Friday, January 28, 2011

Why The Social Network Deserves To Win Best Picture

 Crossposted on & commissioned by

Something's happened. For the first time in at least seven years, I actually want the Oscar front runner for Best Picture to win Best Picture.

This may not seem important to you, but check it out - Fantastic Mr Fox was my #1 last year. The year before, I hated Slumdog Millionaire. The year before that, No Country? Eh. I wanted There Will Be Blood to win. The year before that, my two favorite movies, Children of Men & United 93, were virtually ignored. This goes on...and on...and on...a brief break at Return Of The King, then on...and on...and on yet again. The aughts were terrible in terms of my taste matching the Academy's. So you can imagine how sublimely jazzed I, an Oscar enthusiast who lists the date as a conflict on any form I fill out because it's my CHRISTMAS, am that the front runner for best picture of this year may actually in fact be...the best picture of this year...and I'm here to break down exactly how and why The Social Network fits that bill.

It Fires On All Cylinders Beginning to End

Except for the hardly hangable offense of a little too much CGI breath, there is not a weak element in this movie.  I've heard criticisms of course - that it's boring (have you seen a movie before?), that its characters are unrelatable (have you met people? - are you a person?) or even further - all the characters are "douchebags" (not the movie's fault if you can't read into subtext or understand acting...also, if you only like watching things where everyone is nice, I know this GREAT show called Wonderpets on Nickelodeon. It's about animated pets rescuing other animated pets through the power of teamwork, you'd love it), so on and so forth. Contrarians gonna be contrarians, but the fact of the matter is, The Social Network is masterfully crafted from top to bottom.

It is the complete package in terms of writing, directing, cinematography, performance (and for that matter - casting), score, editing, spot on costuming & production design, even visual effects (Winklevai!). It is technically superb. And even further, it tells an important, relevant story in a smart, compelling way. When you find yourself jealous that these actors get to say those lines and have those moments, you know the script is good. The direction is so seamless, it manages to step out of the way while still dictating the best path to follow. The Social Network is an example of what movies *should* be and *can* be . It's a film that is bare boned in its classic brilliance - it has nothing to hide behind and it doesn't need anything to hide behind. It's non-controversial (an American studio movie that did great at the box office!) while being totally controversial (young! edgy! plays with the truth! forces us to think about social networking in relation to our ability to connect on an interpersonal level!) Cinematic yet intimate. For more on the meaning of it all, head here for some great analysis.

Words This Great Rarely Look This Great

The Social Network is one of those rare movies that has a script sharp enough to be a play, but is elevated by the direction to such an extent that it could still only be a movie. Each scene is so fluid and expertly written, you could easily imagine seeing them performed live and still be at the edge of your seat, leaning in to make sure you get every word so that your brain can keep up with the verbal tenacity you're lucky enough to be witnessing. It's no coincidence Sorkin has plenty of playwriting experience under his belt.

But then Fincher pulls the camera back with cinematic sequences like In The Hall Of The Mountain King, the creation of Facemash intercut with the Phoenix party, even the sound levels in the club where Parker confirms his place in Zuckerberg's life that make you feel like you're next to them in the club eavesdropping - only movies can do that and The Social Network the only one this year to pull off such a feat.

Take The King's Speech - it could absolutely be a play as is. There is nothing that screams "technical achievement" about anything in the movie. It's mostly close ups and static two shots in one of three locations. Then take something like The Black Swan - it could absolutely not be a play, unless perhaps you were Julie "Cray Cray" Taymor. It uses the cinematic language to such an extent that cinema is the only home for it - same goes for Inception. But The Social Network is unique. It has a script so crackling, so complete but cinematography so dynamic, score so essential, direction so visually exciting and relentless in the pursuit of the perfect performance, that Fincher makes it *distinctly* cinematic. What other movie this year can live up to those standards?

It's Controversial In The Best Way Possible 

In Oscar history, more often than not the safe choice overcomes the controversial one, it's true. But take a look at last year. The Hurt Locker was a tough movie with an even tougher message. It was incredibly timely in a way most people didn't want to think about or acknowledge as truth. And the Academy actually had the balls to consent to etching its name in the hallway of the Kodak Theater for the rest of time. I don't see why this year should be any different. Maybe it's the 10 movies, maybe it's the influx of new, young Academy voters, maybe it's a combination of both, where the unexciting vote gets divided too much amongst the other nominated films, so the passionate vote wins out, but I feel like we've entered into new era and that's awesome.

It's Written By Aaron Sorkin and Directed By David Fincher...Enough Said

These are both artists that have been honing their craft for years and are incredibly well respected in the community. It's the guy who directed Fight Club and the dude who invented Jed Bartlet! Together! I want to eat the very idea of it! They've both had creative slumps (...depending on who you ask), so they've been there, they've done that, but Fincher figured out how to to infuse his incredible visual style into just simply telling a story and Sorkin stopped doing shrooms. The fact that neither has an Oscar should be remedied immediately and will. It's thrilling when two artists, both virtuosos on their own, come together and manage to create something even greater, much greater, than the sum of its parts. And shouldn't the best written & directed film of the year be, you know, considered the best picture of the year?

It Defines A Generation (I Went There)

I connected with this movie in a very intense way. I went to one of the first few schools that had Facebook, I've been around for every update, for every privacy debate, to see other websites come and go (yes, I was a member of ConnectU), to see new forms of social networking come into existence because Facebook set the groundwork for how to do it right, I've partaken in Facebook stalking and not to toot my own horn, but I'm sure I've been Facebook stalked. Who hasn't? And that's the point. This is very much a movie that could not have been made before now. And making it now and not in twenty years is rather courageous, if you ask me. The events depicted in The Social Network began eight years ago. Not only is every character in the movie able to see themselves portrayed, but most of us watching remember all of this happening. We remember site revamp after site revamp, the creation of the wall, the invention of tagging, the news stories about money and members and lawsuits. And if that doesn't convince you - the main character in the movie also happened to be Time's Person of the Year in 2010. The Zeitgeist Factor should play more of a role than it has in the past. And when someone can tap into the Zeitgeist and make beautiful art at the same time? That deserves some recognition. And you know what? Social networking isn't going away. So not only does it define our generation, but it will remain definitive for generations to come.

