Random Factoid #508

18 12 2010

Eek, I’m really scrounging for factoids … and not finding much.  Honestly, a part of me just wants to say that I caught a really strange pop culture reference in “How Do You Know” today.  On Reese Witherspoon’s mirror, there are all sorts of inspirational quotes about courage and other virtues.  Then, there’s a quote from KeKe Palmer’s song “Bottoms Up.”  You got some swagger, better let ’em know; you got some swagger, better let ’em show.  It belongs right next to Shakespeare and Biblical passages.

(If you want to listen to the line, it’s around 2:10 in the video.)

Yet another part of me wants to tell you that my family’s Christmas tree was dubbed “The Avatar Tree” by me today after these horrific white orb lights we bought from Target make it look like those little dandelion spirits of the forest.  My mom and I were going to dismantle the tree and replace them with new lights, but we decided to live with “The Avatar Tree” rather than waste two hours of our life for a tree that would like pretty for a week.

Or perhaps I’ll just complain about how peeved I am with the ticket-taker at AMC Studio 30, who won’t stop eyeing me as if I’m a 13-year-old trying to sneak into an R-rated movie.  I showed you my ID once, I’M 18 YEARS OLD!

Maybe I’ll just cop out and post this funny cartoon I found thanks to /Film:

Speaking of WikiLeaks, has anyone noticed the resemblance???  It seems pretty obvious who’s going to play Julian Assange in the WikiLeaks movie.  Future Oscar-winning performance right here.

NPH Assange

I’m dog-beat, and this running around in circles trying to entertain you with a new factoid is about the best I can muster right now.  I’ve come up with stories, opinions, and all sorts of other stuff for 507 straight days – today is a sort of reprieve where I just use this post for an open page to express all the stuff running around in my mind.

Oscar Moment: “How Do You Know”

5 11 2010

No one knows much about “How Do You Know” at the present moment.  But any movie that comes from director/writer/producer James L. Brooks has to be considered given the man’s 60% track record in scoring Best Picture nominations for his movies.

I’ve only seen his latest two movies, “As Good As It Gets” (which I totally adore) and “Spanglish” (which is still good although to a much lesser degree).  But the man has directed a Best Picture winner with “Terms of Endearment” and picked up a nice Best Director trophy for himself while he was at it.  Brooks is an incredibly influential figure in comedy, and as I pointed out in my column on “Love & Other Drugs,” that’s not an incredibly popular genre with the Academy.  To land three movies in the winner’s circle is a pretty huge accomplishment.

So what’s he up to now?  A comedy with comedic actors laced with drama.  His previous movies have starred, for the most part, dramatic actors – unless you dare to call Shirley MacLaine, William Hurt, and  Jack Nicholson comedians.  It will be interesting to see how critics and voters react to this shift in tactics.  “Spanglish” starred Adam Sandler, and they pretty much spat that right back out; will “How Do You Know” be any different?

To its advantage, it does have two Academy Award winners on the marquee: Reese Witherspoon as the headliner and Jack Nicholson in a supporting role.  I think wins are out of the question; Witherspoon because she won for a much more serious role, and Nicholson because he has enough with three.  The Golden Globes could nominate Witherspoon in a heartbeat in the musical/comedy category, and I could even see Jack getting an Oscar nomination because they love so darn much.

The other two leads are played by Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd, both of whom have a fair amount of respect compared to other similar performers (cough, Jack Black/Will Ferrell).  I think it would be pretty amazing for Owen Wilson to score an Oscar nomination given the field (assuming he competes in leading actor) and his often poor selection of films leading up to this (“Drillbit Taylor,” anyone?).  Paul Rudd, on the other hand, has picked movies that have gotten his comedic talents some good notes from high up.  And according to Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere, he could actually be a contender for this movie:

“The guy who delivers the goods is Paul Rudd. This will raise his profile to the A-list. This is a guaranteed Best Supporting Actor nomination.”

I’m a huge Paul Rudd fan, and I can probably quote every single line in “Role Models” that he utters.  So I’m all for him getting an Oscar nomination.  Best Supporting Actor has been particularly kind to comedic actors in the past decade with winner Alan Arkin for “Little Miss Sunshine” and nominations for Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” and Thomas Haden Church in “Sideways.”  My only worry for Rudd is that he could be pushed out by Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right,” which could be a stronger overall awards play.  But in my mind, the males of that movie were the weak link, and I don’t feel as much buzz around him as I do Bening or Moore.

As for the movie as a whole, I feel like Best Original Screenplay is a category that the movie could easily score in given the pretty slim field this year.  Best Director is not quite as likely given that Brooks has already won.  But Best Picture, now that’s an interesting proposition.

