February 2013 posts
Soooo…what did you guys think of the Academy Awards? Was Seth MacFarlane a great host or the greatest host? Was Kristen Stewart’s hair the most beautiful and well-combed? Sigh. 2012 was a strange year, so we suppose our Oscars should be the same. Here are some of the most cringe-inducing and breathtaking moments, as judged by your SML friends, which will be as scattered as the ceremony. It’s a theme.
Cringe inducing moments:
Kimberly: *The odd banter between the stars of The Avengers–after ABC promoted their “reunion” on stage all week, it ended up being so awkward and anticlimactic. The chemistry they had in the movie was nonexistent.
*Poor Kirsten Chenoweth performing that song about losers over the closing credits–she’s always a good sport, but that was tacky. Also, this isn’t the Tonys!
*Kristen Stewart’s hair/attitude were a little lacking.
*Jennifer Lawrence winning over Emmanuelle Riva was disappointing. She hasn’t earned it yet.
Rebecca: *What exactly was that awkward intro from Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy? Did they practice that? Not good that it came so early in the broadcast either.
* How about Catherine Zeta Jones’ obvious lip syncing in that unnecessary “Chicago” tribute? Lame.
*And speaking of Chicago, Renee Zellweger both looked and acted seriously out of it, yes? Booze or botox? Rumor blames it on the latter (as in, so much you can no longer move your mouth or speak clearly).
Sarah: *That suuuper long intro featuring Captain Kirk was not very funny (aside from the sock puppets) and, like a lot of the broadcast, oddly outdated. Blog jokes? Really?
*Same goes for Mark Wahlberg and Ted’s anti-semetic bit. In addition to being straight up offensive, that whole “Jews run Hollywood” schtick is also plain lazy.
*John Travolta in his fanciest lace-front wig trying to pronounce “Les Miserables.”
*Finally, I have nothing but love and respect for our First Lady, but that speech at the end seemed a little out of place, yes? Kick ass dress, though, Michelle. Gorge.
Kimberly: *Babs, of course (especially loved how she bantered right into the song–classic).
*Hugh Jackman running up to help Jennifer Lawrence when she stumbled on the stairs (always the gentleman).
*Jane Fonda’s dress/bod.
*Quentin Tarantino and his askew tie winning Best Screenplay–not sure that it was deserved, but it was a fun surprise.
Rebecca: *The “Flight” sock puppets cracked up my group—we had seen the movie together and felt they were dead on!!
*The Les Miserables cast was seriously rousing in their live perrformance–better than the movie really (shorter, for one thing!).
*Happy to see Ang Lee get his 2nd Directing Oscar–well deserved both times.
*Daniel Day Lewis gave the best of the speeches IMHO. Loved his Margaret Thatcher swap line.
Sarah: *As Kimberly already noted, Babs’ “We shared so many…meeemmrieeeees…” was incredible. National treasure. See also, “GOOOOOLDFINGAH!”
*Christoph Waltz! Two time Oscar winner!
*The long flowing silver locks of at least three male Oscar winners that I can think of. Let it fly, gentlemen! It’s your night!
*Halle Berry’s dress. Charlize Theron’s face and hair and dress and whole being. Perfection.
*Adelle’s classy understated performance of the best Bond song since Goldfinger was the man with the Midas touch.
Classy New Yorker thoughts.
A history of Oscar ties (not the bolo vs bow variety).
Slate’s always fun discussion of the festivities.
OSCAR WEEK PLANNING–- It’s that time again and we are excited. Although this year’s list of nominated Best Pictures presented quite a challenge for menu planning, our fearless SML contributor and follower Be has come up with courses the fit the occasion.
Check them out! And let us know your plans in the Comments section. Happy viewing and eating this Sunday. Be sure to catch our continuing Oscar themed posts all this week and next Monday.
Beasts of the Southern Wild:
Fried catfish tidbits with bathtub gin martinis
Warm salad of pigeon breasts “smothered” in a light bacon and shallot sauce
Life of Pi:
Vegaterian Indian potato pie served with “mock” tiger sauce
(Actual restaurant name in Ohio) Django western tacos with negra refritos
(As in “argonaut,” a band of heros sailing with Jason in quest of the golden fleece) Iranian lamb kabobs
Silver Linings Playbook:
Crazy, mixed up cake with silver dragees on top
Lincoln log rolls of cream cheese mixed with southern peaches and pecan nuts
Zero Dark Thirty:
Thirty pieces of zero-calorie dark chocolate
If all this food is making you miserable, stop eating, lose weight and you’ll sing the praise of oatmeal and gruel.
It’s that time again! Can you smell the smuggled booze in the air? For the 4th year running (nope, sitting/slouching), SML will be attending the AMC Best Picture Showcase! For a full explanation of the magic, click here and enjoy an Uggie joke. We miss you, doggie!