Other movies that defined their generations in terns of media impact & influence include Citizen Kane & Network, two powerful films that came very much out of their respective eras but are still applicable today to an INSANE degree. Neither film won Best Picture. They lost to safe choices. To triumph of the human spirit choices. To rather irrelevant choices. But as I touched on earlier, this may have happened in the 30s or the 70s, but 2011 is another story. How about we finally award a film that challenges the predominant form of media that runs our lives? Make it so when people look back on 2011 and ask which film won Best Picture, the answer is "The Social Network! Of course!" instead of "I don't remember, but it beat The Social Network.

It Would Be Really Awkward If It Lost

I'm seeing lots of articles making proclamations along the lines of "But remember that one year where something was a front runner and lost? And that other year where that happened too?!" but everyone seems to be glossing over the true universality of praise this film has gotten. It is not simply the frontrunner - it has won *every* critics award and *every* top prize at an awards show so far this season (except for the PGA...inexplicably...but it's only forecast the Oscar choice 65% of the time and that's when other awards/critics groups have agreed at least once, usually many times, which is not the case here.) The last movie that was the closest in echoing this sweep? Schindler's List. Just saying.

And if The Social Network doesn't win Best Picture - why? The only film being groomed to upset is The King's Speech, which is the safest, most conventional, least creative, least use of the film medium of any movie being talked about right now. For that to win would set the Academy back and just be really awkward for everyone. Even if something that was actually artistically deserving like Black Swan or True Grit pulled an upset, the prevailing thought would still be "Really?" This might not seem like a valid reason, but accept it or not, politics do play a factor in the Oscars and the odds are politically stacked in The Social Network's favor. I normally rail against this kind of funny business, but when said business is actually backing something that deserves it, that's a miracle and I'd like no one to futz with it.

Because most importantly here, we should be celebrating the fact that The Social Network is the front runner, not inventing rivalries and pretending movies can & will upset it. Think about what this movie is and what it has accomplished on multiple levels. This is the kind of movie we wait for and hope will get the kind of love it deserves. And it happened! It actually happened. Let's ride the wave of acclaim all the way to the podium and dance around and update our Facebook statuses when it wins and get The Social Network trending on our social networks. We can root for the movie that is likely to win, not against it this year! I mean, are you really gonna own The King's Speech and watch its commentary and show it to your kids years from now? I highly doubt it. The Social Network is a special movie, it truly is. Don't let the hype fool you. You don't always have to root for the underdog - when the front runner deserves the win, you're allowed to enjoy it.

For more on this matter, specifically why I don't think The King's Speech should or will upset on Oscar night, head here.
See full post

Thursday, January 27, 2011

V: Laid Bare

You guys, I think that red rain crap might have been just straight up disease instead of alien prenatal pills because I was DYING last week.  Like on a slab while Lisa extracts my soul one layer of flesh at a time dying.  As all reason, sanity, and hope left my body, I swore I would double up on V reviews this week and write about the third and fourth episode in one giant post.  Well joke was on cough-rattled, mucus-filled me, and there was no new episode this week.  I will rally!  I will show them!  I really liked (parts of) the third episode because I like it when good people or aliens are forced to do terrible things.  Because I'm sick!  Last time I'll bring that up, I swear.

So without further delay, the good, the bad, and the ugly from season 2's episode 3  "Laid Bare" after the jump
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Paul F Tompkins & James Urbaniak FTW! [Interview]

When I attended the Thrilling Adventure Hour last month, I had the pleasure of getting to sit down with Paul F Tompkins & James Urbaniak, two longtime Workjuice Players who also happen to be in a film called Drones, written by Acker & Blacker, the same boys who write Thrilling Adventure Hour. Tompkins & Urbaniak were both incredibly delightful and easy to talk to - we got into both projects as well as what their favorite things from 2010 were...a quick chat, but super fun. I can't encourage you enough to buy your tickets to the February Thrilling Adventure Hour if you live in the LA area! See these two in action!

(I'm introduced as being from All Things Fangirl & Cineboobs)
They're lady websites in case you couldn't tell

J: I had a feeling!

P: I bet there's some confused dudes that go there though!

J: Co-opting the terminology for your own purposes

So how did you guys get involved in all this? In it from the beginning?

J: He was in it way before me

P: I was in the very first one, way back when, I was one of the founding Workjuice Players, which I guess is coming on 5 years now? Something like that? And I've known, first Ben Acker, for a long time, and then met Ben Blacker, It's funny, I THINK, through this show. I may have met him before then, but it's hard to remember sometimes, because there's so many people that you've known for so long, you kind of can't remember where they came in in your own personal timeline.

J: And I moved to LA from NY 3 and a half years ago, and then probably sometime within the first year, I had met Acker, I'm on a show called The Venture Brothers on Adult Swim, and he knew that show, I guess he knew who I was and he invited me to come see this and I loved it and then he said well we'd love you to do one, then I did one, then he asked me back the next month, and then in short order, I just became a regular and I've done them all since then, except a couple times when I was out of town and I think I was sick once.

The rest after the jump!

See full post

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Second Annual Fangirl Award Nominations

These nominations do not reflect the opinions of the editors at All Things Fangirl, but rather the Fangirl Academy, made up of 87 lovely ladies who follow us on Twitter, read the blog, or know us in real life. In the case of a tie for the final slot in a category, the ATFG editors acted as the tie-breaker. Some ladies couldn't get their ballots in on time, but the everyone in the Academy will be allowed to vote on the winners.

