Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oscar Party: The Real Season Begins

The Golden Globes were a usual.
So, the Screen Actor's Guild Awards is the real start of the speculation on who will be the new Hollywood Royalty after this 2011 Academy Awards.

So far, people think that The King's Speech is the odds-on favorite for Best Picture, after The Social Network was given that title thanks to movie critics and film societies. People are now betting on TKS because Oscar voters are old, and like quaint things. TKS is an old-fashioned British period piece like (ugh) The English Patient. It's about a British King....who has a stammer....which he has to overcome as his country is hurtling towards World War II. It screams Oscar bait, although not on purpose. This is to Oscar voters what Red Bull is to college students who have to finish a term paper three hours before it's due.
Granted, I loved it. Seeing Colin Firth as a King who is just plain scared to talk in public places, partially because he thinks he's destined to be lost in the shadow of the future Edward VIII, is quite a sight. Remember, we see him as the dashing romantic hero with a way with words.

Still, Oscar voters would rather vote for this man rather than Jesse Eisenberg, who plays the total asshole who gave us Facebook. In fact, Jesse might be considerd third behind Jeff Bridges, who is wonderful as the real Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. I just saw the 1969 version on AMC, and that version just wouldn't fly today. John Wayne got his Oscar for that version because it was mainly his last hurrah as a western hero. However, The True Grit of 1969 was too...bright and clean. It was more of a family movie, like The Rifleman. The Coens thought we should see the real True Grit of the 1880's. We hear what people really talked like back then. We don't see Mattie's family because, aside from Rooster and LeBouef, she is on her own in her bid to avenge her father's murder. Also, the ending is much different.
It also made me would John Wayne handle Hallie Steinfeld, and how she portrayed Mattie Ross. It would have been a better match.

But back to's a good piece of history, but The Social Network is also good history, and it cuts between the two lawsuits Mark Zuckerberg is battling, and how he created Facebook. You see Eisenberg as a driven guy who is so focused, he forgets to make enough friends to have his back. It's a good story...if you're under 45. If not, you'll go to the old-fashioned drama of TKS.

Overall, the academy may spread the wealth in the major awards. TKS gets Best Actor and maybe Best Picture, Social Network gets Best Director and Adapted Screenplay, Inception should get Best Original Screenplay while Christopher Nolan would have the right to punch anyone who didn't think he should have been in the Best Director mix, Christian Bale gets Supporting Actor for The Flighter, while Steinfeld wins Supporting Actress, and Natalie Portman wins Best Actress for Black Swan (and for wisely making a sex comedy that will be 125 times better than the kind of sex "comedies" that will come down the pike in a few weeks (coughJustGoWithItcoughHallPasscoughevenworsethanNoStringsAttached).

ETA: Sure enough, TKS takes best cast. If the actors are leaning towards the traditional choice, then Social Network just lost its last chance to get the middle-age vote. TKS is a shoo-in in the BAFTAs in two weeks. It's all because in TKS, we have a hero and a comeback story. In Social Network, you have a massive jerk who just didn't have enough regrets while he was changing how we use the internet.
I am surprised Melissa Leo beat Hailee Steinfeld in Best Supporting Actress. It looks like Leo will get the sweep, along with Christian Bale. Steinfeld's last best hope could be the BAFTAs, if she wins Best Actress over Natalie Portman. I really think if we get a major upset somewhere, it would be there.

Donald Sutherland and the Walk of Fame

While my hopes of seeing Conan and Ellen Degeneres didn't work out (tip: call the Ellen Standby line hotline at 8:00:01 AM), I did enjoy seeing Donald Sutherland get his star on the Walk of Fame, just off of Hollywood and Orange. It is also where they shot an early scene from the original Buffy movie. It was where she was leaving a lousy movie. The building used to be a movie house, but has been converted to a fancy strip mall. It was also a chance to take my Kodak Zi6 for a whirl. Thing is, I also tried to take photos at the same time, and put both cameras above a few photographers who were in front of me.
However, the photos came out much better.....

Hearing His Resume

With Colin Farrell, who will be in a movie with Donald called "Horrible Bosses":

Colin Farrell for Donald Sutherland

and the sign, who is wondering when its first close-up is coming...

