Tuesday, January 31, 2006

E!'s Flux Pas

As always, E! proves they're on the ball when it comes to awards:

Actually E!, Reese was nominated for Just Like Heaven, Keira for Domino, Felicity for Desperate Housewives and Judi for GoldenEye: Rogue Agent

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Nominations That Make Me Happy

The ones that were far from sure things:

Munich (and each of its well-deserved nominations), Frances McDormand, Tim Burton's first Academy Award nomination ever, Gabriella Pescucci's nomination for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's costumes, Murderball, all of the Best Song nominees are not only tolerable, but actually good, especially "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp!"

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If I Picked The Oscars

Best Picture
Batman Begins
King Kong
Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Best Director
Tim Burton, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Curtis Hanson, In Her Shoes
Peter Jackson, King Kong
Andrew Niccol, Lord of War
Steven Spielberg, Munich

Best Actor
Russell Crowe, Cinderella Man
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck

Best Actress
Toni Collette, In Her Shoes
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Charlize Theron, North Country
Naomi Watts, King Kong
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Best Supporting Actor
Clifton Collins Jr., Capote
Ciarán Hinds, Munich
Richard Jenkins, North Country
Heath Ledger, Lords of Dogtown
Mickey Rourke, Sin City

Best Supporting Actress
Dakota Fanning, War of the Worlds
Taraji P. Henson, Hustle & Flow
Lisa Kudrow, Happy Endings
Frances McDormand, North Country
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, Match Point
Craig Brewer, Hustle & Flow
Steve Carell and Judd Apatow, The 40 Year Old Virgin
George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Good Night, and Good Luck
Simon Kinberg, Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Best Adapted Screenplay
John August, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Dan Futterman, Capote
David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins
Susannah Grant, In Her Shoes
Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, Munich

Best Animated Feature
Corpse Bride

Best Foreign Language Film
Kung Fu Hustle
Paradise Now

Best Documentary Feature
Grizzly Man
Inside Deep Throat
Mad Hot Ballroom
March of the Penguins

Best Art Direction
Rick Carter, Munich
Nigel Phelps, The Island
Grant Major, King Kong
Alex McDowell, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Alex McDowell, Corpse Bride

Best Visual Effects
The Island
King Kong
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Best Costume Design
Colleen Atwood, Memoirs of a Geisha
Trisha Biggar, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Gabriella Pescucci, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Terry Ryan, King Kong
Oliver Wong, Kung Fu Hustle

Best Makeup
Sin City
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Best Editing
Michael Kahn, Munich
Michael Kahn, War of the Worlds
Angie Lam, Kung Fu Hustle
Jamie Selkirk, King Kong
Michael Tronick, Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Best Cinematography
Janusz Kaminski, Munich
Andrew Lesnie & Derek Whipple, King Kong
Emmanuel Lubezki, The New World
Amir M. Mokri, Lord of War
Robert Rodriguez, Sin City

Best Sound
King Kong
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
War of the Worlds

Best Sound Editing
King Kong
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
War of the Worlds

Best Original Score
Danny Elfman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Danny Elfman, Corpse Bride
James Newton Howard, King Kong
James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer, Batman Begins
John Williams, Munich

Best Original Song
“In the Deep," Crash
“It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” Hustle & Flow
“So Long & Thanks for All the Fish," The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
“Travelin' Thru," Transamerica
"Wonka's Welcome Song," Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Just for the Record...

My last minute Academy Awards nominations predictions are up over at The Oscar Grouch.

As anyone who's visited that site in the last couple months has noticed, I have not been very active this Oscar season. Or active. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that I'm not too excited about the presumptive awards-hogs this year. I didn't think any of them were horrible, or even bad. But they're just not my cup of tea.

I think Brokeback Mountain and Crash are both decent movies, but they're not anywhere near as great or revolutionary as people are making them out to be. I thought The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence and Syriana were all pretty good, but they didn't stick to my bones. I respect Good Night, and Good Luck quite a bit, but I can't say I enjoyed it. Capote and Walk the Line are both very good, but again, they didn't leave a lasting impression on me.

And then there's Munich... whose misunderstanding and awards snubs have been even more frustrating to me than the undeserved praise lavished upon Brokeback and Crash. Munich is so far and away the best film of this crop, and yet, every precursor award announcement has been a painful smack down of my hopes. I think following this awards season too closely might've been as excruciating as rewatching this year's Rose Bowl game or the 2004 election results.