Ballots to pick the winners will go out this week & the results will be announced February 25th!

* - Editor's Choice - Certain categories have an extra nomination. These additions represent something one of the editors at ATFG feels passionately about that we want to encourage you to check out! Often, the editor's choice was in 6th place for the nomination.

Some of these may surprise you. Enjoy!

Best Picture
Black Swan
Blue Valentine
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part One
The Kid's Are All Right
The King's Speech
Scott Pilgrim V. The World
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit

Honorable Mentions: The Fighter, Shutter Island, Easy A

Best Actor
Colin Firth - The King's Speech
Leonardo DiCaprio - Inception/Shutter Island
Jeff Bridges - True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine

Honorable Mentions: James Franco - 127 Hours

Best Actress
Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Haliee Steinfeld - True Grit
Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine
Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right*

Honorable Mentions: Emma Stone - Easy A

Best Supporting Actor
Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech
Joseph Gordon Levitt - Inception
Christian Bale - The Fighter
Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right/Shutter Island

Honorable Mentions: Jeremy Renner - The Town, Matt Damon - True Grit, Keiran Culkin - Scott Pilgrim

Best Supporting Actress
Helana Bohnam Carter - The King's Speech
Melissa Leo - The Fighter
Amy Adams - The Fighter
Barbara Hershey - Black Swan
Mila Kunis - Black Swan

Honorable Mentions: Marion Cotillard - Inception, Olivia Williams - The Ghost Writer

Best Director
Christopher Nolan - Inception
Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan
David Fincher - The Social Network
Edgar Wright - Scott Pilgrim V. The World
The Coen Brothers - True Grit

Honorable Mentions: David Yates - Harry Potter GHP1, Danny Boyle - 127 Hours, Debra Granik - Winter's Bone

The rest after the jump!

See full post

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Walking Dead: A Course In Zombiology TONIGHT at Meltdown Comics! [Event]

Had the pleasure this week of assisting Nerds in Babeland and Meltdown Comics plan their very first in a series of Comic Book Club discussions in their event space. Tonight marks the first installment, The Walking Dead: A Course in Zombiology. Press Release below!

Join us Thursday, January 20, 2011, at 7pm PST at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles or at in the discussion for our first ever Comic Book-of-the-Month club, focused entirely on The Walking Dead. Learn more about the books, the television series, or just geek-out with a bunch of fellow Walking Dead-Heads. Want to know more? Then read on!

Have you ever wanted to get into comic books but have no interest in superheroes and/or mutants? Or, perhaps you have never thought about getting into comics but happen to be a huge fan of all things horror/zombie/gruesome? Or you are already obsessed with The Walking Dead and just looking for people to geek out about the book and series with? At the meet-up, we will discuss the book series from the beginning, and why it might be the perfect book for you to pick up if you’ve been toying with the idea of getting into graphic novels but haven’t taken the plunge.

Jenna Busch (Moviefone Minute, Huffington Post, Cineboobs) will be leading a discussion on the hit AMC program show based on the series, followed by a discussion lead by Stephanie Wooten from Nerds in Babeland on the best-selling comic book series. In between the discussions we will even provide a zombie make-up tutorial by Jackie Bagwell, an owner & organizer of Ashtoberfest (a week-long festival dedicated to all-things zombie).

All attendees will get 20% off all purchases at Meltdown, Inc during the duration of the event. Can’t be there in person because you don’t live in Los Angeles? Show up to the online chat and receive a discount code good for 20% any online order placed through Meltdown Comics.

What: Comic Book-of-the-Month club.

When: Thursday, January 20, 2011 7PM PST.

Entry fee: $6.00 You’ll also have the opportunity to enter a raffle in order to win a copy of a Walking Dead graphic novel.


RAINCHECK: TWD BOOK ONE is currently out of stock from their distributor. Get 20% off if pre-purchase during the event.

Plus, just got word that there will be a Food Truck on the premises - the lovely Ahn Joo, which I DEVOURED at the LA Times Food & Wine Fest this summer. Its executive chef is Debbie from The Next Food Network Star. Yes I watched it. And yes, she was awesome.

Also, during the television discussion we will have very special guest Juan Gabriel Pareja, who played Morales in four of the six episodes of The Walking Dead season one! He will be on hand to provide a POV of what it's actually been like to be on set of the hit AMC series.

Plus - free beer & wine :).

Hope to see you there! See full post

Why Everyone Needs to STFU About The King's Speech

Crossposted at

If one more person types to me with a straight face that The King's Speech has the potential to upset The Social Network, I will scream and/or hit my coffee table with mild force. Because this is not going to happen. There is not the remotest chance of chances that this will happen.

And my opinion isn't totally worthless.

Last year, I said the same thing about Avatar when people started to say it was going to win. I said it pre nominations, I said it post nominations, I said STFU everyone, The Academy may be dumb sometimes, but not Avatar-is-Best-Picture dumb. And I maintain that now, here, in this Awards season, the Academy is still not that dumb. The Academy is not The-King's-Speech-Is-Best-Picture dumb. Or in a more accurate statement The Academy Is not The-Kings-Speech-Is-Best-Picture-Old Fashioned. Maybe in 1954. Maybe even in 2004. But not in 2011.

Now, don't get angry. If you loved The King's Speech, I am not aiming to insult you, it is definitely a good movie and has Emmy written all over it's delightful Masterpiece Theater-esque script, cinematography & direction. But the only, and I mean ONLY thing that elevates The King's Speech from good ol' PBS quality (other than the film grain...) are the performances, most specifically Colin Firth's, and he will be rewarded for it.