Smart comedy is something that many people speculated that the Academy would want to reward with the expanded Best Picture field.  They get their recognition at the Golden Globes, but very few find their way into the big dance (with a few notable exceptions over the past few years).  I think comedy has some unfinished business with the Academy, and “How Do You Know” could provide that perfect mixture of comedy and drama to score big with the voters.  Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly stood up for it in October, writing:

“Here’s the one case where I’m apparently the most alone in my thinking, as no other participant has the film on his or her list. But I have faith in the upcoming Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy based on writer/director James L. Brooks’ selected track record (‘Broadcast News,’ ‘Terms of Endearment’) and the positive buzz I’ve been hearing about costar Paul Rudd’s performance. Here’s hoping it’s not another ‘Spanglish.'”

Karger ranked it as his fifth selection, which shows a lot of confidence.  It’s hard to judge anything until the movie gets seen by a lot of critics, so right now all I have is speculation based on little substantive evidence.  But with James L. Brooks, we can make those guesses pretty educated.

BEST BETS FOR NOMINATIONS: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Rudd), Best Original Screenplay

OTHER POSSIBLE NOMINATIONS: Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (Nicholson)

Random Factoid #423

24 09 2010

I’m all busy applying to college now, and my future in a year has become one of the biggest things on my mind as of recent.  But there was a time when the idea of going to college was as far away as getting married or having children.  Now it’s almost here … and I can’t believe it.

As I said in Random Factoid #383, there are certain subjects that my knowledge of is based entirely on what I have learned from the movies.  And when I posted that picture of “Legally Blonde” yesterday, I remembered the indelible impact that the movie had of my perceptions of college.

I got to see the movie when I was 10 years, a pretty rare occurrence for me.  Most of the adult humor flew over my head, and my mom was abhorred when she found out what I had seen.  But nevertheless, I had seen it and I absorbed some of it.

Mainly, I got the idea that picking a college meant picking a career.  I didn’t understand that Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods was going to GRADUATE school to study law, not COLLEGE.  So when people asked me if I was headed to Harvard (because I was quite precocious as a young child and not afraid of showing it), I told them no because “I didn’t want to be a lawyer.”

While now I know the difference, there was a large period of my life where my views of college were defined by what I learned from “Legally Blonde.”  Thanks, Elle!

Random Factoid #222

7 03 2010

It’s today!  Here’s hoping for some upsets … I don’t like predictable shows.

My little fun factoid for the day is that whenever I was 9 years old, I recorded the Oscar broadcast on VHS (what’s that, ask the young ones out there?  Go ask your search engine!) and watched it repeatedly.  I was smitten with such presenters as Halle Berry and Reese Witherspoon that I even went to such lengths as transcribing their introductions WORD BY WORD, painstakingly rewinding and fast forwarding.

Yeah, it was bad back then.  It still is.

Random Factoid #120

25 11 2009

Before the factoid, an off-topic tangent: It’s funny how inspiration comes from the strangest sources.  I was struggling for today’s factoid.  While thinking, I started listening to some songs from the “Walk The Line” soundtrack.  With my face down in the pillow, I thought about that stretch of 4 months in late 2005 and early 2006 where I was completely obsessed with the movie.  Then, it came to me.

In my 7th grade computer class, we were given a PowerPoint assignment to create a slideshow that utilized animation to bring up the lyrics to a song as they were being sung.  Other people in my class did artists like the Backstreet Boys and Sum 41.  What did my partner and I do?  Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon singing “Jackson” from the “Walk The Line” soundtrack.

Random Factoid #88

24 10 2009

I got my second iPod in October 2006.  At that time, I had two major Hollywood crushes: Reese Witherspoon, fresh off her “Walk the Line” Oscar victory, and Rachel McAdams, who caught my eye in “The Family Stone.”  I was really into the enhanced capabilities of the new iPod, especially the ability to upload photos.  Naturally, I saw it necessary to do a Google Images search of the two actresses, download the pictures in which they looked the best (and also the ones without their significant others so I could still dream), and put them on to my iPod for some good natured fawning later.

Random Factoid #49

15 09 2009

My subscription to Entertainment Weekly began in July 2003 when my family became members of Blockbuster Video.  They extended a free trial, and I loved looking at it so much that my mom began paying for a subscription.  I often saved them and cut pictures of movies out of them.  I stored the cut-outs in an old Nike shoebox.  On occasion, I would take similarly themed clippings and put them together in a collage which hung on my wall.  I recall creating a Star Wars, Walk the Line, and a Reese Witherspoon collage, who was then my favorite Hollywood star to drool over.