Friday, March 03, 2006

Things to do as the Oscar goes to ...

- Sunday night is, of course, the night of the Oscars, hosted by Jon Stewart, and I've seen most of the nominees in every major category. (Last I checked, the only major nominee I missed seeing in the theater was NORTH COUNTRY, which garnered nominations for Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand. Other than that, I'm covered. I think I know what will win and what I want to win. I favor BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN for Best Picture, Philip Seymour Hoffman for Best Actor, for instance.) As usual, I'm doing an online "Pick the Winners" contest among anyone who wants to participate. E-mail me if you want to take part in the contest, and I'll send you an invitation to join my private group.

- DAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY chronicles the comedian's efforts to stage a gigantic, surprise rap concert in New York where everyone would feel comfortable and welcome. This is the concert Chappelle staged just after signing the $50 million contract with Comedy Central and, I think, sometime before he went to South Africa. (Somebody correct me on my timeline, if I'm wrong.) The film was directed by Michel Gondry. Musical acts include The Fugees, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, The Roots, Jill Scott and Talib Kweli.

- Comedian Steve Coogan's latest movie TRISTAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY is based upon some quirky, supposedly unfilmable historical novel I'd honestly never heard of before this movie came out. In the book, apparently, the narrator starts telling his life story, but other narrators come in and start interrupting him. During the course of the film TRISTAM SHANDY, the actual story of the movie gets interrupted by people coming in and stopping the film crew from telling the story of the book. This approach could be good or awful.

- AQUAMARINE, starring Sara Paxton from the Discovery Kids show DARCY'S WILD LIFE (and, yes, I've seen it), looks like a kiddie version of SPLASH. Ah well. It's based upon an Alice Hoffman novel, and Hoffman wrote the excellent, excellent PRACTICAL MAGIC, which was later made into a horrible Sandra Bullock-Nicole Kidman movie.

- 16 BLOCKS, starring Bruce Willis and Mos Def, opens in theaters this weekend. What's with Bruce Willis and movies with numbers in the titles? He's been in THE WHOLE NINE YARDS, THE WHOLE TEN YARDS, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, 12 MONKEYS, THE SIXTH SENSE, NATIONAL LAMPOON'S LOADED WEAPON ONE and FOUR ROOMS. He's also been in LAST MAN STANDING and THE LAST BOY SCOUT. And, according to IMDB, Willis's first movie appearance was an uncredited walk-on in something called THE FIRST DEADLY SIN. His next movie is called LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN. What is Bruce Willis counting toward? Is this some sort of freaky conspiracy?
- The excellent Masterpiece Theatre miniseries BLEAK HOUSE is now on DVD. Watch it. It's really, really good.
- Also new to DVD is a box set for THE ELECTRIC COMPANY, which I watched religiously on PBS until I was about 6. It was like SESAME STREET, except it was for kids with larger vocabularies and helped them learn more about reading and grammar. It also starred Oscar winners Rita Moreno and Morgan Freeman.
- Finally, returning to the main topic of the day, I've been reading some articles listing the worst films to ever win the Best Picture Oscar. (Scroll down here to find a list of all the Best Picture winners, if you want to refresh your memory.) Personally, I was annoyed when BRAVEHEART won. BRAVEHEART sucked. I was also surprised that year Marisa Tomei won the Supporting Actress Oscar over Judy Davis. I still suspect that presenter Jack Palance misread it, and nobody wanted to correct him and/or rip the Oscar out of Tomei's hands on live TV. And I still remember when Rob Lowe danced with Snow White during that one disastrous musical number. THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What's the worst movie to ever win the Best Picture Oscar? Any other Oscar wins that you'd consider mistakes? Who, in the past, was robbed of an Oscar? What's your favorite moment from the Oscars?

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