Saturday, February 27, 2016

MY OFFICIAL 2015 OSCAR PREDICTIONS! Lawyer's Note: David Baruffi reserves all rights to change/alter any all predictions, prior to, during, and after the Awards are handed out. These predictions are in no way official, nor are they predictions.)

This has been a particularly strange Oscar season. Not just for Oscar prognosticators like myself, who are basically more confused than ever before on who's going to win, and yes, this is just a goddamn confusing year, but this has basically been more of a year, that's about the Oscars as an organization as a whole, I would say. Are they racist, are they sexist, why wasn't FILM X or FILM Y or PERSON A or whatever nominated or whatever; The Oscars are now, mostly a hashtag now than they are an actual award show. To their "credit", and I use that word loosely, they're making efforts to, correct any of these supposed issues in the future, which is a good thing, and on the surface, none of these things they recommend are problematic, although who knows, I do in theory, like the idea of making sure people who have worked in the industry, even within the last ten years, which by the way, this has often been a point of discussion amongst even within some of the Guilds on minor issues, I won't name names, but this is something that's been, developing over a while. Anyway, since this is such a strange year in general, and we're really re-calibrating out perspective on the legitimacy or relevance of the A.M.P.A.S. or for that matter, the Academy Awards in general. I-eh, well,... hmm. You know, we'll analyze the entire problems with the Academy Awards, some other time, in fact, I may do that in lieu of an Oscar post-mortem, or possibly in addition to one, (especially since I don't have a computer at the moment and will likely be unable to post on the Oscars until Tuesday, and I have other work to be doing anyway.) 'cause there are things that need to happen within the organization, and these aren't even things that necessarily alter or change the nominees or winners of the Oscars in the future, but just, things in general that need to be done to improve the Academy to the point where we won't see them get hijacked by the audience and the viewers.

We'll talk about that, later, but right now, let's talk about the show, and go over every single category, and who's going to win. Well, this is a weird year to predict, I'm not confident in these picks at all, even I'm also completely positive that these are indeed the correct, and that any results to the contrary is the result of a widespread Academy conspiracy in which results are altered in order to debunk the truth about my prognosticating abilities, (Which is also something the Oscars should stop doing.) but yeah, this is an erratic year and more categories than usual are up in the air, often between more than two likely and/or probable winners, so, this is not a year I suspect that I'm gonna win your office poll, especially with so many conflicting tea leaves, everywhere, this is really hard to dissect, but we're gonna take our best shot at it. Remember these are, "Predictions", not preferences, I haven't seen most of the nominated films yet, I will soon, but these are not preferences, they're predictions on who will win, got it? So, good luck Chris Rock, here we go, let's predict the Oscar winners!

(Lawyer's note: David Baruffi reserves all rights to change/alter any all predictions, prior to, during, and after the Awards are handed out. These predictions are in no way official, nor are they predictions.)

The Big Short-Pro.: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner
Bridge of Spies-Pro.: Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristi Macosco-Kreiger
Brooklyn-Pro.: Fiona Dwyer & Amanda Posey
Mad Max: Fury Road-Pro.: Doug Mitchell and George Miller
The Martian-Pro.: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam
The Revenant-Pro.: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redman
Room-Pro.: Ed Guiney
Spotlight-Pro.: Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust

Oh dear God, this is a pick'em. Okay, the PGA went for "The Big Short", the SAG awards went for, for Outstanding Ensemble Cast to "Spotlight" and they'll probably sweep the Spirit Awards later, The Golden Globes and BAFTA went for "The Revenant", so did surprisingly the DGA, which I'm still amazed went that, I'm not eliminating the strong possibility that "Mad Max: Fury Road" could steal this, the Globes also went with "The Martian", in Comedy, and that's a whole other kettle of worms that's not relevant, but basically, it's between "The Big Short", "Mad Max..." "The Revenant" and "Spotlight", and yes, it is a four-horse race, a legitimate one. "Mad Max..." shows up on the most Guild Award, "The Revenant"'s got the most momentum, neither has a Screenplay, both of which I felt were weird, there's some talk about the lack of dialogue being the reasons for that, for both film, but that's absolute bullshit 'cause A. "The Artist" got into Screenplay the year it won, but also if they cared that much about great dialogue then why the hell weren't Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin's scripts nominated, and the last two times that has happened and won Best Picture were "Titanic" and "The Sound of Music", so that seems wrong, but no movie that's about journalism has ever won the Oscar, (Unless you really stretch and call "It Happened One Night" a journalism movie, which, no that's a stretch and a half) so "Spotlight" doesn't seem right, but "The Big Short" couldn't even win at Golden Globes against a non-comedy. but can "Mad Max..." actually be an Oscar film, AGH! I legitimately don't think you can eliminate the possibility of a tie. If you want a really weird, huge gamble prop bet, I would bet on a tie for Best Picture, that's how close this is and could be.
PREDICTION: "Spotlight"-I literally went Eenie Meanie Miney Mo, landed on "Spotlight".

Lenny Abrahamson-"Room"
Alejandro G. Inarritu-"The Revenant"
Adam McKay-"The Big Short"
Tom McCarthy-"Spotlight"
George Miller-"Mad Max: Fury Road"

I still can't believe the DGA gave the award to Inarritu again. I just-, I have no idea, and I just. Back-to-back Directing Oscars and just, unthinkable. It's happened twice, once they did that for John Ford, for "The Grapes of Wrath" and "How Green Was My Valley" in '41 and '42 respectively, "How Green Was My Valley," you might remember, was the film that beat "Citizen Kane", so that was partly a vote against that film at the time, but, John Ford, also made hundreds of films, so maybe they just gave it to him because they admired him, deservedly so much, (And he did deserve it for "The Grapes of Wrath") and the only other time this happened was in '50 and '51, when, bizarrely Joseph L. Mankeiwicz won back-to-back for "A Letter to Three Wives" and "All About Eve", and he also won for writing those films, and deservedly so, at least for "All About Eve", that's an incredible script, "A Letter to Three Wives", won in one of the weakest Oscar years ever; it lost Best Picture to "All the King's Men", but John Ford is recognized as a legendary director, even before he won those back-to-back Oscars, Mankiewicz, is a good director, but not a great one by any means, he's more known as a screenwriter; I was actually shocked when I learned that he won back-to-back, and Inarritu, I-, I can't believe they're gonna give it to him twice in a row, especially against "Mad Max: Fury Road", which-, if ever there was a Directing movie, that's it. Maybe, once I see "The Revenant" I'll get it, but I-, I don't get it right now, and BAFTA gave it to him, Globes, etc., but both of those awards owed him; they gave Inarritu three Oscars last year, I can't believe they'll give him a fourth so quickly, much less five, I-, I may be wrong on this but, I'm calling the upset.
PREDICTION: George Miller-"Mad Max: Fury Road"

Bryan Cranston-"Trumbo"
Matt Damon-"The Martian"
Leonardo DiCaprio-"The Revenant"
Michael Fassbender-"Steve Jobs"
Eddie Redmayne-"The Danish Girl"

Oh, thank god, the easy categories. Look, I've never understood, at all, this huge upswell of how come Leonardo DiCaprio has never won an Oscar; I think I could've thought about twenty or thirty people working today who I'm way more upset has never won than DiCaprio (Jennifer Jason Leigh would be one of them btw). Yes, I did think he should've won for "The Wolf of Wall Street", but that was it, every other year I would've voted for someone else, but it's big enough now, there's no real competition, they're not giving it to Eddie Redmayne twice in a row, yada, yada, yada, DiCaprio's won every precursor, he was winning them before "The Revenant" even became a legitimate Best Picture contender, etc. etc.
PREDICTION: Leonardo DiCaprio-"The Revenant"

Cate Blanchett-"Carol"
Brie Larson-"Room"
Jennifer Lawrence-"Joy"
Charlotte Rampling-"45 Years"
Saoirse Ronan-"Brooklyn"

I might've predicted Charlotte Rampling in an upset, since she's such a legend, her first nomination, etc. etc., and then she said that stupid thing about the Academy rules being "racist to whites". Goddamn it, Europe, can you please go through your Civil rights movement already; I've seen what you do to the African soccer players at games, stop it! Ah, anyway, Brie Larson's winning this easily, nobody came up to beat her, she's got Leo's record of winning every precursor, etc. etc. the film way over-performed at the Oscar nominations themselves,... yeah, easy pick.
PREDICTION: Brie Larson-"Room"

Christian Bale-"The Big Short"
Tom Hardy-"The Revenant"
Mark Ruffalo-"Spotlight"
Mark Rylance-"Bridge of Spies"
Sylvester Stallone-"Creed"

