The Academy Awards: Jennifer Lawrence, That ‘Les Mis’ Musical Number, and the History of Ties at the Oscars. Oh, and maybe that Affleck guy, too.

Posted in Check It Out!, Movies, TV on February 25th, 2013 by Nick

movies-oscars-2013-acting-winners_1The 85th Academy Awards ceremony aired last night and if you aren’t dead, you’re probably just about overloaded on Oscar mania, thanks to Twitter and Facebook alone. But still, shit’s worth mentioning, yo.

Seth MacFarlane was way better than anticipated. Sure, there were racy, borderline-sexist jokes, but compared to his usually douchebag self (this coming from a pretty big Family Guy/Ted fan, so settle down, Beavis), he didn’t go overboard. He had lots of hilarious jokes and jabs, and let’s face it: Dude can sing. The opening was great, the collaborations and music followed through – this blogger was pleased!

Jennifer Lawrence won for Best Actress and tripped on the way up. But no one cares, because Jennifer Lawrence can pretty much kill a baby koala on stage and everyone would still love her. Her candor is so, so refreshing for an up-and-coming Hollywood-type to be and as long as she continues being herself (and acting the shit out of everything she’s in), she’s going to have a long, healthy, and entertaining career to follow.

Now, I’m not too huge of a Musical guy, but I do have my guilty pleasures. Admittedly, Les Misérables isn’t one of them. However, that musical number by the Les Mis cast? Holy shit. Guess I need to see it? Even that 10-second clip during Hathaway’s win was very powerful. Even though insert-Russell-Crowe-joke-here, I still have to get on it. Because WOW.

Which now brings me to that tie! (You can tie!?) The editors from Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall shared Oscars for Best Sound Editing last night which made the entire world wonder if that shiz had ever happened before. It has. Last night was the sixth time in Oscar history. I thought I’d have to do some serious investigating on this one, but it turns out the Internet was all over it this morning. Here’s the skinny:

According to the AMPAs database, the first happened in 1931-32, when Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde’s Frederic March and The Champ’s Wallace Beery each won the Best Actor award. However, the vote count wasn’t an actual tie — Beery received one more than March, but the rules at the time stated two winners would be honored if the count was within three votes. The rule subsequently changed.

In 1949, A Chance to Live and So Much for So Little both won the Best Documentary Short award. Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand tied for the Best Actress statuette in 1968, for their respective roles in The Lion in Winter and Funny Girl. The fourth tie occurred in 1986, when Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got and Down and Out in America were honored for Best Documentary. Finally, Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life and Trevor both won the Best Short Film (Live Action) award in 1995.

So there you have it! Six ties. Count ‘em.

And Affleck. Man, if there isn’t a better example for a Champ-Turned-Underdog. Dude wins for Good Will Hunting and then is basically mocked for years, only to have a killer fuck you-comeback with Argo. Then, he accepts graciously to an Academy and public full of assholes that shunned him. Affleck had a moment and showed poise, all while making us feel like the jerks we are. Good on ya, Ben, despite whatever-the-hell he said to his wife, Jennifer Garner. What was that about? I don’t know. Who cares. Ben > Us.

Though last night’s event felt crazy long by its conclusion, the charisma, music, and titty jokes really made it all worthwhile.

I just wish Beasts of the Southern Wild had walked away with something.

For a complete winners list, click here.

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Now On Blu-ray: ‘Hit & Run’

Posted in Movies on February 20th, 2013 by Nick

Hit and Run Trio Poster (1)Despite a semi-quiet release and meager 48% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I must admit: last year’s Hit & Run was highly entertaining. Dax Shepard (yeah, yeah…I know) deserves some cred for wearing the hat of writer, co-director and star, and alongside his fellow cast members, baby mama Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper and Tom Arnold, the movie flows well and has plenty of laughs along the way.

Shepard plays Charlie Bronson, a former getaway driver now in the witness protection program after testifying against some of his partners-in-crime. When his girlfriend Annie gets an interview for an opportunity in L.A., Charlie decides to drive her there despite what his supervising U.S. Marshall (Arnold) has to say. Thanks to the douchebaggery of Annie’s ex-boyfriend Gil, Alexander Dmitri (Cooper), one the guys Charlie put away, is soon hot on their trail. Then the funny happens.

The movie has a great mix of comedy and action with a dash of drama thrown in as well. The chase scenes are surprisingly decent and the set-up and flow make you feel attached enough to the characters by film’s end. The cast is really the shining light here. Cooper, dreadlocked and gangster’ed up, is hilarious as the white wannabe Alex, and Arnold plays a perfect bumbling watchdog. And when is Kristen Bell not absolutely delightful? The answer is never.

The guest stars and cameos are aplenty – Kristin Chenoweth, Ryan Hansen, Joy Bryant (Parenthood shoutout!), David Koechner, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes all pop in and out throughout all the chasing, and it’s enjoyable to see all of the likable, familiar faces. The film didn’t need them, but hey, bonus.