The idea that BRITISH AS HELL movie The King's Speech is poised to clean up at the BRITISH FILM AWARDS shouldn't surprise anyone or in any universe be considered as dictating the way the Oscars will go down. Does anyone understand how rare and beautiful a thing it is when an AMERICAN studio movie is as good, relevant, successful & well received on all levels as The Social Network is? Cinematical writer & film buff David Ehrlich will rarely consider an American studio picture as worthy of his top five, but The Social Network is his #2 (behind Certified Copy, technically a 2011 release.) I've heard arguments that the "people who overlap the voting bodies for the BAFTAs and the Oscars overlap more than the Globes and the Oscars, therefore..." But, ummm...was anyone arguing against that fact? Did anyone ever offer the argument that the Globes influence the Oscars because they share voting members? Didn't think so. My hair is SUCH a bird.

Not to mention, once you remove the BAFTA overlap, there are still thousands, yes THOUSANDS of AMPAS members remaining. The closest number anyone has been able to estimate in terms of overlap is roughly 1000. There are just under 6000 members of AMPAS. Plus, the BAFTAs are notorious for having an obvious and acceptable bias towards British film. Most importantly, in the past 11 years, the BAFTAs and the Oscars have only agreed on Best Picture four times. That's not even half. NOT EVEN HALF. OF THE TIME. LESS than HALF. You with me?

A conventional, safe British film about a 20th century king, consisting mostly of close-ups and sentiment is not going to win Best Picture in a year where its competition involves an astonishingly original science fiction movie, the return of the Western, a new & unconventional story about a new & unconventional family dynamic, a hallucinatory extravaganza set in the world of ballet - even The Fighter isn't the typical schmaltz-fest the trailers made us think it was. The best movies in 2010 were not Oscar bait bullshit, they've been original, innovative, creative, often times genre-bending, and in the case of The Social Network, perfectly scripted, acted, directed, edited and relevant. And in case you aren't convinced yet, I'll have an article up on this site few days explaining exactly why The Social Network deserves the win.

One thing I'll grant you - in such a predictable year, having something to root against is fun, it at least allows for a tiny bit of suspense come February 27th. But don't kid yourselves. The King's Speech doesn't ACTUALLY have a chance. And can we please take a moment to appreciate that fact? This is a good thing, guys. The Academy is getting a clue. The Social Network FTW!

Editor's Note: The King's Speech has since won the PGA, but the PGA only has a 65% overlap rate with the Oscars, and that is in years when its winner has won *other* awards. In this season, the PGA is the *only* award The King's Speech has received in the Best Picture category See full post

Deep Thoughts About The Scream 4 Trailer

Things I am obsessed with: Scream. Things you should be obsessed with: Scream. Today's lesson rules!

Naturally, with a Scream obsession, comes an OH DEAR GOD CAN IT BE APRIL NOW BBZZZZZGZUIGH reaction to the upcoming fourth installment. So when the trailer hit the interwebs Thursday evening, I had to watch it. And analyze it. And marry it. Here are my deep thoughts.

First, stray observations!

With the horror genre being reinvented every decade, this means new Scream movies could come out every decade, pastiching whatever new method of scares we discover. Pastiches are better than parody, after all. In fact, I pretty much hate parody. Like, a lot. I'd be happy if no one ever made a Scary Movie Epic Movie Vampires Suck whatever the hell ever again.

Is that one character related to Cotton Weary? Cause he looks just like him You know who I mean because it looks just like him. Is it safe to assume that since Emma Roberts is related to one of our original characters, others will be as well? Like Cotton Weary Jr? If the fact that he is a spitting image of Liev Schreiber turns out to be pure coincidence, I will be very disappointed.

In this trailer, instead of Kristin Bell & Anna Paquin facing sure death, we get Alison Brie! Alison Brie's in this?! Who decided that?! I'm excited. Can you tell I'm excited?

David Arquette looks like he hasn't aged a day. My crush on Deputy Dewey is coming back. Oh god. I can feel it. It's happening.

But unless you are weird like I am and think David Arquette is adorbz, there's no male eye candy in this movie. Yet TONS of gorgeous women. Only expecting a male audience, much?

Now for some specific moments in the trailer. Follow along!

.52 - "He's trying to do Ghostface"

Because this this the fourth in the series, expect the movie to be meta meta meta. The trailer leads us to believe that the killer isn't a copycat of the original murders, but a copycat of first Stab movie, based on the original murders, which came out in the second Scream movie (hey now woah now!). So not only does everyone know how horror films work, they know how Stab movies work. They know who Ghostface is. Well. So when they pick up the phone and someone asks "What's your favorite scary movie?" rather than being afraid or even creeped out, their response is "omglol." Meta goodness OMNOM!

1.13 - "It's all over the Internet!"

Because, after all, it is 2011, expect technology to play a huge role. This is a meta meta meta satire slasher film set in the age of Facebook, Twitter and Texting. While such things may be over Dewey's head, the rest of the cast is mostly under the age of twenty-five. I'll be surprised if no one gets a text from Ghostface. Or at least makes a joke about getting a text from Ghostface. But Ghostface wouldn't be scary in text. Please don't text anyone, Ghostface.

1:47 - "Guaranteed third act main cast blood bath"

I suspected as much from the moment I heard "Scream 4", but expect a major character to bite it - Dewey, Gale or Sydney. I kind of hope they all make it out alive, but the Scream movies to tend to follow their own rules. Idea! Kill Gale so Dewey can go out with me.

1:57- Hayden Panettiere Shows Off Her Memorizing Techniques

One of the best things about the Scream movies are how they take place in a world where scary movies exist - it's partly what made the first one so groundbreaking and it's nice to be reminded of that fact. Seems like there will be plenty of references in this chapter, even if they are all in one breath. Hayden Panettiere listing off all the horror remakes literally just gave me goosebumps. I am a NERD. Also - which movie could he possibly be referring to?! What didn't she say?! OPEN, MOVIE, I NEED YOU.