Everybody and their mother is predicting Sylvester Stallone, and there is something to that. He won the Globe, and the Critics Choice, but I've not as convinced. Mark Rylance is the only nominee who's shown up at every Awards and won the BAFTA, granted some of that might be because "Creed" didn't screen in time for some awards, plus, it's "Creed"'s only nomination and Stallone gave a lousy speech at the Globes, (I know that's debatable, but forgetting to thank the Director and Stars, in this year? Yikes!) and even though Idris Elba won at SAG and he's not nominated here, I-eh, I'm not as sure that means it's a lock for Stallone. I mean, "Creed" didn't screen early enough, according to some for SAG, 'cause SAG is insane and holds they're awards way too damn early, but even still. Rylance and Ruffalo are tied for second choices and if Tom Hardy wins here, this could be a foreshadower of "The Reverent" winning. (Same with Bale for "The Big Short", although he just won recently so I don't think that's gonna happen.) I'm just not sold on Stallone winning here and I'm looking elsewhere. "Bridge of Spies" overperformed and except maybe for Production Design, and that's a stretch, it doesn't really look like it's in the running anywhere else. Ruffalo's overdue, and people love "Spotlight", that could be an upset, and they need to take something if it's gonna win Picture. (Right now, if you're predicting it for Best Picture, it's only other expected win according to most prognosticators is Screenplay, and the last time a Best Picture winner won with only two wins was "The Greatest Show on Earth" in '52, and there's a weird anomaly in that movie, where for some reason it wasn't nominated for Cinematography when it probably would've won there if it was in.) I don't know, Stallone is overdue, sorta, he didn't win for either Screenplay or Acting for "Rocky", and he wasn't listed as a Producer for some reason at the time, and yeah, it's a good story, but do the Oscars actually like that story? Eddie Murphy had a similar story arc for his nomination for "Dreamgirls", and he lost. Hmm.
PREDICTION: Mark Rylance-"Bridge of Spies"-I'll be happy if I'm wrong on this, but I think this is an upset.

Jennifer Jason Leigh-"The Hateful Eight"
Rooney Mara-"Carol"
Rachel McAdams-"Spotlight"
Alicia Vikander-"The Danish Girl"
Kate Winslet-"Steve Jobs"

This is another category where literally everybody nominated I can make a case for winning. Rooney Mara's really a lead in the wrong category, so is Alicia Vikander for "The Danish Girl", and she's won every time she's been nominated in this category, but nobody seems to like "The Danish Girl", it didn't even do well at BAFTA overall. Rachel McAdams can sneak in for "Spotlight" instead of Ruffalo, and she's long overdue, and-, I have this weird feeling that we're all underestimating Jennifer Jason Leigh. Longtime overdue actress, respected by the industry, played roles for years that no other actress would touch, her first nomination ever, Tarantino film supporting performance, this is how Cristoph Waltz won, and she also has not been up against most of the nominees at other award shows until now. Still, I can't quite for her, "The Hateful Eight" way underperformed, although so did every other film in this category. Vikander also has the fact that she's in another film, "Ex Machina" that eeked out a couple nominations at the Oscars and other awards, so she's got that too. Maybe she can get in here the way Renee Zellweger won for "Cold Mountain", but is she that inevitable a victor? I don't know, seems odd, and it seems like anybody who saw "Steve Jobs" is more willing to give Winslet her second Oscar.
PREDICTION: Kate Winslet-"Steve Jobs" (Shrugs, I don't know, just playing a hunch here.)

The Big Short-Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Brooklyn-Nick Hornby
Carol-Phyllis Nagy
The Martian-Drew Goddard
Room-Emma Donaghue

I guess, "Room" and maybe on the outside "The Martian" have shots at this, especially "Room", but "The Martian" underperformed everywhere and "Room", they're already giving Larson so there's no need. I could see Nick Hornby, the only previous nominee and a legendary writer across multiple mediums, (Many of his novels have been adapted into popular films) and he wasn't nominated for "Wild" last year, but I-, I have a feeling that "Brooklyn"'s gonna do a lot better next year when the miniseries is up for Emmys. This is where "The Big Short" is most likely to win, it won the WGA Award, etc. I don't really see anything taking it.
PREDICTION: "The Big Short"-Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

Bridge of Spies-Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Ex Machina-Alex Garland
Inside Out-Pete Doctor, Meg LaFauve, Josh Cooley; Original Story by Pete Doctor and Ronnie del Carmen
Spotlight-Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy
Straight Outta Compton-Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

This is the only place where "Straight Outta Compton" got nominated, and in case you're wondering, all the nominees are white. Oops. (Sigh) Anyway, um, I guess there's a chance at an upset for maybe "Inside Out" or "Bridge of Spies", the latter being the only other Best Picture nominee in the category, but, I'm not seeing it. Tom McCarthy has been building a helluva reputation for years, taking a lot of small acting jobs see he can fund his independent feature films, which are amazing character pieces like "The Station Agent", "The Visitor", which got nominated for Richard Jenkins, he was a writer on "Up", so they know him from that. Yeah, this is an easy call.
PREDICTION: "Spotlight"-Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

Anomalisa-Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
Boy and the World-Ale Abreu
Inside Out-Pete Doctor and Jonas Rivera
Shaun the Sheep Movie-Mark Burton and richard Starzak
When Marnie Was There-Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Well, Charlie Kaufman's "Anomalisa" is probably the most likely-, oh forget it. If you need me to analyze this category for you then you probably shouldn't be making Oscar predictions anyway. "Inside Out"'s winning, end of discussion.
PREDICTION: "Inside Out"

Amy-Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
Cartel Land-Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
The Look of Silence-Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Serensen
What Happened, Miss Simone-Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom-Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmar

Okay, this category is a bit more complicated to predict. "Amy" seems like the obvious favorite, winning, pretty much at every awards so far, but it is a bio-documentary about a person, granted a famous one, but traditionally those films don't win. Usually it's whatever the most important subject the film tackles wins, but not lately. They opened up some of these categories in recent years to the entire Academy the last few years, Documentary and Foreign Language in particular, Documentary, this happened 'cause of the Weinstein "Undefeated" fiasco a few years ago, when clearly that film only won 'cause the branch was probably bought, but since then, more populist films have been winning. "The Look of Silence"'s filmmakers for instance, the sequel film they made to "The Act of Killing" which was considered the favorite to win a couple years ago until it lost to "20 Feet from Stardom" a film about background singers, might lost twice to a music film, this movie about the genocide of Indonesia, losing to pop music. But, "Amy" hasn't completely swept, "Cartel Land"'s stolen a couple awards, "What Happened, Miss Simone" is the Netflix film and they're pushing that to the moon to win, and "Winter on Fire" is about the troubles in Ukraine recently, although I think it's between "The Look of Silence", partially 'cause that film is owed, and "Amy", with "Cartel Land" as a possible spoiler. Still, "Amy" seems like it's just destined to win. What can I say, people like Amy Winehouse more than they like the drug trade or genocide; I suspect they do anyway.

A War-(Denmark)-Tobias Lindholm
Embrace of the Serpent (Columbia)-Crio Guerra
Mustang (France)-Deniz Gamze Erguven
Son of Saul (Hungary)-Laszlo Nemes
Theeb (Jordan)-Naji Abu Nawar

"Embrace of the Serpent" and "Theeb" are the first films from Columbia and Jordan respectively to get nominated in this category, so congratulations to them. "Son of Saul" has been the favorite for most of the race, I can't really imagine too many scenarios where it could lose, although I think "Mustang" is the one film I'm hearing about that's getting votes; I wouldn't be too surprised if "Theeb" could get in and steal it too, but that doesn't seem too likely. I think it's "Mustang" or "Son of Saul" and I'm seeing more people voting for "Son of Saul". Plus, it's been awhile since a Hungarian film won, you gotta go back to "Mephisto" in '81, which is the only Hungarian film to win in this category, and I don't think anybody wants to give another Oscar to France unless there's no other real option.
PREDICTION-"Son of Saul" (Hungary)

Carol-Ed Lachman
Mad Max: Fury Road-John Seale
The Hateful Eight-Robert Richardson
The Revenant-Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario-Roger Deakins

Man, Roger Deakins can't catch a break, thirteenth nomination, and still hasn't won and probably won't win here. I-eh, I thought this would be a two-man race between Seale and Lubezki, partly 'cause they're the obvious two, although "Carol"'s ed Lachman's, it's nice to see him nominated again, but the Academy didn't really like that film, or "The Hateful Eight", which didn't even get into the ASC Awards. Lubezki's won back-to-back years, that's happened a couple times, only once recently, that was John Toll's wins for "Legends of the Fall" and "Braveheart" back in the nineties, the only time it happened back when there was two Cinematography Oscar categories, one for Color and one for Black and White films, nobody's ever won this category three years in a row, but it just seems inevitable, and unlike with Inarritu at Director for "The Revenant" possibly winning twice in a row, Lubezki just is, the best cinematographer in the business right now, and there's no reason not to give it to the best.
PREDICTION: "The Revenant"-Emmanuel Lubezki

