speed is not going to prevent overcooked food from tasting overcooked.
Jeff was the one sent to pack his knives and go,for his substandard rock shrimp ceviche. His competition was Josie and she made a hot ceviche that had more of a Miami Dolphins vibe to it than Jeff's and yet he whined about having to use plastic plates and that he made a more complicated version of the dish.
Jeff's whole problem is that he doesn't know how to focus on one or two elements of a dish,he has to keep several different things going on all at once. Plus,he had intended to make a warm ceviche but saw that Josie was going to do that and switched at the last minute,another thing he complained about. Buddy,most of the ceviches that I've seen on this show are served cold,so I don't know what your issue is other than you being a stubborn snob here.
Next week,Eric Ripert stops by and makes the chefs extra nervous about cooking for him. Good times,people,good times!
Most of the regular fans of Nip/Tuck expect some wackiness with this series,a main reason why it does so well. This week,however,had more than the usual share of strangeness added to it. Let's start with Christian picking up a hot chick at his breast cancer support group,a woman so afraid of following her mother and sister to the grave with the disease that she wanted her healthy breasts removed as a precaution.
Christian said yes at first but had doubts later and backed out of it. That lead to the distraught woman doing a little elective surgery in the McNamara/Troy waiting room in front of potential patients using a motorized meat saw(so not making this up,I swear).
For some comic relief,Jennifer Coolidge showed up to make a reappearance as bimbo actress Candy Richards,who now calls herself "Coco" and claims to have rediscovered her African American roots. She wanted a butt enlargement to be done in time for her rap video of "Yo Stank" from her new album. You got to see it to believe it,folks:
If that wasn't enough,Julia's lover Olivia died during a facelift being done by Sean(she neglected to mention the antidepressants she had been taking beforehand)and Eden showed up to claim her mother's ashes and frame her for Julia's shooting. Quite the friendly reunion there,with a not so tasteful memorial service:
To put the cherry on top of the crazy sundae,Christian and Liz decided to deal with Liz's sexual orientation conflict after their one night stand by becoming friends with benefits. It was actually a nice moment on the show,as the two of them spoke openly and honestly about how much they cared about each other.
How long that's going to last is the question,since the previews for next week seem to indicate that Christian still intends to see other people. Never a dull day at the office with this bunch!
American Idol is finishing up the auditions this week,with one more episode tonight that squeezes in New York and Puerto Rico.
Last night,they went to Utah and picked up an Osmond kid,plus listened to a goth girl sing a hideous version of "I'll Fly Away"(why did she have to ruin a Moulin Rouge song,why?)and meet up with a fella named Chris who brought a big bunny rabbit buddy along for luck.
Oddly enough,the bunny wasn't named Harvey. Perhaps he was just a really big fan of Christmas Story who didn't mind looking like a pink nightmare:
HELL'S KITCHEN: The new season starts off tonight,right after Idol and this motley crew looks to be a extra special bunch of screw-ups.
Judging not only by the promos(which have Gordon's lung capacity tested to their limits),these preview clips of Colleen( it's pronounced "COE-leen",according to her)and the lack of line experience girl who wants to bail out before dinner service even begins,we may be in for one hell of a ride. I can hardly wait for the madness to start:
SHE'S NOT WALKING THE LINE
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I've heard some buzz from various places online that 2009 is destined to be a big year for the werewolf. Part of that is due to a remake of the classic horror flick The Wolf Man(coming out in November)starring Benecio Del Toro as the lycan infected leading man.
Others feel that with the economic chaos going on at the moment,werewolves might fit the bill more suitably than vampires as a fantasy release mechanism for the times. Vampires,they argue,are usually metaphors for the upper class elitist sections of society while werewolves are generally working class types who give a whole new meaning to the phrase,"Eat the rich." There is some merit to that,but not much.
While the basic pop culture origin myths do have vampires as wealthy aristocrats and werewolves as blue collar victims of a gypsy curse,plenty of shifts in the story telling mode of both legends has had them both exchange social class status over the years.
We've seen down home vampires in books,movies and TV shows like True Blood and there have been well off werewolves as well,such as in Jack Nicholson's Wolf back in 1994(in fact,the original Wolf Man,Larry Talbot,was the son of a noble man). Stereotypes are not set in stone,especially when it comes to the fantasy field.