I feel good. Scream makes me feel good. Is that weird? I don't care. I know where I'm gonna be at 12:01am on April 15th and that's all that matters. See full post

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The 2011 Golden Globes: What We Learned

crossposted from

It's that time of year again! In which we reflect on the grand & not at all frivolous evening that was the Golden Globes. What did we learn this year about the Oscar race, about Hollywood, about life, about Angelina Jolie's shockingly not-always-glossy lips? My very scientific analysis below:

The Social Network Officially Cannot Be Beat
I mean, yes, most of us figured it was a lock for the Oscar anyway, but after rumblings of possible Globes upsets from The Fighter or The King's Speech turned out to be rubbish, I don't think there's anything stopping the film at this point. Picture, writer, director are in the bag. So most likely editing as well. #oscarhistoryreference.

I'm beginning to hear insider discussion of another film in particular upsetting on the night (more on this when I do my annual interview with an Academy member), but a lot in the atmosphere would have to change in a month for this to be possibility. When every critics group picks the same movie, its subject is named Time's Person of the Year AND everyone says the Academy will be out of touch if they pick something else, it doesn't leave much room for members to vote with their hearts, does it? It would be nice one year if the Academy got to actually pick its favorites instead of being bullied into staying in line. For more on this topic, check out an article I wrote last season - Oscar & The Art of Influence. This year also happens to be the first time in a long while that I actually think the unstoppable force sweeping the Oscar pre-season DESERVES the win, but it feels tainted when the Academy doesn't really have a choice.

Ricky Gervais Will Not Be Hosting Next Year
The HFPA is reportedly very upset with the British comedian, because it turns out they're all still in elementary school, but some folks, like Badass Digests' Devin Faraci don't think he went far enough. Still if the "Golden Globes Boss" (is that an official title? really?) doesn't get the joke anytime soon, expect a safer choice to be announced for next year. Laaaame. I personally enjoy the RDJ coined "sinister" undertone of Gervais hosted evenings. It leads to a fun game called "Which Actors Are Self Aware and Which Actors Have Their Heads Up Their Asses?" (For those keeping score at home, Self Aware: Johnny Depp, Steve Carrell, Bruce Willis. Head up your ass: Tim Allen, the HFPA, Scientologists.)

There Are Five Kinds of Actors: Classy & elegant (Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Claire Danes) Charming & Hilarious (Tina Fey, Jane Lynch, Steve Bushemi), Slightly Insane (Melissa Leo, Tilda "Happy New Year" Swinton, Christian Bale), Mind-bogglingly Awkward (Robert De Niro, Natalie Portman, Andrew Garfield) and Get Off The Damn Stage (Jennifer Lopez, January Jones). Though Bale was actually in fine form last night. Perhaps fashioning himself as a knight on the outside brought out his inner chivalry and good nature.

Rango Opens Nationwide March 4th
I can never unlearn this

Hollywood is Still Too Afraid of Scientologists to Laugh at Scientology Jokes
One of the best (it's funny cause it's true!) jokes of the evening took a fun stab at the Church of Scientology. But due to the fact that there was a Scientologist at every other table, no one could really get away with laughing without fear of disappearing into the night. If Ricky Gervais suddenly vanishes this week - we all know why.

Andrew Garfield Will Be The Perfect Peter Parker
His flub would have looked embarrassing on anyone else. But Peter Parker makes awkward look GOOD ya'll.

Hailee Steinfeld Will Be STUNNING in 10 Years
That girl has a FACE. I don't care if she's only 14. You can tell. Especially seeing her tower over that small child girls her age are supposed to be lusting after, when she was presenting. Here's hoping she goes the way of Scarjo Napo & Anpaq and not the way of Dustin Diamond. #legitimatestatement

Best Actress Race Is Still Up In The Air 80/20 Natalie Portman/Annette Bening
For some reason there is a prevailing notion that the quality of one's speech at the Golden Globes will determine the Oscar outcome. A. that's dumb and B. that also might be true. But I've heard from the Portman Supporters that Bening was too stiff and from the Bening Supporters that Portman was too frenetic. We can't ALL be Chris Colfer, you guys. So. Back to square one. Yes, Natalie is young & pregnant & glowy, but Benning is legendary, has never won, lost twice to Hilary Swank of all people, and is married to 1962 Golden Globe winner for Most Promising Actor, Warren Beatty. Maybe, just maybe, the winner of this category will be based on whose performance the Academy members like best. What a notion. Long story short, I don't think Portman has it all tied up as some critics too. If Bening wins on the night, it will be seen as an upset, but at least there is still a POSSIBILITY of an upset, which can't really be said for Best Actor or Supporting Actor. 

For Supporting Actress, Melissa Leo is still the clear front-runner, but if we're going by the very precise method of measuring speeches, Leo's...all over the place-ness may have hurt her chances . Let's hope those "who gives the best speech" Academy members saw her delightful & classy speech at the Critics Choice Awards this weekend. This woman's been acting a LONG time. And is amazing. Give her an Oscar please.

The Cast Of Love Actually Rules
Wins for Laura Linney & Colin Firth and plenty of shots of Andrew Lincoln at the table for nominated drama The Walking Dead. When Colin Firth won, I definitely said "I hate uncle Jamie" out loud. Did anyone in the room understand why I would ever say something like that in that moment? No. Did I care? AbsoLUTELY not.

Lea Michele Doesn't Understand What Being A Human Being is
The amount of mugging Lea Michele was engaging in Sunday night was bridging on offensive. Sometimes you can feel something without mutating your face into multiple shapes and sizes. Life isn't musical theater. Well. Actually. I guess her life is about as close as it gets. But she stills needs learn how to be a person at some point.