Carol-Sandy Powell
Cinderella-Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl-Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road-Jenny Beavan
The Revenant-Jacqueline West

"The Revenant" didn't even get into the Costume Designers Guild Awards, so I can't really imagine that winning. "The Danish Girl" and "Mad Max: Fury Road", won the Guild prizes, "Mad Max: Fury Road" also won at BAFTA; it's a little strange to think about that winning though, it's a fantasy piece, and certainly not the most obvious costumes, like "Cinderella" is, which is a lot of people are predicting, although I'm not sure about that. Sandy Powell's nominated twice, but I think those votes will split, making it a battle between "The Danish Girl" and "Mad Max..." and I don't think people liked "The Danish Girl" enough. "Mad Max..." also had the most original and different costumes as well.
PREDICTION: "Mad Max: Fury Road"

The Big Short-Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road-Margaret Sixel
The Revenant-Stephen Mirrione
Spotlight-Tom McArdle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens-Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Okay, this is the category that some will note, has one of the most accurate correlations to the Best Picture winner out there, but that's becoming an older myth than it used to be. Usually it's what some call "The Most Editing" that wins, that's not necessarily the case. Last year, "Whiplash" won for the music for instance. "The Big Short" has quite a bit of editing in it, and it did win at the ACE Eddies, the Editors' Guild Awards, but in the Comedy category, "Mad Max: Fury Road" still won in Drama. If "Spotlight" pulls off an upset here, look out for the upset at Best Picture, but I still wouldn't dismiss "Star Wars..." quite yet, since, here's the real kicker, action movies do well in this category, but that said, if you ask editors, they'll tell you, by a mile, the most difficult things there are to edit, are chase scenes, by a mile, they're the most complicated and most difficult things to edit. Too bad for "Star Wars..." there's a better chase movie nominated in the category. Plus Margaret Sixel is Miller's wife, so this would hypothetically be where you could honor him, yada, yada.
PREDICTION: "Mad Max: Fury Road"

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared-Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
Mad Max: Fury Road-Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
The Revenant-Sian Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Literally everybody nominated in the category is getting their first Oscar nomination, so there's nothing here to figure out who's due from that. The MUAH Awards, (Make Up and Hairstylist Guild, I didn't know that acronym either) are notoriously unpredictable but they did give "Mad Max: Fury Road" a win, as well as BAFTA, and it's the heavy favorite. "The 100-Year-Old Man..." does have very impressive makeup, but it's the other nominee (I have no idea why the MakeUp Branch insists on only three nominees, seriously that's the Branch's decision the Academy as a whole wants to expand the category to five and they should!) it's basically between "Mad Max..." and "The Revenant". I think it's possible for "The Revenant" to win, especially if it starts just sweeping everything, but I think once people think about it for half of a second, even those who weren't so thrilled with "Mad Max..." probably have to admire the makeup, there's a lot of it there.
PREDICTION: "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Bridge of Spies-Thomas Newman
Carol-Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight-Ennio Morricone
Sicario-Johann Johannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens-John Williams

Okay, for those counting, this is John Williams's fiftieth, yes 50th Oscar nomination, he is nine short of Walt Disney's record. Unusually, he didn't do the music for Spielberg's "Bridge of Spies" 'cause he was sick during the time so that went to "Thomas Newman", it's his 13th nomination, but he's never won. (Williams only has five wins btw). Still, Newman's got time to win in the future, while Ennio Morricone, doesn't. If you don't know who Morricone is, he's one of the greatest of all Film Composers, most notably, probably "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", which he wasn't nominated for. He's only been nominated five times, never won, they gave him an Honorary Oscar a few years ago, but.... as long as a drunk Tarantino doesn't speak for him, he should win. Some are predicting John Williams instead, which I find bizarre, I mean this is just a twist on his old original score for "Star Wars", so I-, (Shrugs). If there's some other place, Johann Johannsson, might be owed for losing last year for "The Theory of Everything" he was the favorite going in, but I don't see it. And the Weinstein's have let it known to push Morricone, so I think he's getting it.
PREDICTION: "The Hateful Eight"-Ennio Morricone

"Earned It"-Fifty Shades of Grey-Music/Lyric Abel tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
"Manta Ray"-Racing Extinction-Music: J. Ralph; Lyric: Antony Hegarty
"Simple Song #3"-Youth-Music/Lyric: David Lang
"Til It Happens to You"-The Hunting Ground-Music/Lyric: Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
"Writing's On the Wall"-Spectre-Music/Lyric: Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Okay, let's get this out of the way, people, I don't give a shit whether it was a good movie or not, (And yes, I did recommend the movie, and I stand by that recommendation)"Fifty Shades of Grey" does deserve to be nominated in this category, it had the Best Original Song of the year. It's not the song that was nominated, unfortunately. Seriously, "Love You Like I Do" by Ellie Goulding should be here, and it should've won, this The Weeknd song, it's, slow, boring, bleh as hell, they picked the wrong song. Although he is the only African-American nominated this year, so if they want to-, oh, he's African-Canadian. Hmm. Well, I can't think of the last African-Canadian to win an Oscar, so here you go folks, OSCAR DIVERSITY! (Actually, I looked it up, him and fellow songwriter Quenneville are indeed the first ever Black Canadians to get Oscar nominations) Alright, all seriousness, this is a fine category and it should stay here, and if people think it's such a horrible thing that "Fifty Shades of Grey" were to win an Oscar because of this category, eh,

"Song of the South"
"Born Free"
"The Towering Inferno"
"You Light Up My Life"
"The Woman in Red"
"White Nights"
"Dirty Dancing"
"Top Gun"

Yeah, alright some of you will fight me on some of those, (Honestly, I kinda liked "White Nights", I really shouldn't put that on there) but seriously, go back through this category's history, you'll be shocked, even at the films that got nominations. "Beethoven's 2nd" is an Oscar-nominated film, 'cause of the Best Song category. That's right, the sequel to that dumb movie with Charles Grodin and a dog, is Oscar worthy, but "Furious7" isn't. (And no, that song shouldn't have been nominated, that song's terrible. I'm sorry, but it is) (Mocking voice) "Fifty Shades..." being nominated, it's so horrendous, (Blows raspberries), how about the fact that these are the only nominations for all five of these films, that's weird. You know the last time that happened, besides 2011 when only two films were nominated and they've since changed the rules thankfully, before that, and not counting 2007 where "Enchanted" got three Best Song nominations and nothing else? It's never happened, although there's a couple years that came close but they had Original Song Score (Which technically is still a category now called "Best Musical", which they haven't given out since "Purple Rain" last won it due to a lack of eligible nominees) and Original Sound Recording Oscar categories. (Plus, they made a lot more musicals back then, so more films had original songs.) That's weird. Anyway, I've listened to all five songs, "Til It Happens to You" is the best, it's the only one with this great scope with it, really powerful feeling, sorta like another song from a documentary that won this category, Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up" from "An Inconvenient Truth". Plus, Lady Gaga, more importantly, Diane Warren, she's 0 for 7 in this category, the great legendary songwriter, for dozens of artists, she's way overdue. (By the way, one of her nominations is for "Mannequin", she wrote Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" for that movie, but nobody said anything about that piece of shit movie getting any Oscar nomination, did they. [And that's an awesome song btw]) Anyway, if there is an upset, it'll probably be either "Earned It" or maybe "Writing's On the Wall", the song from "Youth" "Simple Song #3" is a six-minute aria, ugh, and Manta Ray from "Racing Extinction" (Another weird fact, two Documentaries nominated in the category, I think that's a record, seven feature-length documentaries nominated at one Oscars, that's probably a record too) it's better than the song J. Ralph got nominated for "Chasing Ice", but yeah, I have a hard time imagining that it'll win.
PREDICTION: "Til It Happens to You"-"The Hunting Ground"-Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

Bridge of Spies-Pro.: Adam Stockhausen; Set: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
The Danish Girl-Pro.: Eve Stewart; Set: Michael Standish
Mad Max: Fury Road-Pro.: Colin Gibson; Set: Lisa Thompson
The Martian-Pro.: Arthur Max; Set: Celia Bobak
The Revenent-Pro.: Jack Fisk; Set: Hamish Purdy

Okay my initial thought was "The Danish Girl", being the most lavish production, "Most Production Design", see above for "Most Costume Design", but it lost at the ADG Awards to "The Revenant", which is a bit surprising to me, but still.... "The Martian" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" also won in their categories, and "Mad Max: Fury Road" won at BAFTA and Critics Choice Awards, eh, they seem to be the favorites, but this isn't the most reliable award, it's only 50% accurate in general. I can't imagine "The Martian" has any real momentum to win any category, and I can't rule out "Bridge of Spies", but Stockhausen did win last year for "The Grand Budapest Hotel". I think "The Reverent" has a chance, but I think, when you think back, all the things that had to be designed and created and built for "Mad Max....", I think that's gonna tip the scales. It might not be the most obvious production design, but it seems like the one that would most likely get recognized.
PREDICTION: "Mad Max: Fury Road"

