Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Oscars. Now With Even More Suck

I coach Soccer for the YMCA. I have coached soccer for several years now. I don't coach competitive soccer. And because I don't coach competitive soccer, I play all my kids. Every game. Regardless of talent. They all get to play. And because of this, there are no hurt feelings.

The Oscars ain't the YMCA. This is supposed to be the tippy top as it relates to film competitions. Only now the Oscars want to play it nice. They want to make sure that everyone gets included. That everyone feels loved. It's obvious now that the Oscars are no longer about true craftsmanship and are all about the bottom line. Maybe I should have seen this coming. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised that the lush red curtain has finally been pulled aside to reveal this.

I would say that in the past few years, I've been hard-pressed to pick five pictures worthy of an award. And now there are going to be ten?

Let me give an early congratulations to Michael Bay for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen getting a Best Picture nod.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Did You Get The Liscense Plate Of That Truck?

That's what my wife said in Mexico on our honeymoon. She was referring to the incredible hangover we both had. I thought that was pretty funny of her to say that. You see, I like to laugh. I look for opportunities to laugh. I make it a point to laugh every single day. It's why I maintain a youthful glow and why my skin is silky smooth. I have the pleasure of working with funny people. And shooting funny commercials (that may be up for debate by some). So I wouldn't say that I'm adverse to laughing. Not at all.

But I didn't laugh that much in The Hangover. Like usual, I found the funniest bits to be in the trailer. I still found myself laughing during some of those scenes, which I guess is a testament to their funny-ness. And so I feel guilty because The Hangover was described to me as an "instant classic" and "should be seen if you like to be sore from laughing so hard."

And before everyone tells me I have a stick up my ass, let me say that I thought that it wasn't a terrible movie. I'm not angry I saw it. I don't want my money back. I found it to be a fun movie, just not a very funny movie. But I think the premise is brilliant. And Heather Graham still has the face of an angel and the body of Roller Girl.

But truth to tell, the funniest part of the movie is the photos of the trip that run during the ending credits. Someone betting a dentist that he can't pull out one of his own teeth, and then the dentist showing that person he can. Now that's funny.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm Dreaming Of The Pine Tree Inn circa 1954

Daniel at Getafilm has tagged me for the brilliant Meme titled The Favorite Movie Period/Place. And then Thomas at Pluck You, Too! tagged me as well.

In Daniel's intro to this Meme, he admits it can be a daunting task trying to decide what your favorite movie period or place could be. It's a wide open area. And when he started listing the possibilities, I even waivered a bit. But who the hell is Daniel to make me question my decision? I mean, it's my decision, it's not his. So take your Roman Empire and 1970's Manhattan and 16th Century Mesoamerica and put it in your pocket Daniel, because my favorite place, with no hesitation whatsoever, is the Vermont ski lodge Pine Tree Inn located in Columbia, Vermont from the film White Christmas.

Why? Is it because I love to ski? Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, I hate to ski. I've never been so scared as when I went skiing. Is it because I love, love, love cold weather? Hell to the no. As I grow older I have discovered that my patience for cold weather grows shorter and shorter every minute. Then why, Piper? Why? Tell us. Tell us right now.

Okay, okay. Settle down. I'll tell you. The reason is comfort. Looking at the insides of that lodge is like wrapping myself in a large extra furry blanket and being carted off to bed by a super human twice my size who is coddling me like a baby.

I fantasize about having a hot toddy by the open fire and then spontaneously breaking into song with some friends. Some friends who wouldn't mind if I broke into spontaneous song while drinking a hot toddy. Or taking in a dance or a show in the always packed ballroom. Or better yet, I am the Inn Keeper. I gather logs for the fire and make drinks for weary travelers looking to break their necks or legs on the slopes. And while I'm doing that, I may just break into spontaneous song.

Jeez, maybe this has nothing at all to do with The Pine Tree Inn and more to do with me just looking for a reason to break into song.

So here are the rules of the Meme.

1.) Think of a place (real or fictional) and time (past, present, future) portrayed in a movie (or a few) that you would love to visit.
2.) List the setting, period, applicable movie, and year of the applicable movie's release (for reference).
3.) Explain why, however you'd like (bullet points, list, essay form, screenshots, etc.). If this is a time and place that you have intimate knowledge of, feel free to describe what was done well and what wasn't done well in portraying it.
4.) If possible, list and provide links to any related movies, websites, books, and/or articles that relate to your choice (s).
5.) Modify Rules #1-4 to your liking. And come up with a better name for this meme.
Link back to this Getafilm post in your post, please.
7.) Tag at least five others to participate!

And here's who I'm tagging.

Greg at Cinema Styles

Film Dr at The Film Doctor

Jason at The Cooler

Rick at Coosa Creek Cinema

Kevin at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Don't Touch Me, I've Got Memes

Alright. I'm back from my vacation and hey... what's with all the Memes? I've got to write for several.

One for Daniel at Getafilm titled The Favorite Movie Period/Place Meme

One for Greg at Cinema Styles titled Why Being A Cinephile Matters

And finally one that I was kinda sorta invited to but not directly for MovieMan0283 titled Reading The Movies

So this is where I'll be. And if you don't like it, blame them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Drag Me To HELLO

I saw Drag Me To Hell last Friday afternoon. I can't say I really liked it that much. Mostly because I was expecting something different. Some time has passed since Raimi last did horror. And in that time he has become more sophisticated in his storytelling. A little less self-aware. A Simple Plan is a good example of this. And Spider-Man 2 was comic book fare, but it had a heart which felt like new ground for the genre. So I guess I was expecting Drag Me To Hell to feel a little more grown up. To me it only made sense. The evolution of his career suggested that this time around, things would be different.

It wasn't until I watched Drag Me To Hell a second time that it all made sense. This is exactly what the horror genre needs. To remind people how fun it can be to be scared. To jump. To scream. To yell at the screen. All of this has been lost in the past decade to one bad remake after another.

And while Drag Me To Hell is classic Raimi, there are some noticeable differences. The biggest one being Raimi's homage to Japanese horror. One can see this in his use of shadows that creep along the walls and crawl across floors. And in sound design that makes your insides feel like they are being pulled from your body. Sound is such an important element in horror and Raimi takes us to heights I didn't know existed.

The story is simple but brilliant. By making the main character Christine (Allison Lohman) cursed, Raimi has given himself a blank check to scare at any moment. There doesn't need to be a rhyme or a reason for it. And there doesn't need to be the traditional surroundings for it either. In broad daylight Christine can be attacked and suddenly we're back to the days of the original Halloween where no time or place is safe from the boogeyman.

At first I thought Allison Lohan was a strange choice to play the female version of Bruce Campbell. But her Middle-America sweetness is perfect and she plays it straight as an arrow. When she finally succumbs to the madness around her, you feel the change. And what's more, you welcome it. The charm of Raimi is that he never lets his main character play victim forever.

Drag Me To Hell makes no apologies. From the second it opens with the bold title to the second it closes with the same, Raimi uses every frame to tell you he's come to scare. And he delivers the goods time and time again. I expected something different from Raimi, but in doing that I was asking Raimi to stop being the cornball who has directed some of my favorite movies. And why the hell would I do that?