Garrett Hedlund May Also Not Understand What Being A Human Being Is
But that's because he's a robot

If a Television Show is Shiny & New and/or Glee, It Will Win All The Gold
I love Boardwalk Empire, but Mad Men season four may go down in television history as one of the best seasons of television that ere was. Boardwalk Empire is a great new show that didn't pick up until halfway through its first season. But everyone in it talks funny and the lead is a movie star, so, ok, yeah, that makes sense.
Also, yes, Glee is definitely, hands down the best musical nominated for best TV Show, Musical or Comedy, but it is not the best comedy. Jane Lynch & Heather Morris are doing their best to hold down the fort, but Modern Family has not a single weak or lacking comedic performer in the entire bunch. Globes, when you tempt me with interesting, deserving choices like Katy Sagal & Chris Colfer, I forget that you're mostly worthless. But then you remind me, so it's okay.

Christian Bale worships Robert De Niro, Tilda Swinton is in awe of Al Pacino, Lori from the Walking Dead has a Melissa Leo fixation, Melissa Leo has a crush on Jeremy Irons and Natalie Portman loves Jeff Bridges.
Though who doesn't?

Mark Wahlberg is The King Of Hollywood
I don't like Mark Wahlberg so I don't really like this lesson, but he is inexplicably a producer on Boardwalk Empire and apparently Christian Bale & Melissa Leo would have been nothing in The Fighter without him. So. Bully for you, Mark Wahlberg.

Celebrities Are Friends With Other Celebrities!
This isn't, erm, a "lesson" per se, but it's an excuse to list the fun friendship sightings of the night: Jake Gylenhaal and Jason Segel  during E!s Red Carpet,, Emma Stone & Mila Kunis unwittingly creating the greatest gif in gif history, Katy Sagal  & Ed O Neil via reaction shot.

Robert Downey Jr & Emma Stone Have Good Chemistry
No? Just me?

Matt Damon Continues to be Smarter Than Just About Everyone Ever
His  De Niro intro was so clever, that it seemed to go over the heads of  most of the audience for about 85% of the speech. For some reason his  speech convinced ME that he must be the greatest husband evar. I have no  explanation for this.

Smart Girls Have More Fun...
...But you'll only get to go to the Golden Globes if you're beautiful. Thanks for mixed messages, everyone in the ballroom/Hollywood.

Another year, another slew of life altering lessons learned. And hey, even if this awards season turns out to be as boring & predictable as we're all suspecting, at least we know to look forward to some great speeches. I'll take all the giggly Natalie Portman, self-deprecating Colin Firth, bizarrely ecstatic Christian Bale and energetically sincere Melissa Leo I can get.
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter is Coming

Remember when this series was going to be amazing and set the bar for what can be accomplished in a period drama action series in a long-form storytelling format?

April 17th, baby. April 17th. See full post

Friday, January 14, 2011

DC and M.A.C. Team up on Wonder Woman Make-Up Line

M.A.C. Cosmetics and DC Comics are collaborating on a fascinating consumer product. Wonder Woman Cosmetics.

More After the jump on why this is has turned me into a raving 4-year-old, as well as a discussion on masking and archetypes of strength.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Thrilling Adventure Hour: One Of Los Angeles' Finest Hours of Entertainment [Event]

I had the great pleasure this past weekend of seeing The Thrilling Adventure Hour at Largo on La Cienega, a show that's been running in Los Angeles for five years, but has only recently begun getting the amount of attention it deserves. Created in 2005 by Ben Acker & Ben Blacker, The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a throwback to radio plays of the 30s and 40s. Each month features an installment of three of Acker & Blacker's ongoing serials, told in an old fashioned style, but with modern sensibility.

This month, we saw:

Sparks Nevada: Marshall of Mars,
Marc Evan Jackson as the melty voice Marshall (his voice. was so melty.)
Mark Gagliardi as his Martian sidekick
Busy Phillips as the woman stuck between them
Guest Star Yvette Nicole Brown as the Trouble Shooter
(Theme song sung by Sean & Sara Watkins!)

Captain Laserbeam!
John DiMaggio as the title hero
Hal Lubin & Guest Star Matt Braunger as his prepubescent sidekicks
Guest Star Nick Kroll (whose vocal choice was indescribably hilarious) as King Mammal
John Ennis as his number one henchmen
(Theme song sung by Yvette Nicole Brown & The Workjuice Players)

Jefferson Reed, Ace American
guest star Nathan Fillion (having the time of his life) as Mr. Reed
Annie Savage as his best gal
Samm Levine as a fellow soldier
John DiMaggio as the general
Craig Cackowski as a nasty Kraut Nazi

In between each episode, and during the opening of the show, we got spot on satirical recreations of old radio ads for cigarettes and coffee, starring the rest of the Workjuice Players, mostly featuring the hilarious James Urbaniak (Dr. Venture himself!) & Mark Gagliardi as New York cops (and sometimes perps) who really love their Workjuice Coffee & Patriot Cigarettes.

On paper, this idea sounded amazing and I was THRILLED to discover that it actually is as wonderful as I had hoped. An hour of pure joy. Not only is this kind of humor right up my alley (I'm looking at you, Marc Evan Jackson in particular, and honoring you with the "Greatest line readings ever" award for the evening) but it's nothing short of exhilarating to see actors I enjoy having a great time on stage, totally committing, giving it their all, and delivering fantastic results.

There's a fine mix of players too - comedians, voiceover actors, Freaks & Geeks alum, and high profile guest stars like this week's Nathan Fillion, Community's Yvette Nicole Brown, The League's Nick Kroll & Nickel Creek's Sean & Sara Watkins. Every person brings something unique to the table. A lot of the players who we would recognize from the small screen like Nathan Fillion & Samm Levine would give a few winks & nods (literally) to the live audience - if you listen to the podcast and hear uproarious laughter in places that make no sense, it's most likely because of some perfectly timed mugging, courtesy of Fillion or Levine.