Mad Max: Fury Road-Mark Mangini and David White
The Martian-Oliver Tarney
The Revenant-Martin Hernandez and Lou Bender
Sicario-Alan Robert Murray
Star Wars: The Force Awakens-Matthew Wood and David Acord

Okay, the sound awards are a little trick to figure out, the CAS Awards, which is the Sound Mixers Guild, Cinema Audio Society gave their award to "The Revenant", and BAFTA also gave them that award, although they don't separate between editing and mixing, but it's a bit tricky. That makes sense to me though, 'cause there's a lot of outdoor scenes in "The Revenant" and creating that ambiance and especially if you know anything about microphones and recording sounds outside in weather condition, etc. Um, yeah, I kinda was leaning "Mad Max..." here, but yeah, how many people truly know the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing and whatnot, but if they do....
PREDICTION: "The Reverent"

Bridge of Spies-Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
Mad Max: Fury Road-Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
The Martian-Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac ruth
The Reverent-Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montano, Randy Thom and Christ Duesterdiek
Star Wars: The Force Awakens-Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Now, while Sound Mixers went with "The Revenant", I'm kinda leaning more towards "Mad Max: Fury Road" for Sound Mixing, and give the Editing to "The Reverent". It's a bit weird to split them when there isn't, like a war movie or a music film involved, but I think this is right. "Mad Max: Fury Road" was like a wall of sound, and that's all post-editing, so I'm calling it Mixing. Bit of a gamble here, 'cause these are critical award in the office pool, but yeah, unless one of the outer space films steals these....
PREDICTION: "Mad Max: Fury Road

Ex Machina-Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
Mad Max: Fury Road-Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
The Martian-Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
The Revenant-Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens-Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

This is a bit of a tricky category to analyze. Usually, you can pretty safely bet that the winner will always be the most respected film, preferably a Best Picture nominee. Okay, in this case, there's three of them. Shit. Alright, I'm just gonna presume "The Martian" is probably out of it, since it completely underperformed everywhere, I can't imagine it's stealing it. Okay, "Mad Max: Fury Road", it does have special effects, but oddly, it's not as obvious as it seems. A lot of it is just explosions and car crashes and whatnot. It's a lot and it's done incredibly well. "The Revenant" doesn't have as much special effects, but it has a big one that everyone's been talking about, and even if it doesn't sweep through, it's plausible that it could take the award over "Mad Max...". The VES Awards, are a bit confusing, but they don't help completely, "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "The Revenant" both won separate awards but the big award actually went to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", and yeah, that's the other movie. It's hard to figure out exactly where "Star Wars" fits in compared to the Best Picture films, but if there's a weird year where it won't go to a Best Picture nominee, other than last year when there were no Best Picture nominees in the category, it probably is this one. Gold Derby has this, practically a coin flip between "Mad Max" and "Star Wars", eh....
PREDICTION: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Bear Story-Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
Prologue-Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
Sanjay's Super Team-Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
We Can't Live Without Cosmos-Konstantin Bronzit
World of Tomorrow-Don Hertzfeldt

Okay, the short film categories, these are always the trickiest. These categories, I think are more open than previous to the entire Academy although I don't know exactly how many voters vote on these, but if it's mostly animation people, then there's definitely in an interesting conundrum. For one thing, there's couple animation legends in the category, "Prologue" is directed by the legendary Richard Williams, who's already a 2-time Oscar winner, including once in this category for "A Christmas Carol" back in '72, great short film, and also for Visual Effects for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", which on top of that, he won a Special Achievement Oscar for. We also have Don Hertzfeldt's film, "World of Tomorrow", which is already getting rave reviews everywhere and is tied with Sanjay's Super Team" as the favorite, and he's also got the added factor of having never won before. If people watch the movies, I have a feeling "World of Tomorrow" could steal this, if not, than "Sanjay's..." I don't suspect "Prologue" is really that beloved. I have seen "We Can't Live Without Cosmos", it's the only one I have, it was okay, but yeah, I don't suspect that's in the running.
PREDICTION: "World of Tomorrow"

Ava Maria-Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
Day One-Henry Hughes
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)-Patrick Vollrath
Shok-Jamie Donoughue
Stutterer-Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Okay, everyone's a first-time nominee so there's nobody here who might win 'cause of their connections and status in Hollywood, it happens, surprisingly often actually. Gold Derby currently has "Avae Maria" ahead, but from what I've heard, a lot of voters are looking for something else to give it to. The second choice seems to be between "Shok", the first film from Kosovo to get an Oscar nomination, and "Stutterer" a British film about dating. Just looking through the trailers, I'm actually a little surprised that no one seems to think "Day One" has much of a chance to win. My gut's telling me "Shok", but my head's telling me, when there's a split for the second choice, always bet on the favorite.

Body Team 12-David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Chau, Beyond the Lines-Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Claude Lanzmann: Spectre of the Shoah-Adam Benzine
A Girl in the River-Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom-Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Wait, did I forget to do Documentary Short for my Oscar Nominations Analysis? Goddamn it! I need to get a computer soon; these rushing through blogs at the library is really starting to effect me. Okay, last category, let's get through it, Documentary Short, this category is a bit all over the map, and I can see arguments for each of the films winning. "Body Team 12", is currently the frontrunner, although I did correctly predict "Claude Lanzmann..." would get in, if you don't know who he is, he directed "Shoah", the legendary nine-hour documentary about the Holocaust that's not only often considered the best film about the Holocaust, it's often named among the Best Films ever made. It was not nominated for Best Documentary, one of numerous failures of the Documentary Branch back in the pre-"Hoop Dreams" scandal days, although it is nine hours long, it's a little unseemly, so it's reasonable to presume this would be the time to honor it. A movie about the Holocaust and about filmmaking, that's almost an Oscar wet dream you never see. And yet, I've heard people just dismiss it as a DVD extra that somehow found it's way into this category. That could be the case. "A Girl in the River" about honor killings in Pakistan, that's got some fans. "Chau, Beyond the Lines" is about the effects of Agent Orange, which, I actually happened to have seen a rare 60-minute documentary a few years back called "Agent Orange: 30 Years Later", I don't remember hearing about that film getting much of a release even on the festival circuit, but yeah, if this movie is half-as-powerful as that was, (And that's wasn't exactly the greatest or most in-depth documentary every), then it probably deserves the nomination, but is probably too hard to sit through to vote for it. And the Apple in the bag of oranges is "Last Day of Freedom", which is an animated documentary short, (Yes documentaries can be animated films, and it's not even unprecedented at the Oscars, One of the rare ties in Oscar history involved an animated short film, "So Much for So Little", which was directed by Chuck Jones btw, winning this category along with "A Chance to Live" which was an old March of Dimes short. I'm not quite where they're going with this here, but, I'm just gonna play it safe, and presume that filmmaking, Holocaust, and making up for an Academy mistake, even arbitrarily since Lanzmann himself isn't a nominee (Although he is attending the ceremony) is a little too much to ignore.
PREDICTION: "Claude Lanzmann: Spectre of the Shoah"

Alright, we're done. Let's get ready for the Oscar. Post-mortem will be posted Tuesday, check for updates, and it'll be a little different Oscar post-mortem than before too, I can tell you that already, so look out for it. Sorry it's not right after the show as normal, but, I promise, it'll be different than others.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016



Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Michael Crichton and David Koepp based on the novel by Michael Crichton

Alright, full disclosure on this one, I really, really don't understand why "Jurassic Park" is so highly-regarded and well-remembered. I got the appeal of it at the time, but still? We like this enough for three sequels now?

(Frustrated sigh)

Are there more Ross Gellar's in the world than I actually think there are; I mean, I know there are paleontologists and archeologists and whatnot but, I-eh- do we really like dinosaurs this much that this is still fondly remembered and recalled as one of his best films? This wasn't even his best film in 1993; I'll add "Schindler's List" to this canon eventually, but I've seen people think of it as his best. I don't think I'd even rank it among Spielberg's Top 20 features. Admittedly, that's as much a tribute to Spielberg's body of work than anything else, but this is basically just a well-made horror movie. Take out the dinosaurs and it's "Re-Animator" or "Frankenstein". Really the only reason to see the movie is because of the amazing special effects and yes, the practical and especially the CGI effects are still spectacular, even as we become more familiar and numb to effects like this, but even still, the world they create is pretty amazing. Rewatching the film, I'm actually more startled at how the they got all the little details like the blinking of the triceratop's eye or the dimensions of it's tongue. It's it's huge story with a giant scope and if the effects weren't this pristine, I'd argue that the film wouldn't work at all.

