Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Wrap: Bring It Swan!

The end of August fills us with excitement. Summer is ending. That's all. Soon we'll be cooled off and the best season for movies will be upon us. awesome oh wow like totally freak me out! But in case you were offline in the hot season -- and smart people often are. Pity I stayed chained to the computer -- here are 10 highlights from the month.

Bring it Swan: Coming to Theaters in 2012

Hit Me With Your Best Shot
the new series gazed appreciatively at Showgirls, Black Narcissus, Angels in America and Bring It On. I had a ball. Did you?
Kate's Heavy Dinner a monologue from 1935 Best Pic' nominee Alice Adams.
The Essential Me The Bening returns for a rare guest-blog.
Yes No Maybe So: Black Swan The chorus of "yes" was deafening. Everyone's already in their toe shoes and tutus, queueing up.
"What do you look for in a movie?
" Prompted interesting comments

The Devils I'd wanted to see this Ken Russell flick forever. My friend even drew me a pic.
Dennis Quaid and "Tim Riggins" Breaking Away and Friday Night Lights.
Take Three: Anjelica Huston Time for a big comeback role, right?
A Stupid Question Netflix, Have we met?
This is Happening Right Now...
Not everyone took to this District 9 revisit but there's no sense devoting yourself to creative pursuits if you're never going to experiment. So I did.

Coming in September:
David Fincher, Never Let Me Go, Hugh vs. Colin, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, A Face in the Crowd, Streep at 60 Wrap Up, Lily Tomlin, New York and Toronto Festival Coverage, Brides of Dracula, Foreign Oscar submissions and more episodes of the regular features you love*.

*That's an order.

Streep Nom #14: Miranda Priestley Forever

What we have here my friends is multi-tasking on fire!!! It's a tuesday top ten, it's a new episode of Great Moments in Screen Bitchery, it's the latest episode of "Streep at 60" which we're going to wrap up this week (at least in this format). It's all of these things simultaneously.

Ready? "Why is no one reh-dee?"


Ten Best Miranda Priestley Line Readings

10 "My flight has been cancelled... "
How incredulous and put out she sounds without even raising her voice. The way she says "school" when referencing her kids recital which she's desperate to attend is giggle worthy, too. So childish. Translation 'How could such a thing happen to the center of the universe... me?'

09 "There you are Emily. How many times do I have to scream your name?"
'Actually my name is Andrea.' Oh shut it Hathaway. She doesn't care. She will call you what she likes and you'll come running. Streep's double sided reaction to this interruption is A+ perfect. She's almost delighted that someone is talking back to her -- the novelty! -- stifling an awkard smile/laugh. But then immediately reasserts control with a list of demands. The silent hanging punchline is so choice "And Emily..."

[Great Moments in Screen Bitchery #211, The Devil Wears Prada]

08 "I agree. No business tonight. Enjoy"
I couldn't include only her bitchiest quips! Thrown by the appearance of her rival Jacqueline,
Streep gives us just a peak at Miranda's vulnerability in the gala sequence. Her boss doesn't want to discuss her cryptic reference to a note. She acquiesces by pouring the charm on a little too thickly, a little too needily. Everyone has a boss... even bosses from hell.

07 "And you can do anything... right?"
She wants the Harry Potter unpublished manuscript for her twin daughters. Normally Miranda's bitchy lobs are masked as power displays or excusable from a certain kind of 'Do your job' angle. But this time she's pissed. This one is a direct and purposefully impossible challenge. It's a gauntlet thrown down. For once she doesn't pretend otherwise.

06 "The truth is there is no one who can do what I do."
This line is uttered in the middle of her final monologue in which she is both rationalizing her own actions and chastising Andie on her holier than thou perch. The line is true enough of the character. But it's also not directed at the woman she's speaking too but to herself. It's a pep talk for a narrow escape from the competitors nipping at her heels.

And yes, the line is also true enough of the actress.

05 "You have no sense of style or fashion... No, no. That wasn't a question."
This isn't the first laugh Streep wrings from the lengthy opening act interview scene which introduces all four principals but it's her first "joke" in the movie as Andie's (Anne Hathaway) interview wraps up. I still remember the peals of laughter in the theater.

04 "Why is no one reh-dee?" AND "By all means move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me."
So quotable. These two lines are fraternal twins though they are separated by the bulk of the movie. They both spin their comedy from Miranda's exasperated and exasperating impatience. The second impatient quip is uttered when she is at her weakest, determined to work and succeed even in the face of another divorce. The breathy weariness that she employs when annoyed is suddenly not an affectation but the reality.

03 "This...stuff?" (aka the "Cerulean" monologue)
This whole speech, in which Priestley schools her clueless new assistant, is gold. We've written about it before. What's truly remarkable about the scene, which I'd name as the best in the film, is that it's madly multitasking. It brings all four principles together and underlines their place in the narrative while showing us not just workplace politics but actual work (a rare site in movies!). It's a showboating monologue that doesn't interrupt the flow of the storytelling but is the story.

