Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oscar Night - 2008

Bah-da-da-da-da-da-da Hollywood! Bah-da-da-da-da-da-da HOLLYWOOD!!!

It's Oscar night! This has always been one of my favorite award shows of the year. Normally I'll do a running diary for the night hitting all the highlights, and low-lights, but tonight has turned out to be a little different.

I just got about an hour into a diary when I realized that nothing has really happened. This has been kind of a boring Oscar night (as far as the Academy Awards go). The best picture nominees are all films that didn’t get seen by a huge number of people…even though everyone seems to claim that they saw Juno. Amongst all the acting nominees, there really isn’t any of those real “blockbuster” names. It’s just sort of a “let’s see who pulls out a couple statues” kind of night.

Jon Stewart has been doing extremely well as the host though. Not only was this guy laying down some great one-liners, he made one of the classier moves I’ve ever seen on the Oscar Stage when he let Marketa Irglova (who won for Best Song in her collaboration with Glen Hansard).

Note: Their song “Falling Slowly” is absolutely great and upon them winning I helped crash iTunes for a quick purchase.

Hansard and Irglova went up to get their statues and just as Marketa was taking to the microphone for her end of the thank you speech the mic lowered into the floor and the orchestra started playing. She left the stage without being able to say a word.

Stewart, however, came back from commercial and immediately re-intorduced Irglova and let her come out and give her thank you’s. Kudos to Jonny “Daily Show” for his classy move and for realizing that this girl deserves to have her moment even if it means that he has to give up a couple of jokes that will probably be forgotten in five minutes anyway.

The overall slowness of the evening, along with the many, MANY montages that the production crew put together for us (obviously fearing that the writers’ strike might still be going on) made me think about some of my favorite moments from the past few year’s - it made me think of some of the funnier, some of the joyful and some of the crazier moments. Here are a couple of good ones:

These are a few of my favorite moments but I can’t tell you how awesome it was to watch Ben Affleck and Matt Damon win Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting. It was like two of my buddies, guys my age had cracked through the Hollywood hierarchy and won something BIG. It was a really cool moment. Also, watching Robin Williams win later that night for his role in the same film was really great because we really got to see a different side of him.

But by far, the best part of the Academy Awards show, as long as I have been tuning in, was any time that Billy Crystal took the stage. This guy is the modern day Bob Hope and really should be allowed to host anytime he wants to. I understand that the Academy needs to “attract a more youthful demographic” but Crystal was just plain phenomenal. The guys sings, dances, tells jokes and is just genuinely one of the most entertaining persons in business.

So, all in all, was the Oscars telecast the best? No. was it the worst? No. Was it a great way to waste away a Sunday night after a long weekend? You betcha!

Friday, February 1, 2008

The End of a Season

We’ve really got some big things on our plate right now. Last week, the nominees for the 80th annual Academy Awards were released. The new season of television shows has begun (which means 24 is back for me...hopefully soon... and American Idol is back for everyone else). That all being said, we only have time for one thing right now – the culmination of the football season – The Super Bowl. Man, I hope I don't get sued for saying "The Super Bowl."

As many of you know, that means the annual pilgrimage to my buddy Bodner’s house to visit with friends, drink more than I probably should and stuff my face with food that I really shouldn’t be eating anyway. I mean, come on, right when we are supposed to be hitting our stride with the New Years’ resolutions…we get to the Supe...err...this big event about a big football game?! It really isn't fair.

The big change this year, with most of us in our mid to late-20’s and early 30’s, is that the festivities are being billed as “kid-friendly.” I find this funny because this in no way will decrease the amount of alcohol or harsh language that will be thrown around at this shin-dig. It basically just means that over in the corner of the downstairs room their will be an area for the kids to play and for mommy to watch them. Oh, how times have changed.

This event always reminds me, though, of just how transcendent this day has become. It truly is a national holiday. I explained this in my “Super Bowl Holiday” posting from a year ago. The amazing thing is how the game really is secondary. Sure, we watch it but there are very few people out there that have a legitimate routing interest. Compare that number with the number of people that will actually be watching and the ratio is staggering.

The commercials are a bigger production than the game as well. At no other point in American television will people gather around the set and at the first break yell, “Shut up, the commercials are starting!” I think that half of the audience out there is watching solely for the commercials. That just amazes me. But can you really blame people for wanting to check out Gisele B√ľndchen in the new Pepsi commercial?...I didn’t think so.

But what really defines this day? The fact that on a day that is completely synonomous with football, beer and chicken wings, Lady Cheek seems to be all about it.

Anyhow, my thoughts on the game:

What Eli Manning and the New York Football Giants have done over the past few weeks has been really nice. It’s been great to see the “little brother” get a chance to shine for a few moments. The Patriots are going for 19-0, however, and they are just plain better than the Giants. Period. End of discussion.

You don’t go 16-0 in the regular season, then win two playoff games, get to the Super Bowl and then “slip up.” And you certainly don’t if you have the kind of experience that Tom Brady, Bill Belichick (Note: you know, I have been repeatedly writing this guy’s name over the past couple months and continue to misspell it…) and the rest of the New England Patriots have in this particular atmosphere.

This really shouldn’t be a game.

Patriots 38, Giants 20.

Have a great time at the Supe...err...The Big Game!