After that, what is there that makes this Spielberg's highest-grossing movie to date and still remain so popular that it's spawned an entire franchise that continues to this day? (And apparently is important enough that I have to now go back and watch the sequels now! Goddamn it! Why does this keep happening to me. Suddenly, I had to watch the "Mission: Impossible" sequels, I still have to watch the "Star Wars" prequels, 'cause apparently everybody did, instead of doing the sensible thing and realize "Star Wars" is of little-to-no importance and not relevant or essential to watch, even culturally [It isn't, I'm standing by that, just because something's popular doesn't equal relevance] and when the hell did suddenly become crucial that I see "Zoolander," what the fuck-, sorry, I'm ranting) Well, I guess it is basically just the spectacle of it all. There is a chance I've just become numb to it after dozens and dozens of times watching it on TV over the years. NBC, similar to what they did with "Titanic" bought the viewing rights early on and whenever there was a spare couple hours they needed to fill, they and half the cable channels afterwards, have replayed the film to death, so while I always enjoyed it, it's lost a lot of it's luster for me. Seeing it again for the first time in years, now I wonder if maybe I should be talking about "Star Wars" 'cause this does feel eerily as much a parody of George Lucas as "Spaceballs" was.

Bare with a second, but, all the actors and performances are fine first of all, yes even Jeff Goldblum, who I think gets way too much shit; I've always thought he was a great and underrated actor, but the only really interesting character is Richard Attenborough's John Hammond. He plays this genetic scientist, I guess, but he created "Jurassic Park", and the "Park" in the title, actually refers to a theme park. His moronic idea, other then the original stupid idea of cloning and genetically creating dinosaurs was that he was hoping to take the scientific discoveries and have them be the center of a theme park. Instead of rides, games (or maybe in addition to rides and games, I didn't see the entire designs and blueprints) and Mickey Mouse, you'd be going to see the dinosaurs and envelope a Land Before Time" and simulate the experience of the Jurassic era, complete with merchandise and memorabilia. Okay, partially this was the time period, 'cause there was a boom in major theme parks and expansions in the early nineties, most notable, Universal Studios, which I'm pretty sure Spielberg had some part in creating, but I didn't remember how much of it is in the movie, and it's all over the film. This is arguably the first film that's basically an entire product placement for it's own film. Now at first, I thought this might be a subtle jab at Disney but Attenborough doesn't strike me as doing a Walt Disney-type character, he definitely seems more like one of Disney's competitors, perhaps there's some Spielberg in him, but actually he remind me of George Lucas. Not just in appearance, but at how the character spends his life devoted to a single gigantic project and then immediately franchises it and it soon backfires on him completely and worst yet, he's so intertwined to this mass-marketed extravaganza that he will forever only be known for that project and have nothing else to fall back on and nothing that interests him enough to do something else if he wanted?

Alright, maybe that's me pushing it, trying to find something to justify the movie's greatness more than, "It has realistic, believable dinosaurs and dinosaurs are awesome!" I guess that's enough for others, but I've always found it much more hollow, but I guess if any movie has the right to be a little more lacking elsewise, it's probably this one.

Friday, February 19, 2016


As of the moment that I'm writing the original draft of this introductory paragraph, listening to a classic rock radio station, alongside a wood-burning fireplace while writing with a pen and notepad, at, eh, ten, eleven, 12 o'clock at night or so. Why? 'Cause on top of not having a decent computer to work on, I currently don't have electricity at my house.

(Pause, angry frustration-filled growl)

Let's just say that...- well, I've never really fully understood the stereotype about writers drinking a lot, but yeah, at this moment, if I had alcohol, I'd be drinking it. (BTW, if ever I suddenly move across country to sleep on a lesbian couples' couch, um, remember this moment, 'cause yeah, it'll have something to do with this sudden move) Well, to say the least, my personal professional setbacks have been particularly annoying for me for many, (Deep growling breath) many, reasons not the least of which is that it's caused me to be unable to blog as often as I'd prefer to, and therefore, I've missed a few recent events that I wanted to discuss so... when there isn't anything going that worthy of an entire blogpost, (Or in this case, I was unable to post on it at the original time I wanted to) once in a while we do a little Mixed Bag Blog, where instead of a more in-depth analysis on a single subject, we simply touch lightly on a few different subjects that are percolating the modern entertainment world and news and we're gonna do one of those today, enjoy.


Yeah, not a fan of "Star Wars". That shouldn't be a surprise any of my readers, when you consider that I wrote that long blog about how I was "Not a Fan" of anything, remember? This blog below:

Yeah, I wasn't kidding, with that blog. Being a fan is horrible,there's literally nothing good about it, opinions based on fans are worthless, blah, blah, blah. But what about "Star Wars"? Well, I haven't seen this latest film yet, or two of the prequels, because, "Star Wars" wasn't relevant, and it still isn't btw, but we'll get to that, but the movies themselves, yeah, they're pretty good. I don't consider them great, or something that's worth creating a $4 billion dollar franchise with, but yeah, they're good. Hell, I'd argue that "The Empire Strikes Back" is a great film. I even liked "The Phantom Menace", again, I haven't seen the other prequels, I'm trying to catch up with them now, as I am the "Jurassic Park" sequels, which apparently I was supposed to have watched, and the "Mission: Impossible" sequels, which I naturally skipped until suddenly the 4th one was so good, and now, apparently "Zoolander" is a great comedy, what-the-hell, everybody, why is everything that seemed easily dismissive suddenly essential!?!-, Ah, sorry, it's just annoying. Thank god I did happen to catch the "Mad Max" movies before "Fury Road'. Anyway, yeah, I don't think it was great, "The Phantom Menace", but I gave it 3 STARS, you can read the review at the link below:

And, no, I didn't get Jar Jar, he's horrible, but it's still a decent story and the effects we're pretty good, especially for the time. I still, don't quite get the fandom on the audience's side. I mean, I guess it was, unique for the time, and it was well-done, but...- I don't know, I don't get the obsession. I mean, the film itself is mostly a retread of Buck Rogers-era serial space opera, the effects we're done before in "2001: A Space Odyssey," although Lucas does expand upon them. It wasn't the first blockbuster, that was "Jaws", I guess now, it's a long-running franchise with continuously evolving characters, but at the time, it wasn't, I don't see how this thing made people so obsessed with "Star Wars" that they'd buy toy boxes with IOU cards in them, because the demand was so high, they couldn't actually make all the toys quick enough for them to stay on the shelf. (That's true btw). Then again, however, I don't quite understand it from George Lucas's perspective either, the fandom.

I mean, maybe it's me, has "Star Wars" ever come off as a children's film? A battle of political rebels and an evil empire, this...-, what? That's-, I mean, older kids, okay, but I've always kinda got the feeling that Lucas created "Star Wars", thinking this was always a product for kids, like young kids, and he's certainly marketed the product like they're Happy Meal toys over the years. (Hell, they probably were Happy Meal toys at some point) just shoving the product on and into everywhere. But, if you actually watch "Star Wars", you don't really get that feeling, like, at all. I think that's actually the real reason why there was such a backlash to Jar Jar Binks in "The Phantom Menace", not only is he a new original and yes groundbreaking character, but he was a children's character, like for toddlers. He was, essentially SuperGrover. (Or SuperGrover 2.0 for those watching "Sesame Street" now) and it's just a sharp contrast to the more adult themes of the movies. Religion, politics, corruption, heroism, etc.

I mean, I asked around to people older than me, and yeah, they always saw "Star Wars" as a kids product too, which confused me. I guess boys like sci-fi, or are supposed to, but...- (Shrugs) sorry, I just never obliges to trends like that. But, it does seem weird though, this story about death star being blown up, is also the franchise that spawns Ewoks cartoon, right? Well, I guess if I was George Lucas, who grew up seeing old double-features at the movies where you saw those old serials between movies, along with the cartoons and the newsreels, and whatnot, and grew up in the Golden Age of comic books and whatnot, then, I guess it makes sense, but, I don't know, this just doesn't come off as a children's product to me. I mean, I can't stand "LOTR" because the movies and the book were just terrible pieces of art, but I think what really confuses me about the "Star Wars" fandom, not only the fans perspective, but Lucas's perspective on the material itself is just strange and outdated. There's dozens of reasons why modern childrens' programming, film and television is how it is now, but I always thought it was just a little strange that not only is that this was essentially created originally almost as Lucas's response to Mickey Mouse, it basically always was thought of as a mass-marketed product to be exploited and sold to the consumer in every form possible. That's probably what makes me a little reluctant to ever embrace "Star Wars" wholeheartedly.