We already know that Miranda Priestely is an über bitch and a major success, but suddenly we're forced into reconsidering our own ideas about the value of what she does and why she's so good at it; it's not just Andie's education but ours. Miranda is working during the whole speech -- "I think we need a jacket here" -- and teaching us the business. The speech, beautifully written and exceptionally delivered, is actually full of hostility and condescencion but somehow we emerge from the other end of it not hating being dressed down but enjoying our own comeuppance. Plus it's "sort of comical" to borrow from the fashionista headmistress herself.

02 "That's all."
It's not that it's her signature catchphrase. It's that each and every time those two syllables slip from her mouth, they carry different weight and meaning. And yet, it's never so simple an actor's trick as varying the punctuation mark. "That's all" is always quiet and simple like a period. It's never an exclamation point, question mark, or even ellipses. So how does she do it? We don't know. It's a magic trick from a seasoned confident showman. Professional magicians don't give away their best secrets.

01 "So often they turn out to be dissapointing and... stupid." AND "I said to myself 'Go ahead. Take a chance. Hire the smart fat girl.'"
These twin lines in which she brutally crushes both Emily (stupid) and Andie (fat) are SO mean. But the brillance of Meryl's delivery is that though the text is actually about Miranda admitting fault the delivery is anything but that. She's coddling herself throughout, gently coaxing herself to 'take a chance' and forgiving herself by blaming both assistants. The self regard is as tall as the office building and as transparent as the glass behind her. It's funny, too.

[Great Moments in Screen Bitchery #12, The Devil Wears Prada]

Listen, it's true that any number of actresses would have been great fun in this role. But Meryl Streep isn't just playing the caricature but a character. She's finds abundant shade and multiple gradations of color. Other actresses would have been blue; Meryl Streep is turquoise, lapis and cerulean.


Which brings us to Oscar nomination #14. We're almost done surveying the Streep Oscar fields, how about that?

And the nominees were...

  • Penélope Cruz, Volver
  • Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
  • Helen Mirren, The Queen *winner*
  • Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada *Nathaniel's vote*
  • Kate Winslet, Little Children
Other women for context
Probably Came Close: none; Traction Trouble: Maggie Gyllenhaal (Sherrybaby)... but what a performance! Her best outside of Happy Endings I think. I wish I'd nominated her for my own awards.; Low Impact (Not Necessarily Their Fault): Annette Bening (Running With Scissors), Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette), Ivana Bacquero (Pan's Labyrinth), Gretchen Mol (The Notorious Bettie Page), Laura Dern (INLAND EMPIRE), Naomi Watts (The Painted Veil); Box Office Queens: Beyonce Knowles (Dreamgirls), Jennifer Aniston (The Break-Up) and Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine)

What's your favorite Streep moment in Prada? And now that we have four years worth of hindsight, what do you think of the 2006 field but more specifically, what do you make of the absolute lack of competition both in who the final five would eventually be and in who won?

MM@M: Charlie Chaplin and The Sad Clown.

Previously on Mad Men @ the Movies: 4.1 Live From Times Square 4.2 Sixties Sweethearts 4.3 Catherine Deneuve & Gamera, 4.4 Jean Seberg, 4.5 Hayley Mills & David McCallum

Before we begin, a hearty congrats to Mad Men team for their third Emmy. Confetti thrown.

Episode 4.6 "Waldorf Stories"
In this episode, Don and Roger continue their downward spirals (it seems to be the long arc plot of Season 4) drinking way too much and imbibing too much awards show adulation (Don wins a Clio) or nostalgia (Roger continually reminisces). Meanwhile Peggy and Peter are on the rise, choosing pragmatism and hard work over their individual personal discomfort. The older characters tripping themselves up and the younger characters changing and rising is definitely the long arc of Season 4.

The only character chatting up the movies this week was Roger Sterling (John Slattery).
Roger: Charlie Chaplin was very lonely. That Tramp -- too much of a sad sack. Laurel and Hardy - they're much better. Except Hardy was so mean to Laurel. I hated that.

Why am I talking about silent movies?

Caroline (his secretary, taking dictation): I suppose as part of the chapter on your childhood?

Roger: That part of my book is getting bigger and bigger. Why is that?
Oh Roger. Who exactly is the sad clown? Clue: It's not Chaplin though he was that, yes.

That Roger is talking about 1920s movies and wonders why aloud, is one clue that he's having difficulty focusing on work or even the present tense aka 1965. The flashback heavy nature of the episode, in which we suddenly realize that Joan & Roger go way way back (intriguing -- was she even working in the office yet?), is the other.

Best Moment
Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) strips off her clothes in a hotel room as challenge to her sexist faux-nudist co-worker. "I can work like this. Let's get liberated."

Finally, you have to love the choreography of the finale, which threads Don & Peggy's storylines together and also has a movie joke. Don lost his advertising award during his very own Lost Weekend. Here's his resigned banter with his secretary Miss Blankenship (Randee Heller, yes, that's The Karate Kid's mom).
Draper: Call the Pen and Pencil and see if someone found my award.
Blankenship: What's the category?
Draper: Best Actress.
Ha! Don hates her so much.