Saturday’s lineup, “Let’s Get These Two Out of the Way Nice and Early,” is Amour, Les Miserables, Argo, and Django Unchained. Hope you like dead ladies! The body count will be nearly as high as our soft pretzel intake. (Sometimes we wish we were instead going to see Side Effects, then maybe enjoying a leisurely dinner/discussion about Channing Tatum’s ability to veer between lunkhead and cutest-boy-in-your-grade, but that’s OK! We press on so we have more things to shout during our Oscar viewing party, which will be Reform, as usual.)
The Saturday, February 23, lineup patronizes our intelligence with Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Lincoln (Tommy Lee Jones: it’s all led up to this history wig), and Silver Linings Playbook–then we kill Bin Laden and all go home! USA! USA!
HOUSE OF CARDS (2012/NETFLIX STREAMING) In the mood for some political intrigue? Have a current NetFlix streaming membership? Then you’re in luck, because last Friday, NetFlix released all 13 episodes of Season One of the U.S. version of a crackerjack BBC miniseries entitled “House of Cards.” NetFlix members are free to watch all 13 episodes in a sitting (so called “binge watching”) or to watch any number of episodes, in any order, as much as desired. Developed by Beau Willimon, the screenwriter for “Ides of March” and also for the first two episodes of this series, and with David Fincher as Executive Producer (and Director for Episodes 1 and 2 also), this series is top notch. Start with the casting: Kevin Spacey is spot-on as Francis (Frank) Underwood, long serving member of the House of Representatives from the state of South Carolina and the House Majority Whip. Frank has labored long and hard in the House (for 22 years he tells us) and has been promised the position of Secretary of State as a reward for helping the current Democratic President regain election (does any of this sound familiar?), when suddenly Linda Vasquez (Sakina Jaffrey), the President’s Chief of Staff, tells him he’s being passed over for the position. What?? Why? Well…the line is, “we need you more in the House to help us pass our important Education Bill.” Needless to say, Frank is mad—mad as hell, actually—and he starts the ball rolling on an elaborate plot to undermine his own Executive Branch. Joining Frank in his Machiavellian quest is his wife Claire (Robin Wright) who is every bit as scheming as Frank himself. Claire runs an NGO in D.C. dedicated to clean water and together these two play the game beautifully. Add to the duo Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), Frank’s super effective and completely amoral Assistant; Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), a young reporter for the Washington Herald who is eager to rise the ranks and willing to leak anything to the reading public; and Rep. Peter Russo (Corey Stoll), a Philly boy with a bad past who’s easy for Frank to manipulate, and you’ve got a really great core to the story. There are loads of extra characters and plenty of plot but the series moves right along and the production values are top notch. While some of the episodes do drag, let me say this…. I had intentions of watching only one or two episodes when I turned the series on this past Saturday and the next thing I knew, I was at Episode 6 and moving forward. Of course, NetFlix makes this easy to do since they automatically boot the next episode as the credits are rolling on the last one. Clever and great viewing for any cold winter’s day, night or weekend. Enjoy and just remember, Season Two starts filming this Spring.
AMOUR (2012/IN THEATERS) “Bittersweet”—that’s the best word to describe this loving and realistic portrait of a Parisian married couple in their 80s, whose cultured life is coming to an end. Anne and Georges (Emmanuelle Riva and Jean Louis Trintignant, both in their 80s in real life) live in their well worn but elegant apartment–a home filled with books and paintings, lovely carpets and simple furniture. They ride the subway home from a concert where Anne’s former student, now a famous classical pianist, has mesmerized an audience. Life appears to be a comfortable duet. Yet the next morning, everything changes. Anne freezes at the table, after presenting Georges with his traditional soft-boiled egg. She is gone for several minutes but returns, though unable to pour her tea. When we see Anne again, she is home from the hospital but is paralyzed on her right side, “bad luck” after a fairly routine medical procedure. Responding to her urgent and stern request, Georges promises she will never visit a hospital again. And so it begins. For anyone who has cared for an elderly parent, friend or relative, this movie will look so familiar. It doesn’t matter that this is France—it could be anywhere. The rest of the film is a day-to-day look at the continuing slide in physical capacity for one person plus the devotion and challenges of the caretaker. Georges and Anne are clearly devoted to one another. Though they have a daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert), she lives overseas and has her own challenges. Her father tells her she is no help and this is true. She is outside the routine and habit that these two have built over many years. It is difficult to explain just how powerful this film is—it moves slowly, befitting the subject. And while my friend and I came ready with tons of Kleenex, we didn’t need them. The end is inevitable and both face it as they must, still with love for one another. Up for 5 Oscars– Best Picture, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay—this film is already the winner of the 2012 Palme d’Or at Cannes and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. It was written and directed by Michael Haneke who also gave us The White Ribbon, Cache, The Piano Teacher and many more. French audiences are thrilled to see two of their favorite actors back on screen and so magnificent. Maybe you remember Jean Louis Trintignant in “A Man and A Woman”—so handsome. I remember Emmanuelle Riva well from “Hiroshima Mon Amour.” Beautiful and sad, even then. Amour is just what it’s title says–a portrait of love. Be sure to see it.