When I did my ballot for's recent 100 Greatest TV Shows poll recently, "Which, you can look up by clicking on the Top Tens Tab at the top of the page) I was mostly happy with it, but I must confess there was one television genre, that I really feel a little saddened that I didn't find one spot for. (No, "Game of Thrones" fans, it wasn't fantasy; I did not forget to put it on there, it wasn't Top 100 worthy) No, actually, the genre is the Teleplay.

Yeah, that's a word that people don't really use much anymore, but in the 1950s this was actually a major television genre, and it makes sense when you think about it. Television was looking for programming in it's earliest days, so something that would be most easy to air, especially air live, would be something that's being performed, or staged, like a theatrical play. And when they figured out how to do that, the teleplay genre was born, which is what it sounds like, a television play. They're plays written for the television screen, usually about an hour or so long, and similar to the anthology genre, which the teleplay is technically apart of, like "The Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", I throw in "Love, American Style", each week, performers would stage a new play on live television. Often it was an abbreviated version of a current play, but it was also a great outlet for young writers to break into the business and even still, some of the biggest names in the annals of television writers like William Rose, and most especially Paddy Chayefsky, began their careers writing these teleplays on shows like "Studio One" or "Playhouse 90" among others, there were actually dozens of them at one point. Unfortunately, as the art of television got more perfected, this genre basically died out, but I bring it up, because, with television ratings, especially network television ratings, dropping to miniscule numbers of what they were at least, they've brought this genre back.

Yeah, the modern run of the networks getting together some stars, preferably ones that are at least acting and singing threats, and possibly a few that can dance as well, they've made an interesting decision to bring back, essentially, the teleplay, by doing live television versions of some of the bigger broadway musicals. NBC, in probably desperation, did this first with "The Sound of Music Live!" and then followed it up with "Peter Pan" and "The Wiz", and now this little new subgenre of event TV is being adopted by the other networks with FOX doing "Grease Live" recently, and-eh...- the-eh, the second part of the title.

(Slight pause)

Okay, I wasn't able to watch "Grease" live, so I had to watch it on at the library the next day or so after, and, early in the show, and during the show, they showed a lot of the behind-the-scenes of the stage production, and many of these live looks, had Mario Lopez the anchor from "Extra" on the show, and he seemed to me, to just be doing his "Extra" reporting, which, I'm not a fan of. Some of you may know my blog where I panned all the entertainment "news" shows, with the exception of "TMZ" that time, well, I'm not a fan. So I was a bit annoyed, 'cause I just wanted to see "Grease", and I was getting "Extra". So, I tweeted about it:

 Feb 2

Why the hell is on "Grease Live"? Yeah, I know, I'm watching it on Hulu, missed it last night, but still, why is he here?

You can go on my Twitter btw at @DavidBaruffi_EV to see for yourself that, Mario Lopez saw that tweet, and blocked me. Yes, I've been blocked on Twitter by Slater from "Saved By the Bell". Which, itself, I was mostly bemused by. I mean, the fact that he even noticed me in his tweets, is a bit weird, and to some extent, I must admit to being flattered, but thought it was an overreaction on his part. It is, buuuuuut, it isn't unjustified. You see, if the thing is still on Hulu, or you watched the musical yourself, you can probably tell me whether I jumped to conclusions or missed an obvious sign, but Mario Lopez, it turned out, actually did have a good reason to be there; he was playing Johnny Fontaine, the host of the "American Bandstand" ripoff show in the musical. Which, actually makes sense, when you realize that the Johnyy Fontaine character in the stage musical of "Grease," acts as a narrator in the musical coming in and out of the musical and doesn't just show up at the dance, so it makes sense that Lopez would play the part and be somewhat in his "Extra" persona, and honestly, I always thought Lopez was a pretty good actor and it was actually really cool and great to see him acting again, so.... Yeah, I owe Mario Lopez a big apology. Really big one actually. He was completely justified in blocking me on Twitter, so Mr. Lopez, I'm Sorry I didn't realize you were playing Johnny Fontaine in the musical, I apologize. You were really good btw. 

Okay, now that that's out of the way, yes, the teleplay is coming back and I think it's a good thing. It's actually never gone away technically, PBS especially, mostly on their "Great Performances" show has often aired staged performance, usually musicals, although much of it is opera, they do also show Broadway performances among other works, (Including my favorite version of Cyrano De Bergerac") and there's been other places where we get filmed versions of theatrical productions on television as well as film. Network television, needs more immediate products that people will flock to the television for, and this is actually a great outlet for Event TV to return, and I'm grateful for the return of the teleplay, in any form in general. Especially musicals. I know the traditional thinking is, with film, we can go outside and expand upon the worlds of the stage and not be inside those three walls, but honestly, I like seeing plays on film that resemble as closely as possible, the feeling of thes stage production. You know, there is some good theater where I am in Las Vegas, but most of us don't go to the theater regularly, especially not the Broadway theater, so for many in the country, myself included, this is often the closest we ever get to seeing theater outside of the Tony Awards on TV. I hope this new trend on network television brings the teleplay a permanent return to television, as well as anything that actually makes people turn on the television when a show is on and not simply let them turn on the computer the day after in order to watch something.


Well, this blew up quickly. Alright, I'm sure most of you have probably already seen the latest Nostalgia Critic editorial on Fair Use and the fight Youtube Creators have been having with Youtube and with Hollywood Complaintants. If you want an overview, watch Nostalgia Critic's video above, especially since I'm not really the most knowledgeable in regards to Fair Use Laws, and I don't really have a confirmed stance on the law side of this, but I can talk about the Google side of this. You see, Google, not only owns Youtube, they also own, Blogger, which is the site that I run this blog on. Mostly, it's fine. It's a free blog, there's usually enough things on the sight to help me post my blogs and whatnots, so I don't normally talk about them, but those parts about the internet reviewers talking about getting absolutely no response from Youtube, yeah, Blogger's the same way.

I don't know what they're doing with this, but when I have had issues with this blog, whether it be say, I get a Malware warning on my blog that I have to appeal to block, or even just minor things with the design, or my own homepage, just asking a question or appealing for anything is a pain. When there is a sudden issue, they don't have, even a part-time person on staff or chat to ask questions to for issues about Blogger. In fact, they actually have a place, where you post a question on a board, for blogger users to answer for them and respond. Yeah, we're supposed to be able to answer questions for other bloggers, in case they ever get the same problems that we have with Blogger. And btw, when you go to these message boards, if there's ever a response to anything posted, the answer's usually goes something along the lines of "I had that problem before, now I don't, I don't know what happened or why I don't anymore, it just went away. Never knew or understood why it did that."

Yeah, they need something, to let us know that, they're at least there if we need them for something at Blogger, and yeah, I don't have to fight too many Fair Use claims, certainly not as many as the Youtubers go through, and I have the same experience as they have from Blogger as they do from Youtube, nothing and if nothing else, just this feeling that nobody at Google is there to sort through and help out for problems that may occur. Look, I have no legitimate idea what's gonna happen with the Fair Use claims or how this is gonna go down, (And btw, I've been hearing Youtubers like Lady Jess constantly talking about these issues now for months, this is by no means new and not something that's being discussed only because Doug Walker's bringing it up) I will say this though, I'm pretty positive that whatever the results of this, it might not have gotten this far, or this out-of-control, if somebody at Google was actually on-hand and there, and not just a machine printing out responses. Look, I'm not against automation by any means, but something, somebody needs to be there and be able to respond when these claims are made, and really, it's so automated over there,...-, look I don't even use the fair use act much, except for occasionally quoting something, but I get frustrated, just when trying to get a simple response for a much more minor issue with Google. I'm okay with fair use people and even those who make claims when they think that they're work is being stolen, but, this is what happens when there isn't more oversight, on the part of the people running the website. (And let's not forget that since Blip was shut down, there's a lot more channels using Youtube at the moment.)

In other words, however long it takes before Fair Use is enacted or however many court cases, legitimate and illegitimate that come about from claims of piracy and whatnot, Google, you're gonna have to be more on-hand to oversee all this, and there's no real reason you shouldn't be. You're fucking Google; it's not like you can't afford to have more people on-hand to do this. Either fire whoever is supposed to be overseeing this, or get people who actually are overseeing Blogger and Youtube and all your other companies.

Saturday, February 13, 2016



Director: Howard Hawks
Screenplay: William Faulkner & Leigh Brackett & Jules Furthman based on the novel by Raymond Chandler

As numerous witnesses have verified, one day during production of “The Big Sleep,” Bogart went up to Director Howard Hawks and casually asked who pushed Taylor off the pier. Production was soon halted and after numerous discussions, they finally they sent a telegram to Raymond Chandler the author of the novel. He didn’t know either. Don’t even try to follow this film logically, it doesn’t work, doesn’t even come close to working, but a great mystery doesn’t have to work logically. I often complained about reviewers who base whether a mystery film is any good or not on whether or not they figure out who did it before the movie does, (coughs, Rex Reed coughs) because that’s not what a mystery is about. A mystery, is about the process of the solving of the crime, any mystery plot, as Raymond Chandler would probably tell you, is nothing more than just a series of places to force the characters to go in order to eventually solve the mystery. Or in the case of “The Big Sleep”, the plot is just a device to run in and out of scenes in between moments when Bogart is on screen with his then-new bride, a maybe-20-year-old Lauren Bacall.