But the staging is as funny as the joke.

Draper actually enters the office (blink and you'll miss him) during Peggy's story punchline in which she mocks her co-worker after their nude encounter (she's talking about a "little" change in the ad) but her hand gesture and the eyeline from art director Rizzo to her implicates Don Draper. He keeps getting emasculating this season.

Best Actress. Heh.

Other References in this Episode
(TV) Peyton Place, The Flintstones (Celebrities) The Pope, Red Skelton (Literature) A Tale of Two Cities, Noah's Ark, Playboy (Politics) The Daisy Ad, The Klu Klux Klan, The Temperance Movement

Of Note
Show creator Matthew Weiner on why his actors come up empty at the Emmys. This was recorded before Sunday night's awards in which all of the actors lost again.

Further reading

For diehard Mad Men fans who can't read enough.
  • Shitty First Drafts "Why Betty Draper Matters" This is a smart read about housewives in the 1960s. I'm within the small minority who is fascinated (even when appalled) by the former Mrs. Don Draper so I heartily approve.
  • Tom & Lorenzo The cast on the cover of Rolling Stone.
  • Rolling Stone a beauteous on set photo gallery from Rolling Stone.
  • Antenna The waning value of masculine detachment.
  • Fast Company actors as spokespersons for brands blurs MM's boundaries
  • Antenna "You're Not Going to Kill This Account" on actual and revisionist history alike.
  • Scanners "...From Twin Peaks" a must read for David Lynch fans.
  • TV Guide Sal will be coming back to the show in some way (!) Cameo or otherwise?
  • Norsk Film Institute Mad Men at the Movies gets its own screening series in Norway. Unfortunately I am not thanked, involved, or flown over for it. Jeg gråter.

Curio: Ingrid Bergman, 1945 Cover Girl

Alexa here. I was inspired by Jose's post on birthday girl Ingrid Bergman to share this vintage Motion Picture magazine of mine from 1945. Ingrid graces the cover, promoting her latest effort in Spellbound, just shy of her 30th birthday.

The interview inside, from the set of Alfred Hitchcock's film, was written in breathless prose by "famous movie reporter" Sidney Skolsky. (A little trivia: Sidney coined the name "Oscar" for the Academy Award.) Here are some gems from his piece:
Ingrid Bergman, on the screen, looks like what an actress should look like. Even more so than the Turners, the Grables, the Fayes. Yet, in everyday life, it is common knowledge that many, even fans, pass her by without recognizing her. She uses almost no makeup at all, except a little lipstick and a slight dab of powder.

She will do practically anything to cooperate except pose for cheesecake art. She says, "I'm not a dancer."

She doesn't care for sweetness and light in her roles and she has an innate dread of being typed. She was happy that Lana Turner played the role of the sophisticated lady-like wife in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, while she played the role of the bad woman.

She likes the popular music of the juke-box variety and even made a special trip to a club to listen to Frank Sinatra. She likes Frankie-boy but still prefers Crosby. She loves to chew gum.

She is a person who sweetly and quietly gets her way. She will not play the role of Sarah Bernhardt.

She is ticklish in the ticklish places.

She is a forthright person and doesn't behave like an actress. One day at the studio she hooked bumpers with another car. A studio policeman found her tugging and heaving at them with all her might. She practically had the cars untangled before he could get to her. "Darndest thing I ever saw," the studio policeman said. "First film star I ever knew that didn't mind getting her hands dirty, or didn't cuss out the other fellow for leaving his car in the way."

Monday, August 30, 2010


Behold: The Poster for Burlesque. I think the marketing department deserves kudos for managing to pay homage to both of their leading ladies simultaneously in a way that's flattering to both. Although the hot pink "they airbrushed my face" quality won't be a sale for everyone.

MTV Whoa! Darren Aronofsky originally conceived of Black Swan and The Wrestler as a single film. Now I'm even more intrigued.
Hollywood Crush Bradley Cooper and Ryan Reynolds as action co-stars? Media to swoon.
In Contention Isabella Rossellini to head Berlinale jury
Stale Popcorn Gypsy 83. I never hear anyone talking about this movie so I had to link up. Way too underseen for something so heartfelt.
MNPP Good morning. Hey, I love bookshelves, too. They scream "I am what I am."
Serious Film "Pulled from the Wreckage" Fine acting in terrible films
Cinematical freaks out over the amount of stunts in Mad Max: Fury Road
Awards Daily on the current cynicism and the Oscar race.
Movies Kick Ass picks his favorite Emmy dresses. Christina Hendricks was probably mine. But I'm a sucker for attention grabbing cleavage ... and lavender come to think of it... and redheads (come to keep thinking of it). Triple success.