Werewolves have never really gone away;they've made their presence known even in vampire themed media such as Buffy,the works of Laurell K. Hamilton and the Twilight series. The next couple of Twilight movies will have wolfen a-plenty,starting with New Moon,which sets off the now typical paranormal romance dilemma of "which man is best for me-vampire or werewolf?"
Most of the books tend to tip the scales towards the vamps,but lycan lovers should not despair-all it takes is one good and sizzling solid portrayal of a werewolf hero to swing the votes around. Interesting enough,the literary world is more diverse and way more flexible when it comes to showcasing werewolves in a stronger light.
For one thing,there are a number of werewolf women series that have strong female characters taking charge of their power and their lives. Kelley Armstrong is one of the better known authors of this genre switch,starting with Bitten(she has other books with non weres as the focus but still kick ass supernatural gals)and others have followed her lead such as Keri Arthur and Carrie Vaughn.
Also,a number of series have had other types of were beings-rats,tigers and bears,for example-who sometimes team up to defeat themselves from humans or other occult menaces but they usually stay with their own kind and shun outsiders. The movie world hasn't really caught up with these newer developments,sticking to the classic men-to-wolves routine.
The movies tend to focus more on the special effects tricks they can use to visually create a werewolf transformation rather than attempt to develop the character so that the audience will relate to the were as more than a scary prop.
Some films have tried to do more than just make a werewolf monster movie,with varying results but none that have really caught on in a big way. Perhaps that may change,either with New Moon or on the next season of True Blood.
I do think that it is high time that we had a mainstream werewomen movie(Ginger Snaps,notwithstanding)and while there is talk of werewoman TV show on Fox,I don't have much hope in it since the title of the series is "Bitches" and is being touted as "Sex and the City with werewolves."
So,will werewolves take over the horror/fantasy playing field this year? Maybe,but as LL Cool J would say,"Don't call it a comeback." Weres are persistent creatures and as constant as the phases of the moon. With some imagination and a little risk taking,they have a real shot at making a big splash in the pop culture pond.
I also believe that vampires will be right along side them,hopefully in more than an adversary role. In my opinion,vampires and werewolves are like peanut butter and jelly,two different tastes that work well together on the monster sandwich.
Then again,Hollywood does love cool fight scenes so most likely the war between vamps and weres will still be waged onscreen for some time to come:
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Coming once again this February,the New York Comic Con will be showcasing the latest in not only comic book related media but several other sci-fi/fantasy genre offerings as well.
Several panels will be devoted to current and upcoming TV shows,films and a good number of novelists are on the line up as well. Part of the fun in attending an event like this is having the chance to hear about all the behind the scenes goodness and creative insight that bring your favorite forms of entertainment to life(not to mention that getting to see celebrities up close and personal really sweetens the deal).
One of the big names expected is Joss Whedon,who will be promoting Dollhouse and signing autographs for folks(I may try to get one,if the line isn't too insane and doesn't quite stretch out all the way to Terre Haute). Other famous faces include Milo Ventimiglia( Peter Petrelli from Heroes),Seth Green(Robot Chicken)and Amber Benson( Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Amber is appearing as a literary guest,to talk about the Ghosts of Albion series that she co-writes with Christopher Golden(who I did meet once at Horrorfind and he was a great guy who didn't laugh at my lame drawing that I did for his Spike and Dru novel,Pretty Maids All in a Row).
Many of the literary folks are familiar faces from the bookshelves,such as Kim Harrison, Tamora Pierce,Sherrilyn Kenyon and F. Paul Wilson,and some are ones I'd like to know better like Vicki Pettersson and Carrie Vaughn(more about her coming to this blog soon-watch this space!).
However,even with all the celebs hanging about,it's important to be on the look out for the up and coming crowd of artists who will also be featuring their wares at the Con.
My sister,Stephanie O'Donnell,will be attending the show again this year and have a number of books and merchandise on display from her webcomic,The Original Nutty Funsters,including her first collection of strips titled "A List of Grievances",a Best of 2008 mini comic version of it called "Another Shot at Failure" and a limited edition set of two new posters that are well worth buying up to save for that big E-Bay auction in the future when she gets rich and famous.
She'll be at a couple of CAG panels as well,with other promising artists,particularly at the webcomic panel on Saturday at four in Room 1A23(see,you have no excuse for not finding it!).
