Monday, June 2, 2008

And the Award for Best Award Show Goes To...

A couple of months ago I was griping about how boring the Oscar Awards were and how I thought they (and most award shows for the matter) were becoming completely irrelevant.

When I sit down to watch an awards show, I'm not there to see who wins or loses (I could check a complete list of winners online), I just want to be entertained. I honestly can't believe I'm saying this, but I was thoroughly entertained by last night's telecast of the MTV Movie Awards. It didn't take it self too seriously, it was very casual and more importantly, it was self-aware because nobody tried to hide the fact that all of the presenters were just there to promote new projects.

I haven't watched the MTV Movie Awards in a couple of years and officially gave up on the network's Video Music Awards after last year's train wreck and I only tuned in last night because Mike Myers was hosting (say what you want about his crappy new film "The Love Guru" but he gets a free pass in my book because there's still people out there dropping an occasional "Yeah, baby!" or "Do I make you horny?" Anytime you can get morons to keep quoting lines from a movie you made 11 years ago, you can trot out whatever atrocity you want.) But I decided to stay after he decided to ditch the standard corny opening monologue jokes and instead engaged music artist Chris Brown in a team vs. team dance-off (I was sold when Myers was out of dance moves and lifted his shirt and moved his gut in a wave-like motion).

No one, except "Juno's" Ellen Paige, took their acceptance speech seriously and most of the skits or pre-packaged videos were legitimately entertaining (there were a couple of clunkers like the Orbitz gum bit with Verne Troyer from "Austin Powers" and "The Love Guru" that was just bizarre). And this awards show features some of the best categories ever, including Best Fight, Best Kiss, Best Villain, and my personal favorite, Best Summer Movie So Far... you know, stuff that people actually talk about after seeing a movie.

It didn't matter that all the winners were from teeny-bopper movies that I had never seen, the show got all the credibility it needed by giving two awards to uber-star Johnny Depp, who received the biggest reaction from the audience both times he ambled out on the stage to pickup his popcorn statue. Who cares that it was a stretch that he won for Best Comedic Performance (he even seemed surprised), I was more concerned with the fact that he was born in Kentucky and now somehow has a British accent. Also, the show landed some extra cred by getting Coldplay to perform their first ever live performance of the title track from their new album, "Viva La Vida" which drops later this month.

All of that was good and great but here were my top three highlights of the night:

3. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in the "Wayne's World" skit.

Um... WOW.

Apparently the two had a big falling out in the mid to late 90's over a Lorne Michaels inspired character that Myers obviously used as Dr. Evil in his "Austin Powers" trilogy so it was, well, Excellent! to see them together again in one of my favorite "SNL" sketches of all time. And yes, it did make me feel old as hell that half of the younger audience had no idea who these characters were.

2. Adam Sandler's tribute to himself. I've been planning a Sandler themed column to write when his new film "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" or "Don't Mess With the Zohan" or whatever it's called comes out so I will keep my comments about him brief here but again, this is why this particular award show was better than most. This was technically a lifetime achievement/generational award or something and those are always brutally long and boring during real award ceremonies but this was great. Tom Cruise introduced him and instead of a watered-down speech, Sandler brought out his guitar and sang Carly Simon's "Nobody Does it Better" (from the "Spy Who Loved Me" James Bond movie) to HIMSELF. And yes, it did make me feel old as hell that Adam Sandler was receiving a life time achievement award.

3. Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. trying to film an internet video that will (A) promote their new movie "Tropic Thunder" and (B) impress Stiller's teen-aged nephew, who has seen it all when it comes to media spectacles. From Stiller and Downey's passive-aggressive interplay to Downey beating the life out of Black (wearing a giant Panda head from his other upcoming summer flick "Kung Fu Panda"), I literally had to pause the DVR because I was laughing so hard. These three are great together this year and they even stole the show at the "American Idol" finale as they provided back-up vocals and dance moves to Gladys Knight on one of my Top 3 favorite songs of all-time ("Midnight Train to Georgia"). A lot of people are down on "Tropic Thunder" but I can not wait. If you don't get the fact that Downey is trying to pull something off that hasn't been effectively done since Peter Sellers than please don't buy a ticket and then complain about it afterwards.

Ok, so now reading this back, this event was basically just a Josh Mahler love fest featuring guys like Myers, Carvey, Sandler, Stiller, Black, and Downey. Maybe this was just one of those shows that connected with some one like me because I actually knew the people on the stage (I did have to ask my Girlfriend who Chris Brown was) and they were genuinely funny to me.

The show started at 8 p.m. and ended promptly at 10. I was never bored or restless and I turned off the television satisfied and entertained. The truly sad part is now I will actually tune into another Emmy's or Oscars or Grammy's or whatever and will be looking for the same thing that I got last night.

Sometimes, in cases like this, there is nothing worse than hope; but it was fun while it lasted.

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