Go Fug Yourself
on Diana Agron's (Glee) Little Women look on the red carpet.
PopWrap first official image of Kristen Bell in Burlesque. They think she'll be the most quoted character.
Geekscape asks "What if The Expendables had an all female cast?" Answer: Nathaniel would've seen it twice already. (P.S. A female version is so not a bad idea.)

And finally The Awl asks a question that's really been haunting me lately "Why is American selfishness so widespread now?" It's been a disheartening summer -- lack of empathy everywhere. I think you can even see this in reviews of movie dramas. People just have no time or patience for other people's heartache.

OK that's too depressing to end with.

How about By Ken Levine's (who knows from television) Emmy recap:
You realize of course that you watch a lot more television than the people who made these decisions? If it weren't for screener DVD's, many Academy members would still be voting for HILL STREET BLUES.
Ha. Good one.The only reason they're lazier than Oscar voters is they can be. Movies tend to be, like, ineligible after their debut year.

Best in Show: Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom, the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury winner, is now playing on 39 of the nation's screens. Let that be 39 steps closer to an Oscar nomination for Jacki Weaver; it could happen if Academy members actually see the acclaimed crime thriller. But let’s not jump ahead of the narrative. An Oscar nomination would be a deserving climax, but it’s not exactly a prologue. If Animal Kingdom's confident storytelling teaches us anything, it’s to stay focused and earn your dramatic developments...

Not all of my "best in show" columns at Tribeca can necessarily double as awards season FYC but this one isn 't subtle about that particular agenda. Awards traction is tricky for people who aren't big (U.S.) stars, especially in foreign born films, so why not start early?

I was a bit concerned about being too spoilery in tone (if not in plot) but then I remembered that the film's trailer and ad campaign are already relying heavily on the visibly underlined raves about Weaver's not-so-very-nice momster. And, hey, even if you know details about each character going in, the plot will still twist and turn in organic but surprising ways while you're watching. Good movie.

"Smurf" with her boys.

Is this playing anywhere near you?

Flashback: Best of the 90s (Pt. 2)

Start with Pt 1 of this 90s Flashback... if you're confused about what's going on. To make a long story short, I'm excerpting items from an old zine I wrote in Spring 2000, during the first year of the website. Yes, I was originally juggling too many things. Why that's not like me AT ALL.

We previously covered my dated lists for Actors, Supporting Actresses and Supporting Actors -- lists I don't agree with in full anymore (though the supporting actresses list I quite like still). So now we move on to Picture and Actress.

Best Actress
Top ten chronological order. What follows is original text from the magazine, with the winner in bold text. I had purposefully excluded 1999 which is why you don't see Kate Winslet for Holy Smoke or Hilary Swank for Boy's Don't Cry though here's what I wrote about Swank in that same zine...

I'm rooting for Swank on Oscar night. But I must express concern that she could turn into Elisabeth Shue and only have this one great role in her.
Ha. I was right but it's funny in retrospect to have proof that I had no animosity at all (I love Shue). I mean I wasn't giving the Swankster mean nicknames or spoofing my own hatred of her and I was actually rooting for her to win that first time. It was that damn disingenuous "girl from a trailer park" campaigning and the second win that rubbed me in directions wrong and wrongest. [sic]
  • Anjelica Huston, The Grifters (1990)
    Her daring unsympathetic work tore through the screen.
  • Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    Clarice Starling is one for the history books.
  • Susan Sarandon & Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise (1991)
    I'm loathe to separate this duet, so I shan't.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, Batman Returns (1992)
    Meow. Her funniest most magnetic star turn this decade.
  • Emma Thompson, Howards End (1992)
    She shone as the passionate but centered Margaret Schlegel
  • Juliette Binoche, Three Colors: Blue (1992 [sic] it was actually 1993. I think I was avoiding a certain 1993 problem in my head! read on.)
    A mystifying transcendent performance.
  • Holly Hunter, The Piano (1993)
    One of our finest comic actresses in her best dramatic work.
  • Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
    No one knew she had this in her but I'm glad she did.
  • Frances McDormand, Fargo (1996)
    An expert comic performance that owns the great film.
  • Helena Bonham-Carter, Wings of the Dove (1997)
    She gets better and better and this is the top.
Hmmm. Looking back I'm confused why Julianne Moore [safe] isn't listed. I was also a bit surprised that Meryl Streep's Postcards From the Edge didn't factor in but then I remembered that it took quite some time before Meryl Streep's "Suzanne Vale" started threatening to be my favorite of her character gallery.

1993 was too good a year in Best Actress. Too many riches.

And I'm a touch surprised to see Juliette Binoche there though I think the performance is a hypnotic icy marvel. The film was released in the States in 1993 which means that I'd have to bump Michelle Pfeiffer from The Age of Innocence off of my best actress 5 that year (*sniffle*) which would leave me with Holly Hunter, The Piano (winner) and nominees: Angela Bassett, What's Love Got to Do With It; Juliette Binoche, Three Colors: Blue; Stockard Channing, Six Degrees of Separation and Emma Thompson, Much Ado About Nothing (previously discussed) none of whom I am able to part with. Sorry 'Chelle! It hurts me more than it hurts you.

