Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscars de la Hoy

In the past, I've done a recap or precap for the Academy Awards. And even though this year I don't have very strong opinions about this year's nominees, I didn't want to let you, my faithful readers, down. So I'm just going to jot down a few (pages of) notes as the events unfold. Consider this live tweeting, except that it's not on Twitter and you're not reading it live.

Note: Note that these notes are in order of the events of the broadcast. Note.

  • I've had two different family members ask me who Seth MacFarlane is, but I think he's doing a pretty good job so far.
  • Halle Berry looked ticked off about the Chris Brown/Rhianna joke.
  • Seeing William Shatner just made me sad.
  • Seth MacFarlane can sing. Maybe he should have been Jean Valjean. Or at least dubbed over Hugh Jackman's singing voice.
  • Why did the dancers at the beginning have to be Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron?
  • Yeah, I'm not convinced with the random celebrity dance numbers.
  • Samuel L. Jackson is not amused.
  • I found the Flying Nun skit to be quite humorous.
  • Seth is definitely a showman, unlike some James Francos I know.
  • Glad to see movie clips for the nominees. People like clips.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz. Huh? Seriously? He's good, but he plays the same character in Django as he did in Inglorious. This is not a good start to my office Oscar ballot contest.
  • Wow. That Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy bit fell completely flat. I feel bad for them. I like both of them.
  • Best Animated Short: Paperman. Boo-yah! I picked that one! And the acceptance speech was short and sweet.
  • Best Animated Feature Film: Brave. Meh. None of the nominees were that good this ye. . .HOLY COW HE'S WEARING A KILT!
  • Yes, I understand that recording the singing live for Les Mis was intentional to get the raw emotion, but I don't want to listen to raw emotion on my Pod.
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild is like the Winter's Bone of Lousiana.
  • Quweuveuenvena is just an adorable little girl.
  • That's not all The Avengers. Where's Thor and Black Widow? If Hawkeye can make it, you can make it!
  • Best Cinematography: Life of Pi. I could have guessed this one. In fact, I did guess this one! That free lunch is within my grasp! I wonder how my cinematographer friends feel about this win. Congratulations to Nelson for winning this award!
  • Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi. Ok, I liked the book a lot, now I'm really wanting to see the movie. Also, Mr. Jackson, if you make the awkward bit feel like it's not a bit, it's just awkward.
  • Is that Jaws music? WATCH OUT, AWARD WINNERS!
  • When was the last time Jennifer Aniston did anything substantial? And yet she's still A-list.
  • Best Costume Design: Anna Karinina. Way to throw that movie a bone. Also, I like how all of the best costume nominees are period pieces. Apparently the people working on films set in the modern times don't do "real" work on costumes.
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Les Miserables. So "Best Hairstyling" involves choppy haircuts? What's with the sudden music drop? That made things awkward.
  • I like how they're burning through the nominees.
  • Ugh. Please don't remind us that Halle Berry was a Bond girl. I'd rather forget Die Another Day.
  • I think I'm gonna like this James Bond tribute.
  • Seriously, there's something about the Bond theme that is just inherently awesome.
  • Are they going to do all 23 Bond songs? Time for a bathroom break.