Hey, isn't this my moment?

The Flickr set is right here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Of fog and football

About a month after everyone else, I am finally on my winter holiday. I'll spend three days in Los Angeles, and, as usual, talk shows will be top of my list.
I'll be at Kimmel, and will try to get into Conan and Ellen DeGeneres if they suddenly have a lot of standby seats to fill.

Also, it's the real start of Oscar season. Usually, it's the Golden Globes, but this year is an exception because they snubbed True Grit. That's why next week's SAG Awards is the real start. Melissa Leo's chances of winning Best Supporting Actress will really be measured once she is competing against Hailee Steinfeld.
Despite this, the nominations will be announced tomorrow. It's a given both Leo and Steinfeld will make the final cut in that category. It seems it will be the war between George VI and Facebook, with Rooster Cogburn 2.0 as a possible spoiler. I am hoping all of the TV stations will be stalking movie houses to get instant opinion on who got nominated.

I will also try to fit in a tour, too. I was thinking about going to Paramount, where the cast of Glee will supposedly hide from tourists who pass by, especially Lea Michelle. Considering they think they're justified after their Golden Globe bonanza, that's show biz for you....and that there's a lot of pressure in making music. Who else is in their position on TV? However, I don't know if I can get in today, or even Wednesday if I'm out of luck in trying to get a standby spot to Ellen. If nothing else, I can wander around the Kodak Theater. It's been years since I've done that. It would be perfect now, since preparations for the Oscars should be underway.

I'm only going because of a fare sale, and a new hotel deal. I could have gone last week to celebrate Buffy's birthday at a comic book store in L-A, but it didn't occur to me. I just wanted to be in L-A when the Oscar nominations came out. If nothing else, I'd like to do something I haven't done in L-A before, or it's been years since I have. Just do something different.
At least, I'll start using the AMC movie passes, which means a direct route to the Citywalk to see True Grit.

So, what about fog and football?
Well, it's really foggy in Sacramento, except at the airport. For some reason, it's less foggy, and no flights have been severely delayed. So, I should head for L-A's premature spring, with temps in the 70s. Sacramento will be lucky to hit 61.
Now the football part: Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh will mean big ratings because it's a Super Bowl matchup that traditional fans would love. What I've noticed is that the NFL has changed its conference trophies. They used to be shaped like the side of a stadium. Now, the trophies are variations of the Lombardi Trophy. I guess it makes the Super Bowl loser feel like they've almost won the big trophy, but almost. Trust me, those who don't win the Super Bowl from now on will now the difference between the Lombardi Trophy and the conference trophy they wind up getting.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nothing Lasts Forever, but COME ON!

For those who take life for granted, this has been a rough week.
First, Regis Philbin announces he's retiring from his morning show in New York. He's had a nice run, but most thought he;d never retire.
Besides, he's 79. Betty White is older and has a cable sitcom
Then, Keith Olbermann was kicked out of MSNBC, soon to the Comcast News Network. Let's not kid ourselves. He was the most popular guy on the network with Countdown, and now he's gone, Just like that.
At least Conan O'Brien was given a few days to vacate the premises. From what we hear, Olbermann was given the same exit deal. No TV for who knows how long, but he can be on the internet. If that means video blogs are OK, this will make him stronger. If there's something internet junkies have learned, the net can be one big channel.
Who knows? Maybe Regis will follow suit.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Giants Start Their Victory Lap

I'm sure the World Series trophy has had its share of tours in recent years. The team that wins the Commissioner's Trophy usually arranges a tour so that all fans can take a look at the trophy, up close.
The Phillies did it, and the Yankees, the Red Sox, even the Chicago White Sox.
Now, it's the Giants' turn.

Not Brian Wilson, but still

The last time I got close to any championship trophy was the Stanley Cup, and that was when San Jose hosted the NHL All-Star Game.
At least the Gants think that they should bring the trophy to the fans. Sure beats trying to get to AT&T Park, although that is possible, too.

There were two ways to see the trophy. Many decided to wait in line for a very long time to see the trophy. This is how long...


Giants Family Memories 3

Hey, it won't be that long a wait, right?