Best Picture
[Chronological Top Ten. Winners in bold red. What follows is original text. 1999 I had originally excluded as it had just ended and I was still deciding on "bests" for that year.]

Heavenly Creatures and Porn Stars
  • Beauty & The Beast (1991)
    Best cartoon of the decade. The genre has thankfully exploded since this.
  • THELMA & LOUISE (1991)
    Eternal thanks fo Ridley, Callie, Susan & Geena. Best road trip of the decade.
  • Husbands and Wives (1992)
    Allen's best film of the 90s. Its status will grow in time, trust me.
  • Trois Coleurs (1992-1994)
    Have this experience! Kiezlowski's enthralling spiritual trilogy.
  • THE PIANO (1993)
    Jane Campion's painterly erotic masterwork.
  • Schindler's List (1993)
    I hate to include Spielberg but he actually deserved the kudos on this one. (recently discussed at the blog)
  • Heavenly Creatures (1994)
    Peter Jackson's surreal mood juggling giddy nightmare.
  • Dead Man Walking (1995)
    Tim Robbins enthralling and enormously moving death row drama.
  • Boogie Nights (1997)
    P.T. Anderson's mega-entertaining superbly acted porn-opus.
  • Wings of the Dove (1997)
    Vastly underrated James adaptation by Iain Softley and a trio of fine actors.
The "runners up" listed were Edward Scissorhands, Howards End, Pulp Fiction, Queen Margot, Babe, Fargo and The Truman Show. And my three favorites of 99, listed elsewhere in the zine were Being John Malkovich, Run Lola Run and All About My Mother. (I've always enjoyed Lola but I didn't remember it as that high up!)

Some notes: It appears that I was in love with the word "enthralling" in Spring 2000. I guess I could not choose an adjective for Heavenly Creatures so I just went with all of them. I was also, not yet dead set against "ties". The Piano (see my review) now holds the throne on its own and those porn stars, waitresses on the run and murderous teen girlfriends continue to sit nearby as ladies in waiting to "Best Film of the 90s." (And yes, I do still think Beauty & The Beast is the best animated film of the 90s. Sorry Toy Story and Princess Mononoke) The rest of the list would need a seriously rethink or overhaul.

And if that weren't enough -- you're all "please stop. It's 2010!" yeah, yeah, we'll get back to it -- here were some other fighting words back then. Original Text follows. I can't totally stand by all of this since it's 10 years ago that I wrote this and I haven't seen at least half of the films since. Plus, I seemed to have had a distinct distaste for films with negative messages. But here's what I wrote ten years ago...
The World is Stone Pt 1 (Unjustly aborted movie children i.e. the most underrated films of the 90s.)
  • One True Thing
    Dismissed as just a fine Streep film. Sorry, try again. Just a fine film.
  • Velvet Goldmine
    Time has lifted [safe] to grand cinema status. Same thing will happen to Todd Haynes' most electric film.
  • Strange Days | Nell | The Ref
    Not classics but severely and rudely underrated.
  • Queen Margot
    This film floors me. Luscious. Epic. Incredible.
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
    You might want to hate it but you'll learn to love it.
  • Truly Madly Deeply
    A rarely insightful look at the mourning process with two terrific lead performances.
  • Batman Returns | Mars Attacks
    Burton's least appreciated. Funny and clever films.
  • Living Out Loud | Home for the Holidays
    The first was widely shrugged off, the second universally hated. I'll never get why. Holly Hunter is perfection in both.
  • Men Don't Leave
    An emotional stunner with Jessica Lange in top form.
  • Romeo + Juliet
    The media tried to reduce it to "Shakespearean MTV" when it's a visually inspired experience. DiCaprio and Danes briefly gave Young Hollywood a good name.

The World is Stone Pt 2 (spoiled brats - overrated films of the 90s)
  • LA Confidential
    Didn't anyone else find the ending a major cop out?
  • Deconstructing Harry
    One of Woody's worst. Childishly vicious.
  • Henry Fool
    A revered arthouse film that's so pretentious I felt like tearing at my skin.
  • Forrest Gump | Saving Private Ryan
    Two ultra adored patriotic Tom Hanks blockbusters with scary political implications or simplified messages.
  • In the Company of Men
    It's just inert as a film. Lifeless even in all its bile.
  • Braveheart
    Mel Gibson's sick, homophobic, bloodthirsty operatically self-indulgent mess. Won the Oscar of course.
  • Casino
    Just when I was sick to death of it, I realized it was only halfway over. Repetitious, ugly, and revered based solely upon the name in the director's chair.

Many many people have told me I should love Casino (1995) as they do. Perhaps I wasn't in the right place? But I still remember the visceral hatred of it in the movie theater ... so I'm scared to go back. I rarely employ "pretentious" as a kneejerk insult now so I wonder what I'd think of Henry Fool today? I still have plenty of hate for Forrest Gump (see recent proof) and Braveheart (see recent proof) but I am confused at the dismissal of LA Confidential which is obviously a goodie.