  • Ok, I'm back. What did I miss? Live action short and documentary short? I'm ok with that.
  • Wait, I was promised all of the Bonds onstage at one time during this broadcast. Why didn't tha happen during that Bond tribute?
  • I know the basic plot of Argo, but what's this "Lincoln" about? Is it about a president?
  • Ouch. Apparently it's still too soon for Lincoln jokes, Mr. MacFarlane.
  • Wow. The Kardashians finally made it to the Oscars. . .in joke form.
  • Best Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man. Darn. If only I had an opinion about this one.
  • Best Foreign Feature: Amour. Is it really fair for a movie to be nominated for Best Picture and Best Foreign Film? Well, I guess this way they still win, even if they lose Best Picture.
  • We have the closed captions on so that we can still hear the show over the children, but I'm glad we have it on for this acceptance speech.
  • Whoa. I didn't know the orchestra performed live in a different building. That has to be difficult. I'm impressed.
  •  Pssssst! Travolta! Don't pronounce the final "S" in Les Miserables!
  • Ugh. I am not a fan of Chicago. If you ask me, that's one year the Academy got the Best Picture completely wrong. I think they were just trying to make up for not giving the award to Moulin Rouge the year before.
  • We're giving a lot of time to musical numbers that aren't in the running. . .
  • I wonder if the Les Mis cast is singing live this time. . .or if they're pulling a Beyonce.
  • I see that Russell Crowe wasn't invited to this little soiree. . . .oh wait. There he is. That'll show the haters. . .right? 
  • I wonder how many seat fillers had to cover the cast and chorus of Les Mis.
  • That animated bear looks shockingly convincing. Is that CGI or puppetry? It's gotta be green screen.
  • Best Sound Mixing: Les Miserables. Because it's very difficult to mix amazing music with mediocre live singing.
  • Best Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty AND Skyfall. A tie?? That's crazy! I've never seen that before. I used to not be impressed with this category, until I saw Birdemic and realized how important it was.
  • Is it a requirement for sound editors to have long, blonde hair? That can't be a coincidence that all three people on stage for this award are sportin' the same 'do.
  • The Von Trapp joke was cheesy, but I enjoyed it. Huzzah for silliness!
  • Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway. I wrote that answer down before they announced it. I'm psychic. But was there ever really any doubt?
  • Huh. An Academy Award museum? That could be interesting.
  • That would be fun to get to present awards, but only if I got to present one to Kate Beckinsale. She's due for an Oscar.
  • Best Editing: Argo. Those envelopes must be hard to open. I bet by the time this post goes live, there will be an animated gif and/or meme of that moment, Ms. Bullock.
  • If you don't like Jennifer Lawrence, you're a jerk. She's so nervous, it's adorable.
  • Did you guys see Adele on the red carpet next to Kristin Chenoweth? It made me giggle like a schoolboy.
  • It's amazing to think that someone who has such a beautiful singing voice has such an annoying talking voice.
  • I miss the days when Nicole Kidman wasn't so plastic.
  • It's an odd year. I actually want to see all of the Best Picture nominees. Normally there's one I don't care about.
  •  Best Production Design: Lincoln. Did anyone else see that bruise on Kristen Stewart's arm? I blame Chris Brown. Robert Pattinson doesn't have the arm strength for that kind of injury.
  • Once again, Ms. Hayek, I'm grateful for the closed captioning. But it's funny how they have her presenting the Governor's Award, just so the viewers will pay attention to . . .whatever that's for.
  • Come on, Academy Awards, is that the best kind of tribute you can do for Hollywood stuntmen? They deserve better. Give them their own category!
  • In Memoriam: the part of the show when I say "Oh yeah! They died this year!" and "Who is that?"
  • But seriously, this part always gets me a little emotional.
  • I've always wondered what the Academy would do if a famous actor actually died during the In Memoriam ceremony.
  • I can't wait to see the tweets about who the Academy forgot to memorialize this year.
  • Oh great. Barbara Streisand is singing. It's time for another bathroom break.
  • My dislike of Ms. Streisand may have stemmed from my father's, but I soon gained my own reasons.
  • What is going on with Renee Zellweger's eyes?
  • Best Original Score: Life of Pi. Notice how Renee couldn't read the winner. And Life of Pi is cleaning up this year.
  • Seriously, what is the Academy's obsession with Chicago? It's not that good of a movie or a musical.
  • I guess if Man or Muppet could win, this song from Ted might have a shot.
  • Best Original Song: Skyfall. Ok, she's got a Grammy and an Oscar, now she just needs an Emmy and a Tony. #EGOT And that other dude has Jef Holm hair.
  • It's so cute that Charlize Theron got a haircut to match Dustin Hoffman's.
  • Was Ms. Theron in Les Mis, too? Why is her hair so short?
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Argo. The true story is interesting enough. I'm excited to see what the screenwriters did with it. I still remember Ben Affleck and Matt Damon getting their first award for Good Will Hunting.
  • Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino. Maybe this movie is better than I give credit. Look at Tarantino's tie, is that the tie of an Oscar winner? Although I should have guessed this one would win because it had the most controversial language.
  • Yes, he just said, "Peace out!" at the end of his second speech.
  • I would watch a Zombie Unicorn movie directed by Tim Burton.
  • Awww, look at the cute senior citizens!
  • Best Director: Ang Lee. Wow. Did not see that one coming. I thought the Academy had to contractually give Spielberg an award every decade.
  • This dude may have made an AWFUL Hulk movie, but apparently he's got some talent. I apologize for every time I've mistaken his movies for John Woo's.
  •  I still think Seth MacFarlane is doing a good job. He knows the show is not about him and keeps everything moving.
  • Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence. Uh-oh! She fell! Good on Hugh Jackman for being a gentlemen and trying to help. And she played it off well. I'm happy for Ms. Lawrence. She was in one of the highest grossing films of 2012 and she wins an Academy Award for a different film in the same year. And, once again, this proved my point that a Best Actress (and Best Actor) winner has to scream, cry or yell in their role.
  • Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis. I typed that one in before they announced it, too. And apparently Meryl was a little too quick for the TV producers, too. Jackman did a good job acting, but I really couldn't take his singing voice in that role. Mr. Day-Lewis has a sense of humor, who knew?
  • Once again, iconic American roles are being taken over by Brits.
  • I don't care if it's method acting, it's weird if you never drop character. It takes a certain level of mental illness to pull that off.
  • Jack Nicholson little a little off-kilter. I mean, even more so than usual.
  • The First Lady? Seriously? Ugh. The Obamas are politicians, not Hollywood celebrities. They should have let Jack Nicholson do it. Once again, this just proves how Hollywood worships President Obama.
  • I think Mrs. Obama's speech is longer than Lincoln. Stop mixing politics with Hollywood!
  • Best Picture: Argo. Wow. I guessed Silver Linings Playbook, but I figured it would have been Lincoln. I guess this is the Academy's way of making up for the director snub. George Clooney is truly King Midas when it comes to the Academy Awards. Now I guess I have to see this one.
  • Watch out Ben Affleck! Heisenberg is standing right behind you!
  • I'm a fan of Affleck's rambling speech. He hasn't changed much since Good Will Hunting, it seems.
  • They should have ended it with the win. This musical number is a bit awkward, even if the lyrics are funny.