So anyway, here are my predictions... I didn't give them too much thought or analysis, though I did shuffle a few names around just before posting (at the last minute, I traded out Russell Crowe for Hustle & Flow). We'll see how I did in a couple of hours.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

If I Picked The Razzies

Once again, The Razzies miss the mark. Although a great concept in theory, The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation has, in recent years, become even more political than the Academy it parodies. It's not about the movies... it's about trashing easy targets like popstars (Ashlee Simpson, Jessica Simpson, Hilary Duff, Jennifer Lopez) and tabloid fodder (Paris Hilton, Katie Holmes, Tara Reid, Tom Cruise) whether or not they're deserving (personally, I believe Cruise's work in War of the Worlds was all the more incredible because he made me forget what a nut he was in real life -- if there is a Razzie-worth performance in that film, it has to be Tim Robbins'). And 14 of my Top 15 Worst Movies of 2005 were completely shut out!

So, I present my choices for the worst of the worst. Sadly, many of this years' bad movies were quite forgettable, so I may be leaving out some note-worthy performances (it's hard to single out any one performance from Cursed or D.E.B.S. when all I can remember is that I hated those movies). Drumroll please...

Worst Picture
Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Fantastic Four

Worst Director
Mike Binder, The Upside of Anger
Rob Cohen, Stealth
Darren Grant, Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Michael Haneke, Caché
Tim Story, Fantastic Four

Worst Screenplay
Peter A. Dowling and Billy Ray, Flightplan
Ehren Kruger, The Brothers Grimm
Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain
Tyler Perry, Diary of a Mad Black Woman
W. D. Richter, Stealth

Worst Actor
Orlando Bloom, Kingdom of Heaven
Ice Cube, xXx: State of the Union
Ioan Gruffudd, Fantastic Four
Josh Lucas, Stealth
Paul Walker, Into the Blue

Worst Actress
Jennifer Aniston, Rumor Has It...
Devon Aoki/Jordana Brewster/Meagan Good/Sara Foster/Jill Ritchie, D.E.B.S.
Jessica Biel, Stealth
Kimberly Elise, Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Ziyi Zhang, Memoirs of a Geisha

Worst Supporting Actor
Mike Binder, The Upside of Anger
Michael Chiklis, Fantastic Four
Willem Dafoe, xXx: State of the Union
Extreme Deep Invader (EDI), Stealth
Jamie Foxx, Stealth
Steve Harris, Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man
Tyler Perry, Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Richard Roxburgh, Stealth
Mark Ruffalo, Rumor Has It...
Jason Schwartzman, Shopgirl
Scott Speedman, xXx: State of the Union

Worst Supporting Actress
Hope Davis, Proof
Fionnula Flanagan, Transamerica
Lisa Marcos, Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Tyler Perry, Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Jessica Simpson, The Dukes of Hazzard

Worst Remake or Sequel
The Honeymooners
The Legend of Zorro
The Ring Two
xXx: State of the Union

Worst Screen Couple
Jessica Alba & Ioan Gruffudd, Fantastic Four
Jessica Alba & Paul Walker, Into the Blue
Jennifer Aniston & Mark Ruffalo, Rumor Has It...
Mike Binder & Erika Christensen, The Upside of Anger
Hayden Christensen & Natalie Portman, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
EDI & The Refueling Station, Stealth
Kimberly Elise & Steve Harris, Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Jake Gyllenhaal & Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Jake Gyllenhaal & Gwyneth Paltrow, Proof
Steve Martin & Claire Danes & Jason Schwartzman, Shopgirl

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Very Funny

For the first time, TNT and TBS are simulcasting live the Screen Actors Guild Awards. But if they're both showing the same show, why is it rated TV-PG on TBS and TV-14 on TNT? Is it the Closed Captioning that makes TNT's broadcast more raunchy? Or just the age-old double standard when it comes to comedy vs. drama?

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Legally Gold

I haven't gotten around to tabulating the number of "Ray Charles" references yet, but I did add up the Emmy pedigree of the cast of the most recent episode of Boston Legal. Between series regulars Rene Auberjonois (2 noms), William Shatner (3 noms, 2 wins), James Spader (2 noms, 2 wins) and Candice Bergen (7 noms, 5 wins) and guest actors Joanna Cassidy (1 nom), Michael J. Fox (9 noms, 4 wins) and Betty White (15 noms, 4 wins), I count 38 nominations and 17 wins. Which is especially impressive because only 2 of those noms and 2 of those wins were actually for work on Boston Legal. That's gotta be some kind of record, right?

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Beating Crowe

How much better would Elizabethtown have been if it'd just ended like this?

You know, except with better music.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Okay boys and girls, time for another Pop Culture Petri Dish challenge! As always, you're competing for The Official Pop Culture Petri Dish Gold Star, a modeling contract with top management company Ford Models and a photo spread in Elle Girl magazine shot by renowned fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon (just wanted to see if you were paying attention -- actually, you just get the Star).

In honor of tonight's very special "All-New NBC Music Event" honoring Ray CharlesJamie Foxx, Jamie Foxx: Unpredictable, I want you to predict:

A) How many minutes into the show Jamie Foxx will first reference Ray Charles...