Things I have no memory of: Hating In the Company of Men or loving One True Thing.

What were your favorite and least favorites of the 1990s back in 2000?
How is the list different now?


First and Last, "The Unexplainable"

Need another clue. Highlight for the first and last lines of dialogue
first - "Greetings my friends..."
last - "Heck, It'll probably stop by the time we get around the corner. Let's go."
Can you guess the movie?

If you're still stumped you can highlight for the answer. Some people consider this the director's best film. It's... Tim Burton's Ed Wood (1994).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Emmy Live-Blog 2010

Refresh your screen often for updates.

6:30 So Kevin McHale of Glee was very nearly the first person "E!" has talked to that I remotely cared about. He's wearing a yellow bowtie -- I almost typed yellow boytoy -- Weird. I blame Madonna.

Glee Boys.

Kevin named Sally Field as his celebrity crush (!) and Brothers & Sisters as his favorite show. I hope he was conveniently forgetting this past season because it blew.

Moments before Ryan Seacrest was actually wishing Emmys on the Jersey Shore cast. I am so embarrassed for everyone. E! should have rechristened themselves S! for Shameless or Stoopid long long ago. But at least they changed their red carpet people and got rid of the silver haired pancaked makeup person.

6:40 Claire Danes looking gorgeous with relaxed hair and shimmery gown. A Truth: I sometimes wonder what Angela Chase would think of Claire Danes. It's not that I get fantasy and reality confused so much as I just tend to prefer fantasy. Danes claims the only critic she worried about for this movie was Temple Grandin herself. Danes always strikes me as so fragile with all the tics and flinching that I imagine that bad reviews ACTUALLY hurt her, like cause blistering or some such.

6:45 Eva Longoria. That rumor she was going to play the Wasp in The Avengers was one of the darkest moments of my summer.

6:50 Jon Hamm (Mad Men) named Tatum O'Neal as his first celebrity crush because of Bad News Bears. That's so cute. She was one of mine, too. Only it was because of Little Darlings which scandalized me as a kid. Scandalized! But there's definitely a connection between being scandalized by someone and crushing on them, don't you think?

7:00 Ryan Murphy is wearing a blue tux and blue sunglasses. And he actually seems a little blue (mood not porny). Maybe he's less excitable in real life than he as a TV god. Because Nip/Tuck and Glee are nothing if not excitable.

7:01 January Jones is going to play Emma Frost "The White Queen" in X-Men: First Class which I think is kind of a brilliant casting decision. I understand the internet thinks otherwise but the internet is craycray

7:03 I'm not kidding you that this is what the E! cameramen did intermittently throughout Christina Hendrick's interview. Again: S!

or maybe E! is correct: E! for Exploitative. P.S. I love those Mad Men barbie dolls. I don't have Joan though. Just the Drapers.

7:12 Bill & Sookie (Anna Paquin) are now married. It's true. And yet they still have to answer constants nudity and sex questions on the red carpet. They're talking about their Rolling Stone photoshoot and how they covered each other's bit. One of the weird annual joys of awards season is watching Bill (I forgot his name. Deal) get embarrassed while talking about the sex scenes and use hand motions to describe body parts. Last year he used his hands, cupped, to demonstrate his butt pumping technique on the show. I kid you not.

Classy! But True Blood is A grade B trash and that's why we love it.

7:34 I'm so bored right now. I was all excited for about 41 minutes. But there are too many TV stars I don't care about. Like Juliana Marguiles. I have this fear that The Middlebrow Wife is going to win lots of awards tonight. It seems so Emmys.

7:52 Julie Bowen just said that her favorite shows on television are 30 Rock which she deemed an "old school" choice (... um, it's only been on for like four years. It's not like Law & F'in Order) and Project Runway her guilty pleasure. Meanwhile the reporter appeared to be headed to Las Vegas right after the show. A cut-out at your waist?

7:59 Billy Bush is TERRIBLE at his job. He really is. He's like "The Emmys" like that's as interesting as a message from their sponsors.

8:03 Opening skit. Glee themed. Gee, I wonder who will win tonight. Was that really Jon Hamm's voice just now? It's fun to see Dr Drew reunited with Liz Lemon but otherwise that number was atrocious. There were lots of pauses for laughter with no laugh track and (presumably) no one laughing. NEXT DAY NOTE: I'm reading around that net that people mostly loved this opening. Hmmm. The dangers of live blogging and divided attention?

8:10 Supporting Actor Chris Colfer, Glee | Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother | Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family | Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family | Ty Burrell, Modern Family | Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men And the winner is Eric Stonestreet. Yay!

Reaction shots!

So the straight man playing the gay man in the gayest category ever won. But he is truly hilarious on that show. "I ate the sun!"

8:20 txtcritic explaining The Bing Bang Theory to my clueless BFF "it's about three nerds that live together." That sounds unmissable! Modern Family takes another award for Best Writing in Comedy. Well deserved.

