Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Movies People Actually Saw Awards

Ok, so I forced myself to sit through the Oscars again this year and I couldn't help but feel like they are getting more and more irrelevant as each year goes by. I wrote and talked about this to death last year so I will save you from that soap box again but it got me thinking.

In my humble opinion there are currently no relevant awards for movies. People Choice are too trailer trash, Golden Globes are too European, and the Oscars are too artsy fartsy. The closest we have are the MTV awards and of course there is no credibility there. I want a prestigious award for movies that people actually saw last year (you know, like the Oscars used to be).

So naturally, I had to come up with my own - The Movies People Actually Saw Awards or the MPASAs (pronounced: em-pah-sahs. You gotta give it that little Spanish kick!) Actually we can do this together. I will present you with my list of nominees and let's vote (I'll post the results next week on

Looking back now, 2008 was a weird year for movies. While it was certainly better than 2007 (as proved by the nominees below), 2008 did see some of the WORST movies released in recent memory - I'm talking to you "Zohan", "Love Guru", and "Get Smart". We were a "Pink Panther 2" away from witnessing one of the most wretched collections of movies released in a single year ever known to man.

But let's focus on the good, shall we??

Here you go. the 1st Annual MPASA nominees (listed alphabetically). Looking forward to seeing your selections!

Best Movie
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Night
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire*
Tropic Thunder
*I know not everyone saw Slumdog, but you should. It wasn't nearly as good as "Ben Button" but it's still a great film

Best Actor
Christian Bale (Dark Knight)
Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man)
Brad Pitt (Ben Button)
Paul Rudd (Role Models)
Will Smith (Hancock)

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett (Ben Button)
Eva Mendes (The Spirit)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City)
Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia!)
Renee Zellweger (Leatherheads)

Best Supporting Actor
Rob Corddry (What Happens in Vegas)
Robert Downey, Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
James Franco (Pineapple Express)
Heath Ledger (Dark Knight)
Steve Martin (Baby Mama)

Best Supporting Actress
Isla Fisher (Definitely, Maybe)
Taraji P. Henson (Ben Button)
Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire)
Amy Poehler (Baby Mama)

Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
David Fincher (Ben Button)
Frank Miller (The Spirit)
Christopher Nolan (Dark Knight)
Pete Travis (Vantage Point)

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Ok, there has been a unexplained phenomenon on Facebook the past couple of days and I don't understand it. But whatever reason, EVERYONE has been posting this "25 Random Things About Me" thing and it's the cool thing to do right now, I guess.

As you will see from my list below, I typically buck against the latest fads but I actually spent over two hours the other day coming up with this list (I don't mind doing something trendy when it focuses on me, I suppose!).

My list is still obviously posted on Facebook but I wanted to post it here too because a lot of my readers have been wise enough not to get ensnared by the trappings of online community sites.

Stay far, far away!

If you are one of the eight people on the planet that hasn't done your list yet, feel free to do so in the comment section below this posting.

Here are the rules:

You are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you

Here are 25 Random Things About Me:

1. I hate Facebook. MySpace was way easier to use and I don't know why everyone switched over. It took me over an hour to figure out just how to post this stupid thing.

2. Other than having my current friends and family, I wish I had been born in 1960 instead of 1980. I would have loved to have been in my 20's during the 1980's. I would have been big into the capitalist movement, had a "Cheers" tv group, gone to every Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen concert (when they were still rocking for real), been a big time reporter (since they still existed back then), and there would have been no intrusive technology.

3. I hate technology.

4. A lot of my self worth comes from the success of my favorite pro sports teams.

5. The Phillies winning the World Series went along way but I will never be right until the Eagles win a Super Bowl.

6. The best seasons in the history of television are:
(1.) Season five of "Frasier", (2.) season four of "Friends", and (3.) season three of "The Office". This will not be debated.

7. I know I'm not a great journalist or even a great writer, I just try to bring a passionate and unique perspective to relateable topics.

8. I'm scared of jumping the shark as a writer. It happened to Kornheiser and Simmons and they are reasons I'm writing today. If it can happened to them, it can happen to anyone.

9. Aaron Sorkin never jumped, he just got too political.

10. Self awareness is the one attribute I try to remain constantly aware of.

11. Lack of self awareness is my biggest pet peeve.

12. I value personal relationships more than I will ever let on.

13. Without trying to, I typically like the things that no one else likes. It turns me off when something I like gets too big.

14. My two favorite acting performances of all time are: (1.) Val Kilmer in "Tombstone" and (2.) Robert Downey, Jr. in "Tropic Thunder".

15. Heath Ledger as the Joker wold be on the list, but like I said, I lose interest when something gets too much hype.

16. Why can't sports movies be like "The Natural" or "Hoosiers" anymore? If I see one more Disney produced carbon copy of "Glory Road-The Rookie-Miracle-We Are Marshall-Invincible", I will jam a pen through my eye.

17. Sports stories are best when they are mythic first. Any inspiration that comes from it is just an added bonus.

18. For my money, Roy Hobbs is the greatest baseball player to ever live.

19. Don't tell anyone but I actually like pro basketball better than college for two reasons: (1.) Yeah, NBA players don't really try for most of the season but when they do, there is nothing better and (2). As I get older it's getting more difficult to get emotionally invested in 18 year olds.

20. I wish I liked suishi. I love the idea of suishi.

21. I wish Tom Hanks would do another comedy.

22. I'm fine with the fact that I will never be a good golfer. I'd rather be bad at golfing than good at any thing else.

23. I refuse to spend more than $20 on jeans. $25 if I'm rolling in the dough.

24. Even water taste better when you're drinking it from a nice, sturdy tumbler glass.

25. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it, the correct way to say the plural form of monetary coins is "CENTS" not "cent". Sorry, I don't have 25 cent for you to borrow. I do have a quarter, which is 25 cents, but I'm not going to give it to you.