B) How many times Ray Charles is mentioned by name (this includes "Ray Charles," "Ray," "Charles," "Mr. Charles," "Brother Ray," "Ray Charles Robinson," "Ray Robinson" "Mr. Robinson" or anything similar).

Bonus: How many times will Jamie Foxx speak/sing as though he IS Ray Charles?

Post all predictions in the Comments section. I'll attempt to tabulate the results, if I can make it through the entire hour.

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Of the Creek?

Is Kellie Pickler of American Idol fame (Don't believe she's famous after one episode? Check out these fan sites!) from the fictional town of Capeside?

Like Jen Lindley, she lives with a grandparent, and like Joey Potter, she's a waitress without a mother whose father has been in and out of jail because of drugs, and she's into pageants. Also like Joey, girl can sing.

By all means, Kellie, stay away from Tom Cruise.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Acquiring Nemo

Is it just me, or is this choice of file photo to accompany the headline "Disney Said in Talks to Purchase Pixar" some sort of subliminal commentary on the part of Yahoo! News:

I'll let you decide which character is supposed to represent Disney and which are supposed to represent Pixar

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Memo to the Academy Award Hopefuls...

Dear Heath Ledger and Rachel Weisz,

It may not be in your best interest to start condescending to Americans when you're aiming for Oscar nods.

I heard a while ago that West Virginia was going to ban it. But that's a state that was lynching people only 25 years ago, so that's to be expected.

He knows where Europe is, unlike a lot of Americans.
Mr. Ledger may want to check his facts (like the folks at Movie City News who discovered that "the last two reported lynchings occurred on Dec. 10, 1931"). And as for Ms. Weisz, we all saw National Lampoon's European Vacation. We know exactly where Europe is. This type of mouthing off may work if you're looking to settle for an AFI Award or a BAFTA Award, but here in the U.S. of A., the Academy only likes it when red-blooded Americans talk trash about our country:

P.S. And just because you're both reproducing with Americans doesn't make you Americans (I think you have to marry them).

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Must See Conspiracy?

Am I being paranoid or should we read something into the fact that the date "June 10" was mentioned prominently, back-to-back, on both My Name is Earl and The Office tonight (on the former, it was a date of birth, on the latter it was a wedding date)?

What do you have planned for June 10, NBC? Is it a good surprise or a run-for-cover surprise?

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Thanks Disney! Now I can avoid a John Travolta movie and a Tim Allen movie at the same time!

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

USA Yesterday

Nice piece comparing Brokeback Mountain and King Kong, USA Today. So timely and original.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Top Twenty Best Movies of 2004 Ever

Here at The Pop Culture Petri Dish, we love top ten lists. So why didn't we post the obligatory year end top ten list of the best movies of 2004? Frankly, because we wanted to write in-depth analysis of each entry on the list but never got around to it. But as we get to work on our 2005 list (hopefully), we thought it only fair to let you see what we would've ranked as the top (and bottom) movies of 2004. These lists haven't been modified since February of 2005, though with the benefit of hindsight, some of the ordering would probably change. And now, a year late...

The Top Twenty Best Movies of 2004
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. The Terminal
3. Spider-Man 2
4. Closer
5. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
6. Spanglish
7. Before Sunset
8. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
9. Collateral
10. Kinsey
11. Kill Bill, Vol. 2
12. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
13. Million Dollar Baby
14. Sideways
15. The Aviator
16. A Very Long Engagement
17. Assassination of Richard Nixon
18. Dawn of the Dead
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
20. Shrek 2


The Top Ten Worst Movies of 2004
1. She Hate Me
2. The Grudge
3. Van Helsing
4. The Forgotten
5. Troy
6. The Phantom of the Opera
7. Catwoman
8. Shark Tale
9. The Passion of the Christ
10. Meet the Fockers

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The Producers

I can look past the Producers Guild Awards' inclusion of the hacky Crash (Crap + Trash = Crash) over infinitely better films like Munich and King Kong. I can even look past their inclusion of Two and a Half Men and Desperate Housewives in the Television Series: Comedy category. But to nominate The Amazing Race 6 in the Non-Fiction category (when they also nominated the far superior Amazing Race 7) is just preposterous.

Lest you (and obviously the members of the Producers Guild) forget, The Amazing Race 6 is the season that gave us such screechingly dysfunctional couples as Freddy & Kendra, Adam & Rebecca, Hayden & Aaron and, the most dysfunctional of them all, Jonathan & Victoria! To paraphrase Annie Hall's opening joke, this was possibly the worst season of The Amazing Race ever (maybe even worse than the Family Edition), and only six of its thirteen episodes even aired in 2005! Come on Producers Guild, spread the love! What about Survivor: Palau, Showdog Moms & Dads, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, Project Greenlight or Project Runway?

Oh, and Crash? Come on!

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