8:26 Supporting Actress Julia Bowen, Modern Family | Sofía Vergara, Modern Family | Jane Lynch, Glee | Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live | Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock | Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men And the winner is... JANE LYNCH as expected.

Thanks the cast, her agent, "my lord and creator Ryan Murphy"
(ha!) her wife. and then a "God Bless"

She's so talented but I feel a bit bad for Krakowski who had her best season ever I think. Is she having a "rage stroke" right now?

8:35 Ryan Murphy wins Best Comedy Director Glee. He says the show is about the value of arts education. My friend (who watches Glee every week) "That sounds so interesting. I'd love to watch that show. What show is he talking about?" Ha! Something tells me that Glee has peaked. Even fans are mocking it tonight.

I should note that somewhere in there was a skit with the Modern Family cast that actually had a good 3D joke featuring Sofia Vergara's boobs. I feel certain that the entire camera crew of E! television guffawed.

8:40 Comedy Actor Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory | Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm | Matthew Morrison, Glee | Tony Shalhoub, Monk | Steve Carell, The Office | Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock And the winner is... Jim Parsons.

Comedy Actress Lea Michele, Glee | Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine | Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie | Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreations | Tina Fey, 30 Rock | Toni Collette, The United States of Tara And the winner is... Edie Falco.

In her acceptance speech she says "I'm not funny." Ha. Well, that's true. But your supporting cast sure is. And Edie is marvelous on that show, don't you think? And even better: very little like her Sopranos self. That's range.

8:51 Top Chef wins Best Reality Series. I had no idea that Padme was this divisive but my friends all started arguing about her. There was only pure hate and big love. Nothing inbetween. Weird.

8:55 They keep showing Oprah commercials. We're laughing because we've decided that "Steadman" is the best fake boyfriend name since "George Glass."

9:00 Chris Meloni. I just had to turn the air conditioner back on.

9:02 Best Writing Drama for Mad Men. This is the lamest live blog ever. I apologize. The Emmys are somehow sucking the life out of me. Maybe it's because the awards have not been embarrassing. And the acceptance speeches have been very standard so far. And the hosting not inspired. So... uh... APOLOGIES.

9:04 Supporting Actor Nominees Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad | Martin Short, Damages | Terry O'Quinn, Lost | Michael Emerson, Lost | John Slattery, Mad Men | Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age And the winner is...Aaron Paul. I guess I need to watch this show. Aaron Paul looks like the tiniest person alive. A pocket Emmy winner.

9:10 Supporting Actress Nominees Sharon Gless, Burn Notice | Rose Byrne, Damages | Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife | Christine Baranski, The Good Wife | Christina Hendricks, Mad Men | Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men And the winner is...Archie Panjabi. I like her but it's not OK that Christina Hendricks lost when she doesn't even get nominated for each season. But Mad Men doesn't have much luck winning acting prizes, does it.

9:15 Lead Actor Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad | Michael C Hall, Dexter | Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights | Hugh Laurie, House | Matthew Fox, Lost | Jon Hamm, Mad Men And the winner is Bryan Cranston for the third time. Poor everyone else. This is actually why I've never been into the Emmys. It's like making your bed in the morning. There's always deja vu.

Beautiful gracious speech from Cranston, though. If there's a takeaway from the evening it's that we're all supposed to be watching Breaking Bad. I feel left out.

9:24 Jimmy Fallon just isn't funny. I think that's the problem. He's doing a musical In Memoriam to shows that went off the air. The lyrics were mildly amusing for the 24 spot. But otherwise I'm lost. And he's doing Lost "I didn't understand it, but I tried."

9:25 My best friend on Glee "If Glee loses, it will follow the storyline of the show. And thus, will only serve the show." Hee.

9:30 I forgot to mention that Dexter won Direction of a Drama. I feel like I am seran wrapped to a table right now and the Academy of Television is a serial killer ready to do me in. I'm so over this.

9:34 Lead Actress January Jones, Mad Men; Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights; Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer; Glenn Close, Damages; Juliana Marguiles, The Good Wife; Mariska Hargitay; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit And the winner is... Kyra Sedgwick

This will not help to free me up from the seran wrap.
I'll say come on, come on, come on, come on, yeah take it!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby. (break a..)
9:36 I swear Jimmy Fallon is hosting this show from his basement. It's so 12 year old boy "funny" rather than funny.

9:40 The Tonys just won something. My friend thinks that awards shows should be ineligible to win prizes at other awards shows. Listen, I love Broadway but seeing a Broadway show will not change your life. And as my friend Ed says "It'll change your bank account."

9:53 Ricky Gervais is SO funny. "Bucky Gunts" for the win.

9:55 I may actually expire before this show is over.

10:08 Julia Ormond just won Supporting Actress for a TV Movie Temple Grandin. They spelled her name wrong "Julia Ormand" and then she couldn't remember Catherine O'Hara's last name? A joke? I'm very confused right now. Earlier today I forgot the word to "balcony" I am terrified that I have Aphasia. Or at least I am terrified that awards shows have it.