I know, I should probably put this film in the context of Howard Hawks, who admittedly is somebody I like more the more films of his I watch, or how Hawks, who once said, to paraphrase, “If all else fails, then make it a drama,” probably knew and understood more than anybody that the best way to handle Chandler was to treat it as this absurd and comedic series of scenes, but to me, this is a Bogart & Bacall vehicle, and the best of their films at that. They met famously while shooting “To Have and Have Not,” (…You just put your lips together and blow). That film has it’s followers, although I tend to think it’s mostly forgettable and that the only reason to watch it is for the scenes between Bacall and Bogart and see how clear their chemistry is; it’s pretty clear they’re falling for each other in real life, but other than that, it’s basically a rip-off of “Casablanca”. I guess you could argue the only reason to watch “The Big Sleep” as well is because of Bogart and Bacall, but there’s way more going on. It’s a classic film noir, arguably the most classic of the genre to some, and it is thrilling but really I watch it for the comedy. The outlandishness of the plot mixed with brilliant one-liners and series of dialogues.

Bogart (After Vivian’s nymphy sister Carmen (Martha Vickers) “fell,” on him.) “She tried to sit in my lap while I was still standing up.”

And the most famous one, a scene that was added later to make Bacall look good in the film, is a conversation she has with Bogart, supposedly about horse racing.

Bacall:…”I like to play them myself. But I like to see them workout a little first, see if they’re front runners or come from behind, find out what their whole card is, what makes them run…I’d say you don’t like to be rated. You like to get out in front, open up a little lead, take a little breather in the backstretch, and then come home free.”

In the film, Bogart, having already played Sam Spade in “The Maltese Falcon”, is now Philip Marlowe, the other most legendary of the hard-boiled private detectives of film noir (Another great Marlowe adaptation, Robert Altman’s “The Long Goodbye” is already in my Canon, so technically, this is the second time Marlowe has shown up in the canon, and he appeared in numerous Chandler books and he’s been portrayed in ten films total, by nine actors total including Elliot Gould, George Sanders, James Garner and Robert Mitchum, twice among others) gets hired by Bacall’s father, General Sternwood (Charles Waldron). 

That’s literally all I can ever remember about the investigation, and I think most people are lucky to remember that. There’s one person dead already, and nobody remembers what the hell he was actually investigating, but soon, one murder offscreen leads to another murder offscreen, and then about 5-8 other people getting killed in/during the movie, depending on how you count. Marlowe is observant and knows how to find clues and witnesses, which continually lead him to someone/someplace which leads to more discoveries. I’ve seen it three times, I know some who’ve seen it twice as much, and nobody, including myself can completely explain the events in the film. I remember certain scenes and lines of dialogue, and details like a gun taped underneath the front of Bogie’s car, and the apparent free time sexcapade Marlowe has with a bookstore girl, (Dorothy Malone, who steals her scene, she actually seems to almost have more sexual chemistry with Bogart than Bacall does, but that’s probably just me, I like Dorothy Malone.)

Everything happens and doesn’t happen has some connection maybe to a “gambler,” named Eddie Mars (John Ridgely), and really who cares, as long Bogie and Bacall end up in each others arms at the end of the film.

Despite the detective, the femme fatale, and the body counts, I actually consider the film too witty to even be a true film noir, but I don’t watch it for that anyway. Scenes were actually added after the original cut of the movie because they wanted more scenes with just Bogart and Bacall and that was the right decision. “The Big Sleep”, is pure exciting filmmaking and it’s full of everything we want in the classic Hollywood film. Big stars, a love story, big laughs, sharp witty dialogue, and violence, etc. They don’t really do this anymore in Hollywood, where they continually pair people in movies, just to have them paired together, especially when they’re real-life romances. I think argue Hepburn and Tracy is the all-time best of them, but Bogart and Bacall is a close second and “The Big Sleep”, by far is their best and most fun work.    

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Yeah, yeah, yeah, pound sign, OscarsSoWhite, I saw it. (Alright fine, hashtag, OscarsSoWhite) Alright, the Oscars are in full swing and I'll get to predictions later but let's get to this, the Oscars changed certain rules, effective next year, regarding the voters and their eligibility for voting for the Oscars. Okay, so, let's go through these changes one at a time, and I'm taking these off the Academy's own website if you're all wondering:

Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade.  In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.  We will apply these same standards retroactively to current members.  In other words, if a current member has not been active in the last 10 years they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria.  Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status.  Emeritus members do not pay dues but enjoy all the privileges of membership, except voting.  This will not affect voting for this year’s Oscars.
At the same time, the Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.  
In order to immediately increase diversity on the Board of Governors, the Academy will establish three new governor seats that will be nominated by the President for three-year terms and confirmed by the Board.
The Academy will also take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not Governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made. This will allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making and help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.

Okay, there's a few things here, the additional governors seat, fine, the increased in both membership and diversity, now that is important, because the Academy has been notorious for, limiting it's new membership every year and yes, they have improved upon on that in recent years, especially regarding younger members, but it is slow as hell. The Academy, overall has about, 6,000 members, give or take, and they try to add a few hundred new members each year, but the Academy is old, and some years, they end up just replacing a lot of members that passed. Also, this is something that's strange, the sponsoring of members. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is an exclusive club, and members have to be recommended by a current member of the Academy first and then there's a vote, and they they're given eligibility. Now, under normal circumstances it's easy to look at this as simply a formality, and often it is; if there's a former child star that's had even the most modicum of big screen success as an adult, there's a likely possibility that that person will become an Academy member right after they turn 18. That said, there's also numerous incidents where people don't get in, even after working in feature films for, sometimes decades. One of the reasons I often bash the Academy for not giving Werner Herzog a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, on top of the fact that there's a strong argument to be made that he's one of the oldest great living filmmakers alive, next to maybe Jean-Luc Godard, but it's because he didn't get invited into the Academy until 1999. Seriously, that's three decades of legendary films he had made, before he got in! What the fuck Academy? Look, I'm not saying that everybody should be in who even remotely works on a single movie, but if you manage to find yourself in two or three feature films over a few years time, working on them somewhat regularly...- I mean, really, it shouldn't be so difficult to get into the Academy. Seriously, at this point, once a name is recommended, the vetting process should literally just be, "Check their, page, look for a minute, and if it's long enough that it requires you at least two scrolling downs to see everything he/she's done, then they should just be automatically in. That said, the ten-year voter renewership policy, this one is more interesting. 

You see, pretty much in every FB group, you'll find some moronic post about "The Oscars are relevant", or "They never get it right", or "They vote for their friends", "#Oscarssuck", whatever. Look, I'm not gonna pretend the Academy isn't infallible, hell, the Academy itself has NEVER, EVER claimed that itself. Yeah, just because they've become the Oscars, doesn't mean that they claim they're always right, they've never done that. Hell, the Academy was originally started as a way of honoring people in Hollywood who were simply good to the producers systems as a way to combat the threats of the industry unionizing, oh dear, how times have changed. (If you don't know this, here's the abbreviated version, in Hollywood, the Unions run everything, and while it's a bit of a pain in the ass, we're fine with it and that's not gonna change, ever) The Academy isn't a Union per se, but it is made up of people who make the movies, which is the main reason why I've never particularly understood simply bashing the Oscars. Look, all award shows are arbitrary, whether it be, the Unions, the Critics, or whoever's giving them out, but some opinions hold more weight than others, and the people who make the movies, probably a little bit more about how good a film, or the particular skills and talents involved in the making of those films are then the average person. Yeah, they don't see all the movie, yeah, they're voting for their friends, the Weinstein's buy them off,...-, Okay, yes, that's legitimate, although stupid since it's a secret ballot, and you can simply just tell your friends and get all the free everything that Miramax sends you, and then vote for whatever you think the best films are anyway with anybody finding out, but even if you take into all that, this is still for the most part a more qualified collection of people making a decision on a subject they know about more intimately then us. Does that mean they're always right? No. Does that mean you should agree with them? No. But, you know, if Steven Tyler listens to somebody singing and he says that person's talented, do I actually need to here what the rest of the country thinks by phone-in vote to be sure the person can sing? (Yeah, I know he's not on "American Idol" anymore, but it's still...-) 

That's something that I'm not big on, the elimination of the expert opinion, or an educated opinion if you'd rather say that, in pop culture, and award shows are the biggest battleground. That said, is this idea of eliminating the voting rights of people not currently working in motion pictures a good idea or not? Um, yes-an-no, there are quite a bit of people in the Academy, your Hope Holliday's and whathaveyou's, who still vote and cause ruckuses at screening despite not working since the Reagan administration, and yes, this is actually a bit of a problem in Hollywood. I won't give out names, but I met an actor who's known for doing voice-over work, who, years ago, talked about his frustration with SAG, because they wanted to limit the ability for the voice-over section of the branch, to eliminate people from voting on issues, if they hadn't worked in five years. 5 YEARS, they had trouble getting this through. "You haven't done voiceover work in five years, then you don't get to vote," they had to struggle to get that through, and I'm not completely up-to-date on SAG politics somebody can correct me if they wish, but I'm not sure they got through. Could you imagine if you hadn't worked at McDonald's Drive-Thru Attendant for five years, but still had say over the futures of other McDonald's Drive-thru attendants? 