Hopefully,the weather will be reasonable and plenty of people will be able to go to the New York Comic Con,despite what these characters say( It's Just Some Random Guy,the creator of these clips,will be there,too):
ADVICE FROM HEROES:
WARNINGS FROM VILLAINS:
Monday, January 26, 2009
For a long time,I've been longing to see Repo! The Genetic Opera,a dark horror/sci fi fantasy musical,ever since the first teaser was presented at the Spike Awards.
Despite the fact that the film was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman(who also directed the more successful entries in the Saw series)and produced by the folks behind Saw,R!TGO only received a limited run in theaters with very little fanfare from the studio to boot.
The movie is now available on DVD(along with the soundtrack)and praise be to the Netflix,I finally got the chance to see what the hoopla is all about.
The story takes place in a bleak futuristic society,where organ failure became an epidemic and a huge corporation named GeneCo stepped in to save the day. They made getting necessary(and not so necessary)surgery possible,but at one hell of a catch.
You can pay for your operation in installments,but miss one payment and the company's Repo Men come to collect their property,without any painkillers.
GeneCo is run by Rotti Largo(Paul Sorvino),who doesn't want to leave his vast empire to any of his three vile children;Luigi(Bill Moseley),a violently short tempered fiend,Pavi(Orge,from the band Skinny Puppies)who steals a new face to wear whenever it suits him,and Amber Sweet(Paris Hilton),a spokesperson for the company who crawls around back alleys getting high on zydrate to feed her surgery jones.
The central character is Shilo(Alexa Vega),a sickly seventeen year old girl who has been kept in isolation at home,due to a rare blood disease she inherited from her deceased mother Marni.
Her health is constantly monitored by her father Nathan(Anthony Stewart Head),a doctor determined to protect his only child from the dangers of the outside world. That's not the least of the secrets and lies told to and kept from Shilo by him,with the most gruesome one of all being what Nathan really does when he makes house calls at the behest of GeneCo:
Shilo does sneak outside,and runs into Graverobber(Terrence Zdrunich,also a co-creator of the stage play that the movie is based on)who street deals the drug zydrate favored by those hooked on surgery. The Graverobber also functions as a narrator/Greek chorus at times in the story,commenting on the action and foreshadowing what's to come.
While cruising the mean streets with him,Shilo runs into Amber Sweet and learns about the deadly fate awaiting Shilo's favorite singer,Blind Mag(Sarah Brightman).Seems that Mag wants to leave her iron clad contract as GeneCo's exclusive opera star but breaking her contract will cost her dearly in more ways than one:
Blind Mag is more than just a musical icon to Shilo;turns out that she's an old family friend who intended to be a big part of Shilo's life:
The fate of Blind Mag and GeneCo,as well as a number of other grievances,are brought to a climatic head at the Genetic Opera,sponsored by the Largo family. As it is with most operas,the end results are dire indeed(no spoilers,I promise).
This is not a story for the faint hearted or those who prefer a happy,shiny approach to the musical genre. Repo is meant to be a modern day version of classical opera, complete with over the top plotting,twisted family secrets,long held grudges resolved and most of the dialogue spoken in song. It makes the Rocky Horror Picture Show look like appropriate viewing for your grandmother,not an easy thing to accomplish.
Whether or not Repo is your particular cup of tea,the creativity and drive of the film is most impressive. Repo started life as a series of stage productions which later blossomed into a cult musical. Even when Lionsgate wasn't throwing any big ad campaign money towards the finished film,the cast and crew went on a couple of road tours to promote the movie themselves. That kind of devotion to artistic expression is great and shows the love and care that went into this sadly sweet(at times)story.
The best performances come from the elder members of the cast,particularly Sorvino and Stewart Head who breathe some needed empathy into characters that do some extremely nasty things to both friend and foe alike,in the name of love.
Sarah Brightman's moments as Blind Mag are wonderful to behold and you wish for more of them. The young folks do well enough,and even Paris Hilton(regardless of her Razzie nomination for this film)is tolerable here. You could almost call it typecasting,but in this case,it works to the story's advantage.
Like many cult movies,Repo! The Genetic Opera will get it's due from the growing fan base who happily support it in any way they can. If you're in the mood for something truly completely different,take a chance and go to the opera tonight:
Friday, January 23, 2009
This week on Top Chef,Restaurant Wars was on deck with the Quickfire challenge determining which two of our budding chefs would be the team leaders here. Padma and guest judge Steven Starr(a big restaurant mover & shaker kind of guy)had everyone make a mini version of a signature dish that would define the type of eatery they would like to open up.