10:16 Temple Grandin won another. Is that about a disease? I shouldn't joke about Aphasia. But I really did forget the word for balcony earlier. WTF?

10:17 Jewel is doing In Memoriam? But without an intro. I remember HER but I can't remember "balcony"

10:20 These In Memoriams are always so sad. Sniffle.

10:23 We're now eating Iceland skyr... it's a little mealy or chalky or something. Do not like. Sorry Iceland.

10:24 I have lost the thread.

10:26 Some time ago George Clooney won a humanitarian prize. He really is a great person. But my apartment -- I have a couple friends over -- we're now experimenting with cuisine and discussing the Scissor Sisters. I tried!

Look how A-MAZ-ING this photo is that my BFF took? The light is emanating from Jake Shears chest. It's not the first time. Light is also absorbed there. The light in my eyeballs.

10:30 Oh all right. If I must. Back to the Emmys.

Lead Actress Nominees Joan Allen, Georgia O'Keefe | Judi Dench, Return to Cranford | Maggie Smith, Capturing Mary | Claire Danes, Temple Grandin | Hope Davis, That Special Relationship And the winner is... Claire Danes.

Her acceptance speech was fun. I would quote it for you now but I lost the thread. I'll have to backtrack. But she was cute and, it's like, something Angela Chase would've said if she'd become, like, a tv star. For reals.

10:38 Lead Actor Nominees Jeff Bridges, A Dog Year | Ian McKellen, The Prisoner | Al Pacino, You Don't Know Jack | Dennis Quaid, That Special Relationship | Michael Sheen, That Special Relationship And the winner is... Al Pacino. I hate his hair so much.

BTW Latisse is probably loving how many opportunities Claire Danes has had to blink and coo at the camera tonight. Those lashes sure are lovely!

10:40 Yes, please wrap it up Pacino.

10:41 OMG. He is STILL talking? They would drown anyone else out with orchestra music.

Except maybe Betty White.

10:42 I am beyond TIME. I am now going to share a screencap that happened before Al Pacino won. Because I cannot be contained by time or by my own time stamping. F*** you 10:42 I am 10:36 or something. Take it. You'll take it and you'll like it.


10:46 I feel like if you add up all the times Tom Hanks has been on awards stages accepting prizes -- best miniseries -- you would equal my life. Or at least up until say high school graduation. He's logged years up there is what I'm saying.

10:50 So Claire Danes was just called "bottomlessly talented" does this mean her bottom is without talent? She'll always have her eyelashes.


Defending New York City champs 30Rock and Mad Men, both of which have won for every season aired (thus far), defend their titles. Will they repeat for their 4th and 3rd respective seasons? We'll find out in seconds.

Drama Breaking Bad | Dexter | The Good Wife | Lost | Mad Men | True Blood And the winner is... MAD MEN. Yes! Best show on TV. You know my feelings about it. January Jones is wearing a dress made of a blue chinese new year dragon. Shell breasts. How cute was that little exchanged look between the Drapers on stage?

Comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm | Glee | Modern Family | Nurse Jackie | The Office | 30 Rock
And the winner is...
[nailbiter] Modern Family! Great great show. Yay. Deserved. So consistent and so beautifully executed and just, well, funny. And the award is called "Best Comedy"

10:59 Okay wow. So the awards went to fairly deserving things but Jimmy Fallon was terrible. I'm out.

The clear winner of the night is... (I think we all know).... Claire Danes. How soon does HBO offer her her own series?

11:54 OK. I really must sleep now but I just wanted to remind Sofía Vergara of her commitments.

The End.

Here's Looking at You.

Jose here.

Ingrid Bergman passed away on a day like today, 28 years ago. It was also her 67th birthday.
You have to be one classy human being, to pass away on the day you were born in. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to be disrespectful, what I'm trying to say is that this unfortunate coincidence works as a perfect metaphor to encompass the gracefulness, elegance and tact that Ms. Bergman embodied.

Ever so concise, effortlessly direct and charmingly pragmatic, she made a career for herself based on quite economical acting.
Tell me, is there any other actor who never appeared to make a false step onscreen? Even in not so good films like Anastasia and Under Capricorn, there is not a single thing Ms. Bergman did that did not seem authentic.
Disguising her broken heart in Casablanca she makes fools out of Humphrey Bogart, Paul Henreid and us. In Autumn Sonata she makes us despise her coldness but wonder what made her this way and in the haunting Europa '51 she becomes almost saintlike without losing her humanity.

Tonight, when, and if, you're watching the Emmys, remember that in her very last performance, she played Golda Meir in the made for television special A Woman Called Golda.
There with the same effortlessness she relied on throughout her legendary career she plays a woman who made leading an entire country, in the midst of economic, political and societal turmoil, seem like the easiest thing in the world.
It might not be my favorite performance of hers but watching it and realizing that the actress behind the makeup was terminally ill, has much to say about the way in which Bergman devoted herself to the character.
It was never about her.

May she rest in peace.