A highlight of the live experience was when  Samm Levine raised an eyebrow to the audience when another character described his character as having "arayan good looks", which appropriately brought the house down. One of Fillion's best "unheard" moments was when Craig Cackowski's nazi told him in Germany they just called German Shephards, Shephards. Fillion didn't react for a long while until finally his Jefferson Reed "got" what the nazi was saying & nodded - a brilliant move, but one only witnessable by those in the audience - a case for heading down to Largo in person instead of waiting for the podcast to be released.

Then you have the voiceover gods like James Urbaniak & John DiMaggio, who use their voices in such varied, exciting ways (particularly DiMaggio in this edition, who got to play a few different characters) that you as an audience member feel like you're witnessing something truly special. And finally, the comedians like Paul F. Tompkins, would crack us up with their particular takes on the material. Tompkins took on a drunk Errol Flynn during the commercial breaks in this installment that had Workjuice Players themselves losing it in the background.

Having dabbled in recording original noir radio plays in my time, it was nice to see that kind of recording done on a large scale - a MUCH larger scale. There's clearly a lot of passion here. There's a full band, 3 mics, plus a special area for the announcer (Hal Lubin) and someone, somewhere is doing sound effects, which I'm fairly certain were recordings this time, but my understanding is they are sometimes done live. And the actors don't just dress nicely - they dress period. Busy Philips & Annie Savage even had costume changes. Yvette Nicole Brown rocked a tight black sheath and had her hair styled straight of the late 30s. The men all wore suits and looked mighty dapper. The Workjuice Players don't fuck around - everyone does what they can to make the audience really feel like they've been transported back in time & are a part of this experience. I'm even considering dressing up for next month's show. No joke.

An added bonus! Get to the show early enough to have a drink at the bar, and you may catch actors from the show, or in our case, the Watkins Siblings, sitting beside you. You can also buy posters, hot cider & cookies that I heard were amazing, and afterwards, chat it up in the courtyard with your favorite Workjuice Players.

I truly can't recommend this experience enough. As soon as it ended, I, along with some of the people who came with me, immediately bought tickets for next month. Buy yours here - both February and March are on sale now! And for the first time ever, these shows are being recorded for podcast! The August 7th show is online now. You can subscribe by clicking here.

If you're based in the San Francisco area or are looking for an excuse to take a trip there, the San Francisco Sketchfest next weekend will feature two Thrilling Adventure Hours and the cast list is unbelievable. Aside from the usual suspects, the shows will feature Neil Patrick Harris, Alison Brie, Colin Hanks, Danny Pudi, Donal Logue and more. To quote Workjuice Player & sweetheart Samm Levine "I don't know if it is sold out, but if not, buy a ticket, you won't be wrong...?"Click here to take Levine's advice.

For more info on the Thrilling Adventure Hour, head to the website here.
For more photos from the evening by Jonathan Reilly, including behind the scenes shots, click here.
Follow The Thrilling Adventure Hour on Twitter - @ThrillingAdv

And stay tuned here for interviews with some of the cast members, as well as a peak at the movie a bunch of the Workjuice Players made together, Drones. See full post

In Which I Briefly Talk About Being A Fan of Michelle Williams

 I experienced a lot of loss after his death. I lost my city because of all the paparazzi descending upon us. I actually lost my journal during that time, oddly enough. I literally couldn’t hold on to anything. It felt as if things were literally slipping through my fingers. Things were just streaming away from me. I lost my sense of humor. I’m still sort of looking for that.

- Michelle Williams, in an interview w/ The Daily Beast

For some reason, I have always been very affected by Michelle Williams. As a youngin, I related to her on Dawson's Creek, Dick was my favorite movie for about a year, I admired her work in Station Agent & Brokeback, then was devastated by Wendy & Lucy. And Blue Valentine is one of my favorites of this year, seen it twice, and I'm still in awe of her honest work in it, from top to bottom. And for whatever reason, I've always been fascinated with her quotes about Heath Ledger. I loved their story too, they were my "favorite Hollywood couple" as shallow as that is, and I was bizarrely affected by his death as well as what it meant for my favorite couple - that they would never get the chance to reunite. And because losing someone close to me is just about my #1 fear, mostly because of its inevitability in one way or another, I can't stop reading about how she has dealt with her grief.

This quote in particular, from a recent interview with The Daily Beast really stuck with me. I highly recommend reading the rest, link above.

I really want her to get an Oscar nomination for Blue Valentine. I think that's my "District 9 for Best Picture!" of this year. Though it could also be my "Fantastic Mr Fox for Score!" of this year. We'll know on January 25th. But I really do think she is one of the most talented, classiest and stunning actresses of her generation. So much so that it warranted a blog post. See full post

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Grrrrrrrrrrrrr... Blogger didn't post this when it was supposed to yesterday morning.  Anger!!!!!!!!!!!  I should have checked before now, but here it is. 

A great piece of Science Fiction is usually just a great Western minus the spurs, dust, and livestock.  Feel free to tear apart this broad statement in the comments, but Joss Whedon gets it.  Fine.  Basically, I'm sticking with my The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly breakdown because the show continues to be all over the place, and this is the best way to write about it.  If I hadn't already seen next week's episode with all of the craziness that goes down with Lisa's character, I probably would have been done after this one. And that would have been a shame because Lisa is going some crazy places. 

The Good

Even though continuity was a little confusing,* Erica and Malik discovering that the other was a double while they were in a speeding car in the middle of nowhere was awesome.  Watching them pick apart one another's lies while trying to watch the road was gripping, and when they both noticed the blood on Malik's shirt and what it meant, I was leaning forward on the futon.  I only lean forward for The Wire, Mad Men, and Fringe so that was a high quality five second blip of television.  V, please do this all the time.  I want these cat and mouse games every week instead of the stagnant stuff that makes up most of each episode.  Let's have betrayals stacked on betrayals stacked on car crashes!   