So that's it. Good night. I need to pay attention to my family

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Harlem Shake Brings All the Boys to the Yard

Harlem Shake

I saw that phrase being thrown around Facebook, Twitter and the general interwebs a lot recently. It was like the secret password for an underground society -- something that sounded meaningless and innocuous unless you were part of the club. As one friend put it, "This Harlem Shake I keep hearing about; that's like a smooth chocolate milkshake, right?" Close enough.

Little did I know the pain and mental anguish that I would experience by acknowledging this meme. After all, another term for something becoming a meme is something going viral. And the Harlem Shake truly can become a viral infection of the mind. Once you get the music and the images in your head, it's almost impossible to get them out.

So, much like most people do with viruses, I'm going to spread this one around to all of you, my faithful readers. But I'm going to present it in the most historically accurate way possible.

The origins are fuzzy, but it seems that the Harlem Shake started in early February 2013 with this video:

That was odd enough, and may have gone viral on its own, but then a group of buddies from Australia decided to do their own version of the Harlem Shake as a video reply shortly thereafter:

And a meme was born. Suddenly small groups of friends and large corporations across the world were downloading this relatively unknown song by a relatively unknown musical artist named Baauer and creating their versions of the Harlem Shake. Just to give you an idea of how big this trend is (and how ashamed you should feel for not knowing about it),"On February 10, the upload rate of Harlem Shake videos reached 4,000 per day. As of February 11, about 12,000 versions of the popular Internet meme had been uploaded to YouTube, garnering over 44 million unique views. As of February 15, about 40,000 Harlem Shake videos had been uploaded, totaling 175 million views." -Wikipedia

Yeah, it's that big. And since there are so many examples of the Harlem Shake, I've decided to post a few favorites here on the blog so you don't have to wade through the rest of them -- you'll thank me later.

So here are a few of the best Harlem Shakes out there.

Norwegian Army Version:

KSL Version:

Dog Version:

Office Edition v3:

UGA Men's Swim & Dive Version:

And my personal favorite version:

Love it or hate it, this internet sensation is sweeping the nation, and I wanted to get this post up before the Harlem Shake was done. I learned my lesson with Gangnam Style, memes rise fast and fall even faster.

In fact, it's probably not even worth it to make my own version of the Harlem Shake, right?


. . .I'll go get my camera, meet me at Fudruckers in one hour. Bring your own horse head costume.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Moobak! Skrowerif! Fireworks! Kaboom!

Faithful readers, I'm on vacation. So you'll please excuse me if the post this week isn't extensive or full of clever observations or insightful insight. I'm too busy relaxing with my family.

Here is a cool video of fireworks going in reverse. My thanks to, alert reader, Tim for sending this video in.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Video Game Masterpiece Theatre

Faithful readers, I have a confession. It may not be a very shocking confession. It may not be a surprising confession, but it's a confession I must make, nonetheless: I enjoy watching Downton Abbey.

If you would have come up to me 10 years ago and told me that I would be anxiously awaiting the latest episode of a British soap opera set around the time of WWI and WWII, I would have probably slapped you across the face with my glove and challenged you to a duel. However, the fact remains that I do enjoy the show even though, as my brother so aptly put it, nothing happens. It's a slice of life program where the dramatic action is usually no more than a sharp word or menacing glance. Yet the good writing and solid acting almost always win me over. Granted, there are a few things that bother me about the show, but for the most part I am completely caught up in the lives of those that live at Downton and those that serve them.

But why do I bring this up? Well, because this video game parody of Downton Abbey, created by a guy named Bill Kiley, at first looks completely ridiculous. I mean, who would ever play a game based off of this BBC Masterpiece Theatre drama? But then, after watching it a few hundred times I suddenly started thinking "Actually that looks kind of fun."

Check it out:

 I doubt the Dowager Countess would approve -- after all, she was more of a Sega Genesis fan.