Leah was chosen to lead one team,thanks to the fried poussin with soy sauce she whipped up. Along side her were Fabio,Stefan and Hosea(more drama about the two of them later)and the name of their place was The Sunset Lounge. Not a great pick,in my opinion-it sounded like a retro Miami Vice bar than a nice restaurant.
The other team had Radhika as their boss,due to her pan seared cod with chorizo that Steven Starr was very impressed with. Joining her were Carla,Jamie and Jeff. Their place was called Sahana(a Sanskit word meaning strength)and the intended theme for the food was Old World Spice.
Team Sahana's food was deemed to be the best out of the two,from the curry carrot soup to the braised lamb shanks(which there was some early concern about them in the kitchen since they were brought frozen and having them thawed on time was an issue)and the seared scallop. However,Radhika took the front of the house duties and she was lousy at it.
The food at Team Sunset Lounge was rather mediocre,with Leah's cod being sent back to the kitchen for being undercooked. Fabio was the front man there and his natural tendency to verbally schmooze folks came in handy there. That guy must have been a used car salesman in another life,I swear.
Ultimately,the choice came down to desserts and service. Team Sunset Lounge was saved by Stefan's panna cotta and chocolate orange parfait(plus,Fabio's smooth handling of the foor)and he received a special prize for that,a complete set of kitchen ware.
Carla made both of the Team Sahana desserts,which were frozen yogurts and a chocolate spice cake. The yogurts were melting before they even got sent out and the cake was bland city. She did have trouble with the fridge,but so did Stefan and he managed to save his dishes,so there's not much of an excuse there. Carla insisted that she sent the food out with "love"(rather vehemently to Judge Tom)but no one could taste that,Carla,seriously.
Radhika went home,not only for her poor front man abilities but her lack of leadership behind the scenes. She hasn't been the most aggressive or productive chef for awhile now,so this was inevitable. However,I do think that if's it between good main meal and so-so dessert vs. crappy dinner with great dessert,I would rather make a reservation at the place with the better entree.
Hosea and Leah,listen up. The two of you have significant others,so stop messing around with each other! Hosea,when you(by your own admission)spend TWO HOURS on a couch with a gal cuddling and kissing,that is NOT just "flirting that went too far". That is beyond flirting,buddy boy. Don't act all innocent over there,Leah-just take a cold shower or something,jeez!
Next week,the theme is the Super Bowl,with a team of former TC chefs taking on the new bunch-should be fun:
More bad singing on American Idol this week,with Akilah and her Chatty Cathy approach combined with her anatomy diagrams making quite the impression on the judges.
Unfortunately,it was not a good one. Watch for the part where she mentions that Paula had a hit song"when I was just a child"-Paula's expression is priceless!:
Dollhouse,the new action series helmed by Joss Whedon,is finally going to be seen on Fox with February 13 as it's start date. Eliza Dzuku(aka Faith,the bad girl slayer from Buffy & Angel)stars as Echo,an operative for a secretive company that rents out people for exclusive clients. The catch is,the agents are implanted with specific personality traits and talents necessary for their assignment and then are brain wiped clean,thanks to a handy little techno device.
The show sounds cool,but I'm not sure that I want to invest my time into it. For one thing,Whedon and Fox have a bad track record when it comes to keeping an interesting concept on the air(Firefly,anyone?)and as much as I would love to
explore an new chapter of the Whedonverse,I would also hate to get into something new and exciting and then get the rug yanked out from under me. We shall see:
LEGEND OF THE SEEKER: Yep,I'm really getting into this show and this week's episode looks like a real doozy. We have folks out to sacrifice a newborn baby who may be destined to do evil and Kahlan having to go undercover as a Mord Sith,one of those freaky leather pain magic gals who gave Richard quite the hard time. Things are never dull on this series,I tell you!:
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Afraid that my usual TV Thursday roundup will have to take place tomorrow,since bright and early this morning,the official nominations for the 2009 Academy Awards were announced a little over an hour ago.
I watched it live(hey,some folks like to camp out to hit bargain sales or wait to buy concert tickets. This is my Super Bowl,okay?)and while you can get a look at the complete list of cinematic contenders,I do have a few amusing thoughts about who is and isn't up for the gold this season,plus some interesting surprises took place as well. Let's go over the big categories and make what we can out of it:
TO BE EXPECTED
Yes,folks,Heath Ledge received his posthumous nomination for Best Supporting Actor in The Dark Knight. It was the only non technical award that the movie was put up for,what a shocker...NOT! Wall-E got the Best Animated Film nod and since it's big competition in that category is Bolt and Kung Fu Panda,the Pixar people should have more than enough time to write up that acceptance speech.