*I feel like Erica should have known the truth about Malik after she learns that Malik beat her to the warehouse, but whatever.  There was a car crash.  I'll take it!

The Bad

It's pretty clear that V and I are going to have some major problems this year, but the largest is by far Diana, Anna's mother and the deposed queen who's trapped in the swampy bowels of the ship.  We only got a glimpse of her in the premiere, but now it's clear she's an exposition device they added because Marcus was starting to take on actual character traits, and there has to be at least one person on the show with nothing to do but listen to Anna's evil plots.  

Diana is played by Jane Badler, the actress who played the character in the original series.  Anna's pretense for returning to the swamp hold of the ship again and again is her mother's knowledge of human emotion, but the whole thing feels like stunt casting because we never learn much.  The Diana scenes together are full of thinly disguised backstory and lines like, "You'll tell me everything you know about human emotion and how to defeat it."  My eyes can only roll so much before they physically ache.  That's right, I suffer for these reviews!

The plot is finally advanced when Diana is like, "Humans have these soul things you can't destroy" and Anna is all, "I'm going to destroy 'em anyway, Mom!  You can't tell me what to do!" but I still feel like this whole storyline would have played better with Marcus, the man to whom she has to keep proving she has rid herself of emotion. Marcus is a threat and Diana just isn't.  If she doesn't break free of her swamp pod and start mucking things up real soon, I'm going to wish Anna had succeeded in getting her to eat one of the immolation pills.  

The Ugly

Sandwiched between the eye-rolling Diana soul speak and the Erica and Malik's Spy on Spy action were Ryan, Father Jack, and the fight for Ryan's soul!  Yeah, it doesn't really deserve the italics.  In a nutshell, Ryan isn't grieving hard enough for Valerie's parents, and Val's mother asks, "Don't you have a heart? Don't you have a soul?"  You then see the wheels turning in his little lizard mind, and he's like, dude, I better go to the priest about this.  

Father Jack insists he acknowledge his grief through prayer or something, but poor Ryan can't pray because when he's "vulnerable," Anna can remind him telepathically that she's torturing his daughter.  And that's no fun.  In the end, Ryan tells Anna he'll do whatever she wants to help his daughter like we knew he would, and all the soul talk was just to… add to all the exposition we got in the Anna and Diana scenes?  Maybe? 

Tune in next week when I write about Anna eating a rat!  I heart television CG!

Oh, and Reaper alumni Brett Harrison is playing a baby-faced scientist now.  He gets the two funny lines per episode.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

2nd Annual Fangirl Awards - Info & Ballot!

Welcome to the Second Annual Fangirl Awards! Aka the Golden Fangirls aka The Fannies (yeah, we went there) aka whatever suits our fancy.

This year, the Fangirl Academy is 87 members strong and even more badass than before. These ladies are smart, informed & passionate and I'm so excited to be able to help get our opinions out in this way for the second year in a row. We have 39 categories, which cover mostly movies, but also TV, comics, video games, music & books with at least one category a piece.

The ballots are due on Friday, January 21st (two weeks from today) and the nominations will be announced Monday, January 24th, the day before the Oscar nominations are revealed. Academy Members can turn their ballot in as early as tomorrow or as late as the 21st.

Our mantra is have fun and nominate your favorites! I want Academy members to give some attention to the films they think are getting the shaft or continue to reward those films they love that are miraculously getting the attention they deserve. Most importantly - I want them to nominate what they WANT.

Here are the categories!


Best Picture ** Best Actor ** Best Actress ** Best Supporting Actor ** Best Supporting Actress ** Best Director ** Best Screenplay (Adap.) ** Best Screenplay (Orig.) ** Best Score ** Best Romantic Chemistry ** Best Platonic (or is it?) Chemistry ** World I'd Most Like To Visit ** Best On Screen Animal (live action or animated) ** Best Voiceover (live action or animated) ** Epic Fail Movie (by @geekgirls) ** Best Fight/Battle Sequence (by @acorn_hat) ** Guiltiest Pleasure ** Best Animated Film (by @onnabugeisha)


Best TV Show of the Year ** Best Actor in a Drama (any size role) ** Best Actor in a Comedy (any size role) ** Best Actress in a Drama (any size role) ** Best Actress i a Comedy (any size role) ** Best Romantic Chemistry ** Best Platonic (or is it?) Chemistry ** Guiltiest Pleasure

Film or Television

Most Romantic Line EVAR (by @that_sarah) ** Best Fan Outreach Endeavor (@caitlin_burns) ** Best Characterization of an Established Figure (by @pardonmysass) **

Any Platform (Film, TV, Video Games, Comics)

Most Overrated ** Most Underrated ** Best Villain (by @acorn_hat)


Actor I'd Most Like to Marry 2010 Edition ** Actress I'd Most Like to Marry 2010 Edition ** Best Graphic Novel of the Year ** Best Comic of the Year ** Best Video Game of the Year ** Best Musician of the Year ** Best Book of the Year (fiction or non-fiction)

And your list of Academy members coming soon!! See full post

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Season Premiere of V RED RAIN

Tonight V returns to ABC, and while No Ordinary Family will remain the ultimate unwatchable Sci Fi show on network television, V has tumbled from the just above mediocre heights it reached in the finale last year.  After Anna's eggs had been wiped out and the skies turned Corvette red, it seemed like that the next season would delve into gut-wrenching character stuff, drop more bodies, and actually play into the really high stakes the characters are always mentioning.  But sadly, V falls back into all of it's bad habits:  ignoring or actively dismissing anything interesting, both over and under explaining the science-y stuff so that it's as frustrating as possible, and Tyler's continued presence on the show.  So let's break this down Western style into the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  Also there are spoilers.  Lots and lots of spoilers.  

See full post