Considering that Shepard got his start out with Ashton Kutcher on Punk’d, liking the former prankster has been a tough pill for me to swallow (not even mentioning the list of stinkers he has on his resume). But hey, props are due. Shepard can definitely handle drama, as evidenced week after week on NBC’s Parenthood. His stint in the incredible familial drama has really transformed him into an actor as opposed to just a here-and-there support guy. Having said that, with Hit & Run under his belt it seems he’s got some life in him after all. If you like any of these actors, are a Parenthood fan, or dig the general premise, Hit & Run will satisfy and be worthy of a Netflix or Red Box rental.

Did I mention Kristen Bell is in it? No brainer, people.

Grade: B 

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Perfection at its Best: Why we should all enjoy many more ‘Wet Hot American Summers’

Posted in Check It Out! on June 24th, 2011 by Nick

To insinuate that there are varying degrees of perfection doesn’t make any sense at all (Welcome to The Littlest Winslow!), but dammit, Wet Hot American Summer is the best degree of perfect there ever could be. Ever.

Yesterday, EW reported that multiple WHAS alumni would be willing to return for another summer at Camp Firewood, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni and Elizabeth Banks included. Director David Wain and co-writer Michael Showalter have even said that they are seriously considering writing a sequel to the campy (HA!) spoof later this year, confirming, in fact, that there is a God.

Have you seen this doozy? If you haven’t, your life will forever be unfulfilled. The cast! The quotables! The comedic timing and delivery! It encompasses everything you have ever loved about 80s movies and camp movies and seamlessly combines and ridicules them in one fell swoop of glory!

My love for this film runs deep. Upon first viewing, it may be hard to get the tone or completely understand why this movie is so amazing. Alas, by conducting multiple viewings, the viewer is peeling off layer after layer of deliciousness, digging into the core subtleties that lie scattered throughout. The funny gets funnier and the little things begin to demand attention. Every ride on this magic carpet is one to write home about!

Wain and Showalter – SEQUEL ME. I’m ready and exploding with feverish delight (gross). Maybe you can pick up the story 10 years later…the gang did agree to meet back up, after all  (remember – they have to make it their BEESWAX to be there by 9:30!).

The characters can all be a little bit older, but hopefully, fingers crossed, none the wiser.

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More Summer Movie Fun: 'Land of the Lost' and 'The Hangover'

Posted in Movies on June 22nd, 2009 by Nick

So I checked out a few more movies, which is always a good time. I think I’ve seen more movies in the past month than I have in the last 3 years! (Netflix ftw!)

Also, I apologize for lack of updates: Summer is here. Sometimes sun and/or fun sounds way more enticing than sitting here scouring the net for something to write about. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. Or maybe it does.

There’s not too much to say here. The cast? Amazing. Ferrell, McBride, and Pushing Daisies alumna Anna Friel were all great in their respective roles. The plot? The plot was only so-so. Highly CGI’d, highly kid-friendly. And maybe that’s where they went wrong.

The original Sid and Marty Krofft production was campy, cheesy, and out there. This was a little too mainstream for me. I suppose “make it more stoner-y” isn’t too enticing for a major studio that is gambling a 100 million budget (100 million? Really!?). It’s sort of a shame that this movie wasn’t better. If you’ve read any reviews around the web, I hate to say it but most of them are spot on.

Survey Says: With all that said, I did still find some enjoyment in watching it, but if you have any sort of yearning to see this one, wait for DVD. Netflix got yo’ back, son. And oh yeah – see Drag Me To Hell instead.

I’d like to start off our “Hangover” section of this blog posting with a “FUCK YES.” Best comedy I’ve seen in a long, long time. Old School director Todd Phillips? Check. Funny story about drunken debauchery? Check. Zach I-can-never-spell-his-last-name-without-looking-it-up Galifianakis? Check.

Where to even start? Bradley Cooper. So hot right now. Ed Helms and a little love from The Office. Goddammit, there’s just so much good happening in this movie! It’s about time the world started LOVING Zachy G – they’re about 5 years behind schedule on that.(Note: add Zach’s “Live At the Purple Onion” to your queue. Do it now.)

The movie suffered a little from the overly-extended trailer, but even given that fact, there was still plenty of surprises, plenty to laugh at, and the outrageous scenes found in said trailer were extended and even better in context of the entire film. I know reviews kind of beat this one up a bit, claiming that the trip to Vegas/induced hangover thing was over done and stale, but they can go screw. I can’t remember laughing this much at the theater since the Reno 911 movie.

Survey Says: Two thumbs way, way up. Go. See. This. Movie. Then go see Drag Me To Hell.

It appears my journalistic education has gone down the drain – I saw both of these movies on their opening weekend. You probably would’ve cared so much more like, weeks ago. Oops. I’ll be more timely in the future.

NEXT UP: Transformers 2. Yessssssss.

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