NOT COOL,HOLLYWOOD-NOT COOL AT ALL!
While it's great that Slumdog Millionaire got 10 nominations(including Best Director for Danny Boyle,Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture,plus two Best Song spots!),none of the actors from the film were nominated.
*Sigh* Why is that,guys? Don't give me any nonsense about "Well,they're not in SAG"-foreign actors and actresses have been nominated before! Maybe it's just me but if a movie is good enough to be given ten nominations,which includes Best Picture,don't you think the actors had a little something to do with that,huh?
If small time performers like Richard Jenkins(The Visitor)and Melissa Leo(Frozen River) can get top spots in the Best Actor/Actress sections,why not Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto? Did we really need to have Penelope Cruz take a Best Supporting Actress slot for Vicky Christina Barcelona(my apologies to those who like that movie,but I really feel that Frieda Pinto deserved to be named here)or did some of you fellas simply vote for the hot chick?
Out of all the politically themed films released in '08,Frost/Nixon seems to be the Oscar favor of the month. It has several major noms,such as Best Actor for Frank Langella,Best Director for Ron Howard and Best Picture.
I'm sure it is a very well made film,but I personally have no interest in it. For one thing,I already know the outcome so there's no suspense for me there and if I did really want to know more about those interviews,they are available for viewing. Oh,well,guess it's like having a vegetable on your dinner plate-you may not want it,but it's good for your health.
I was thrilled to see Mickey Rourke up for Best Actor in The Wrestler,with Marisa Tomei along side him in the Best Supporting Actress category. While it would have been extra great to have a Best Director and Best Picture noms(and Evan Rachel Wood sharing a Supporting Actress place with Tomei)as well, glad to have Mickey get a shot at giving us one hell of a memorable Oscar night speech.
Milk racked up a lot of key nominations,with Sean Penn for Best Actor,Josh Brolin for Best Supporting Actor,Gus Van Sant for Director and a Best Picture slot to boot.
My fingers will be crossed for Dustin Lance Black,who is up for Best Original Screenplay;this young man went out of his way to do some major research on Harvey Milk by talking to the people who were closest to him in life and spending time in the Castro Street area.
This biopic had been in limbo for many years due to script troubles,but Dustin Lance Black was creatively clever enough to take a more emotional investmenting viewpoint with the story and is one of the main reasons that the movie is as good as it is. Good luck,Dustin!
MORE SURPRISES IN THE CRACKER JACK BOX
Along with Richard Jenkins(best known to many as the ghost dad from Six Feet Under) and Melissa Leo(one of the original stars of Homicide:Life On The Street),there were some other unexpected actor noms,the biggest being Robert Downey Jr. for Best Supporting Actor in Tropic Thunder. Quite a stir in the audience when his name was announced today!
Bruce Springsteen seemed like a shoo-in in the Best Song section for his theme for The Wrestler,but nope,the Boss was shut out. Only three songs are up for that spot and two of them are from Slumdog Millionaire(the other one is Peter Gabriel's song for Wall-E).
Now I know that Disney movies are regularly big winners in this category but the tunes from SDM are amazing and should be considered seriously here. I can hardly wait to see these songs performed at the Kodak Theater(big production numbers,please!):
THE CURIOUS CASE OF MAJOR OSCAR LOVE
The strongest dog in this hunt is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,which picked up a whomping thirteen nominations here. Brad Pitt has a Best Actor slot,Tarji P. Henson is in the Best Supporting Actress section(no nom for Cate Blanchett in the leading lady area,hmm,wonder what's up with that),David Fincher has a Best Director spot and other places,with Best Picture as the cherry on the Academy sundae.
While CCOBB was expected to get some notice here,I don't think this much love was anticipated by film followers. I haven't seen the movie but had checked out several reviews and heard feedback from those who have,with the general verdict being that it's an okay movie,just not a great one. Of course,you could make the observation that a story about a man growing younger as he gets older is the ultimate Hollywood superstar's dream come true,but perhaps I'm being way too cynical about that.
This does like a truly intriguing Oscar race this year and I look forward to it with pleasure and popcorn by my side. Not sure who will be doing the hosting duties but hopefully,we will get a good MC to rock the house,just like Billy Crystal used to,back in the day:
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