Ye-ah, so this isn't terribly unreasonable, right? You work on one movie every ten years and you get to keep the right to vote for the Oscars, (And even if you don't you still get Academy Emeritus status anyway) sounds very reasonable doesn't it. And I was going to not write this blogpost and go ahead with that and say that it is reasonable, until..., until I read Bill Mumy's open-letter to the Academy. For those who don't know, Bill Mumy is a very talented actor/musician/voice-over artist, etc., I think I, and most everybody else knows him as Will Robinson in the original "Lost in Space", although he was pretty well-regarded even years before that, he was on "Babylon 5", apparently, yeah, he's considered among the all-time great child actors and he still works regularly in the industry. Yet, because of these new rule changes, he was actually dismissed as an Oscar voter, so he wrote an open-letter to the Academy about it, you can read it, a few different places, but here's the Hollywood Reporter's link to the letter below:

Now, you see, I don't quite know whether to agree or disagree with the Academy's stance on the ten-year-rule they're implementing, even after Mumy's article, because here's the thing that this open-letter and Mumy's dismissal actually reveals about the Academy. It's got nothing to do with Academy racism, or sexism (Which is something I consider a far bigger issue than racism I might add) or anything, it's that,... well, the Academy is too...- what's-the-word, um,... outdated? Behind the times? Eh, no. The thesaurus in my mind is failing me, but yeah, the Academy is just incapable of adapting to the modern world of films and filmmaking.

Okay, let's think of it this way. The Oscars this year are in they're what, 88th Academy Awards? Yeah, 88th Academy Awards, back then, there only was motion pictures. Even if you just made shorts or newsreels or whatever, in order to see any kind of moving pictures, you had to go to a motion picture theater. Basically movies were the update to nickelodeons. And that's fine, that's where we were at, and then television came along and while there was a certain division between film people and television people for awhile, in reality, especially today, that line is basically erased. I mean, there's just more opportunities for people working in the film industry to have work in the film industry, they're just not working on motion pictures, or theatrically-released in L.A. County ones. (In due respects, most theatrically-released pictures that don't play in L.A. County, aren't worth watching nowadays, foreign films exceptioned, usually) But, you know, this is the problem with the Academy Awards, motion pictures are just, not the special, unique product that they were and, I don't know how, this may require something drastic, like, maybe combining forces with the Emmys or something, but feature films are just not the only way people tell stories visually now, and it's already a dying art form. Okay, let's forget, internet people, streaming sources, whatever, I mean, look at last year's Oscar winners: Julianne Moore, used to play twins in a soap opera, Patricia Arquette, already had an Emmy for one drama series, now she's staring in another, J.K. Simmons was a regular on "Law & Order" and "The Closer", Eddie Redmayne, um, a couple miniseries,-, okay not the greatest example here, but basically everybody works in every medium now. The Oscars and the entertainment press tend to play up the glitz and glamour of movie business, but there aren't movie stars anymore, and everybody does everything. Steven Spielberg has a BAFTA Award for Video Games, look it up, not kidding. He also has more Emmys than Oscars, and he's been working in television even before he ever did films. Everybody has. And now there's the internet and....-

This is the problem with the Academy Awards, they have to fundamentally realize that, not only is there more to their world then, the demographics that they are, subliminally racist or sexist, whatever,- (And I do think Mumy was right about that, whatever your thoughts on the nominees, or lack of diversity thereof, I don't think it was at all anything intentional that all the acting nominees are white) the problem isn't that the Academy of Motion Pictures are out of touch with us, the problem is that motion pictures, are out of touch with the rest of the academy. And, yeah, maybe we should begin adapting a BAFTA-like catch-all group to honor everything in the art of filmmaking. That's the real problem, the Academy is based on the notion of how exclusive of the world of Hollywood and filmmaking is, and even as, arguably the era of theatrical released films are dying and turning into Broadway-priced spectacles, they're still remaining true to this exclusiveness area of theatrical films, and not only is it leading to the public being a little outraged when certain things aren't or are nominated, it's leading to the rejection of it's own members, who actually, despite our objections are way more qualified to judge movies then most really are. We don't need, a more diverse group, (Okay, we do, but that's not the problem) what we need in order to fix the Oscars, is to have finally give in, and expand their voting base beyond the limited world of motion pictures. We've moved beyond that, and now it's time for the Academy to begin doing that as well, and I hate to break it to you people, but making sure the Oscar nominees are more than just white men, that's barely step one. You see, the way I'm figuring, the more the Academy begins to expand their concept of motion pictures, at least in terms of their eligible voting base, then eventually, the more we'll not only get diversity at the Oscars, but we'll probably also get more of a diverse collection of feature films as well.

Thursday, February 4, 2016



Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Screenplay: John Lee Mahin based on the play by Maxwell Anderson from the novel by William March

Filmbook Dictionary: Cult Movie: A personal favorite film, usually low-budget film that is undeniably flawed in some way, and also includes either a cross-genre/multi-genre scenario or some other kind of weird off-beat quality that makes the film outside of the mainstream, but still has a limited but devoted and loyal following. (Borrowed from and improved upon by myself.) 

When I was a very young UNLV film student, years ago, there was a coffee shop across the street at Tropicana off of Harmon called Cafe Espresso Roma. It's now, either a pizza place or a hookah club or something, but back when I first started college, I always wanted to go there because from what I could tell and hear, this was where all the artistic and intelligensia at the university seemed to hang out, or at least the cool artistic ones that I wanted to be apart of. I don't know if it ever actually was a place like that, but it seemed to be. Unfortunately, I never got a cup there, but one of the things they tried to do in their last days was that once a week, they would have a cult movie night, and every week they’d show a rare, weird, and sometimes rarely-seen cult film.  It didn't work, but one of the films they showed curiously to me was "The Bad Seed". I kinda found this weird 'cause I never really considered it a cult movie. Actually at the time, it was taken quite seriously.  

“The Bad Seed,” isn’t a film I would immediately think of as a cult film, although it hasn’t aged particularly well. The film was considered scary upon first release, but now plays almost ridiculous, and to some degree, comical. Also, for a quote, unquote “cult film,” I usually disqualify any movie that got Oscar nominations, especially in important categories, and this one got three acting nominations. That said, I have seen an episode of "Six Feet Under" where a group of gay men are lovingly watching and mocking the film and, yeah, I can see why. 

Based on a blockbuster play, "The Bad Seed" was known for the daring and controversial premise that a child, a little girl, Rhoda (Patty McCormack) is in fact a vicious, sociopathic killer. The film boils down, basically, to an example of the great argument of nature vs. nurture. Are you born good or bad, or can it be taught? (I'm not sure it's a great example, but...) The mother, Christine (Nancy Kelly) is sick to begin with and hears that one of the kids at her daughter’s school has been killed by an accident. This news quickly spreads, as the entire family and a few strangers await the girl’s arrival so as to comfort her. 

Well, she arrives home, and any more of the story I will not reveal, in fact I’ve already given away to many important plot points, although needless to say, she seems way less in need of comfort then any normal person would in that kind of situation. This movie is still pretty popular, a little too popular for me to believe that it qualifies as a cult film. It's obviously an early influence to films like "The Omen",  and there's been periodic talks in Hollywood of making a direct remake being made for years, although this film was technically redone about 15 years ago with Macauley Culkin and titled “The Good Son.” 

Yeah, it's a bit dated, but keep in mind that, while I guess we still debate Nature vs. Nurture, to some extent, psychoanalytically we're a little more evolved, but at the time it was an intriguing look at the concept early on, even if it mostly used the most direct and narrow perspectives on the concept. And of course, the ending was added on later because of the Hollywood code declaration of forcing people to have to suffer for their sins, but it actually still works really well. 

Either way, whether you mock it as a campy relic of an old era, or it you still can take the situation as deadly serious, if you think Damian is the beginning of devil-children, well, even that idea came earlier, and was done with a lot more fun.