Putting the "Super" Back in the Super Bowl

Was it just me or was the Super Bowl really entertaining yesterday?

Usually the game is just way over-hyped, the commercials are dumb, the half time act is lack luster, and the TV show that follows the game is traditionally disappointing; but for whatever reason, I enjoyed... everything!

The Game

I was intrigued by the Steelers-Cardinals match up from the beginning and even though they beat the Eagles in the NFC Championship game, I was randomly a huge Arizona fan during the Super Bowl. I love Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and I did not want the Steelers to become the first team to win six Super Bowls because they will never be regarded as the greatest NFL franchise of all time. They are a great NFL franchise, mind you, but they're not the greatest.

The game obviously turned on that whacky James Harrison INT right before the half. The score was 10-7 and the Cardinals were inside the Steelers' five yard line about to either take the lead with a touchdown or tie it up before the half.

No, Kurt Warner had to turn into Donovan McNabb for eight seconds and tried to throw a pass to Boldin in between a linebacker and corner who both had good coverage. I've watched the replay a hundred times and I still have no idea what he thought he saw.

What was really bizarre was the fact that no Cardinal could chase down Harrison who looked like he was running in slow motion down the sideline.

So instead of the game being tied or the Cardinals being up, the Steelers led 17-7 at the half and then added a field goal in the boring third quarter before the Arizona offense finally woke up in the fourth and gave us all an epic finish.

Where does this game rank all time?

I still think the Denver-Green Bay game in '98 is the best I've ever watched and I would have to think about the '91 Giants-Bills game and last year's contest between the Giants and Patriots but this one is up there.

The question becomes how much weight does the fourth quarter bring to the conversation because other than the Harrison INT, the second and third quarters weren't entertaining.

I like Mike Tomlin a lot so it wasn't a total loss but it was a shame to see the meteoric rise of Fitz end without a ring.

I hate to see greatness wasted.

Before these playoffs, I never thought I would even think about a wide receiver in the same terms as Jerry Rice just because of what Rice did in the playoffs year in and year out, but if Fitz can sniff the postseason a few more times it will be an interesting topic to monitor.

The Commercials

I can't figure out why but I felt like the commercials were (overall) great this year. They just seemed to reach my sensibilities and sense of humor I guess.

Maybe the new "G.I. Joe" movie trailer was such a great start to the ads that I was just in a good mood after that. I don't know but that one along with the Conan O'Brien Bud Light spot, the Troy Polamalu Coke Zero "Mean" Joe Green redux, the Doritos crystal ball, and the Pepsi ads featuring "MacGruber" (and MacGyver) from "Saturday Night Live" were outstanding to me.

I actually went to this morning and watched them all again, and I've never done that after a Super Bowl.

The Half Time Show

I'm so happy about that Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" happened a few years ago. Because of that stupid incident the Super Bowl got away from annoying hip hop acts and now feature artists that I really like.

I loved Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers last year and I LOVED The Boss and the E Street Band this year. At that point, I actually didn't care about the game anymore, I just wanted to hear more Bruce and I almost stopped by a store to pick up his new album on the way home after the game.

One girl at the party I was at commented that she missed the half time show being more hip and I couldn't disagree more. I'm not hip, you see, so this new direction suits me just fine.

The Post Super Bowl episode of "The Office"

Um... so that was definitely the greatest television episode to EVER follow a Super Bowl and that might be one of the greatest episodes in the history of television. I'm going to watch it a few more times and do a little research and get back to you on that one but I'm thinking that it's definitely in the conversation now.

I love "The Office" but usually their hour episodes are terrible and run out of gas after 40 minutes so my expectations were low going into this one, especially with the extra hype of having to follow the Super Bowl ON TOP of the fact that this was supposed to be the night they debuted the spin off, which obviously didn't happen.

My biggest complaint with "The Office" recently is that there have been too many continuing story arcs and that they have spent too much time out side of the, well, office. What made the show great early on was that every episode was self contained and was just another day at the office.

And they finally got back to this is a big way last night.

Whether or not this was the greatest episode of all time doesn't matter, it was hands down the greatest opening to a television episode ever and that needs no debate.

Dwight's "fire drill" had me on the edge of my seat and some how they made something so potentially horrifying so hilarious at the same time. It was like the Nightcrawler scene at the White House at the beginning of "X-Men 2". It was so amazing that I almost wanted to stop watching because nothing that followed could top it.

Until the CPR training scene.

I was laughing so hard, I was crying. My sides and stomach hurt and I was temporarily afraid that I was going to stop breathing.

In that moment, the show hit the "Cheers" stratosphere for me. In that these people hate their jobs, hate their boss, and hate their lives but as soon as Andy starts singing "Staying Alive" they can't help but grooving together to the music.

They can't help but be the losers that they are.

That's what "Cheers" perfected and that's where "The Office" is headed and as a I wannabe writer, I can't tell you how poetic and brilliant that is to watch when it is perfected like that.

There were so many great lines too.

Michael: "Nobody should go to work thinking this is where I'm going to die. That's what hospitals are for."

Creed, out of nowhere to the CPR training lady: "You were from the parking lot earlier. That's how I know you!"

Phyllis: "You almost killed Stanley." Dwight: "Yeah right, I filled him full of butter and sugar for fifty years and forced him not to exercise."

Michael: "Kevin, I can't decide between a fat joke and dumb joke."

Oh, so good... I'm actually going to hurry up and wrap this up because I want to go watch it all again. A great night all in all. I had a fun time catching up with an old friend and meeting some new ones.

Maybe it was just an unexpected, one time thing but it was good to see the Super Bowl act so super.