More bleedin' stairs

Almost there

Until at least you see this sign...

Presenting, the fully sponsored trophy tour

and room 211 on the State Senate side....

It's right through there

It was a pretty long line, but at least people got out of the cold that morning.

Later that afternoon, the trophy was placed in the big lobby at Sacramento City Hall. I had expected the line to stretch out to the Downtown Plaza. It didn't, but the line was still long...

Another long line to see something rare

Antici...pation, part 2

These fans were officially the last in line, according to the police department.

The end of the line

Otherwise, it would have gone on all night. After all, it may take another 56 years to bring the trophy back. At least with the Sacramento Rivercats, they have a couple of Pacific Coast League trophies and a Triple A World Series title. You can see those anytime at Raley Field.

And for those who forgot the World Series Trophy was in town, I took these pictures to symbolize the envy of those who wished they came sooner....

You snooze, you lose

To those who forgot to get in line

However, it's not too later. The Giants website says the trophy's tour has just begun. It'll stay within Northern California for the most part, except for stops in New York, Scottsdale and Medford. It's supposed to tour the city before the home opener on April 8th.
Still it was quite a thrill to see the World Series Trophy up close.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

So What Kind Of Old Year Did I Have?

There's nothing more depressing that January 2nd.
The excitement of a New Year is over, even though there are still a few football games to be seen, the biggest one coming in a week. You have to either put away those holiday decorations, and toss those dried out trees that looked so festive a week before.
Then you look back to see if you really accomplished anything in the previous year. Either you star into space, thinking about all the things you could have done, or you adopt Felicia Day's style of reviewing the year. I suggest the latter. It reminded me that while I failed to get published in a book of essays on Dollhouse, I wrote a much shorter sketch on what should have happened to the MST3K crew at the end of the series...and got a free ticket to a Cinematic Titanic show. It showed me that small victories can actually be pretty big after a while.

I also realized that many of my stories for Whedonopolis could be considered world exclusives...only because I just happened to be the only guy who thought to show up. Thus, my interview with Juliet Landau in San Francisco, coverage of Jewel Staite and Amber Benson's appearances in Sacramento, and recap of the Whedonverse CreationCon at LAX could be considered world exclusives. Technically. Because I was there. Just me.
Well, it's SOMETHING!
I can also claim to be one of the first people to take a picture of someone buying an iPad, since its debut happened the same day as Wondercon in San Francisco.

However, I have to claim two events that were the highlight of 2010 for me:

Attending a World Series Game....sort of:

View from the knothole

The free section of the World Series

This happened as a fluke. I had October 27th off for a Rifftrax event, but then the Giants suddenly found itself in a World Series. I found out I could be at AT&T Park on that date, and maybe get to see the game in the "Knothole" section for three innings. I made it in the middle of the game, then went to see Rifftrax. It got even better when we finally won the Series.
The trophy is coming to Sacramento this week. Of course, I plan to be there, and maybe for the FanFest, too. It should have even more people than usual. Winning a World Series will do that.

Getting Into Conan O'Brien's 2nd TBS Show:

Not the premiere, but close

The last time I tried to get tickets before dawn was to see Inglorious Basterds at Comic-Con. That paid off.
So did this. After my request for a ticket to see Ellen DeGeneres didn't work out (as in they didn't even tell me they already had enough people and try again next time), I gambled on getting a standby ticket for the second show. For one thing, it had Tom Hanks.
I just barely made it, and I have a souvenir to the real start of Conan's cable days. The first show was basically a hero's return. With the second show, you have to get back to work..and Conan certainly did.

So, my goals for 2011?
Well, I will try again to ask the Emmys if I could be a seat-filler again, or go back to the bleachers. I skipped 2010 only because it happened in late August. I prefer to come to September, so I can combine it with other events.
I may go back to the Paley Festival, although there's a lack of shows I'd like to see honored. It wasn't like the old days when there was Dr. Horrible, Pushing Daisies, How I Met Your Mother or Dollhouse. I would hope V gets to be part of the PaleyFest...if it's still on the air. Ditto for The Cape.
Yes, I'm mainly interested in shows that have Whedon Alumni. I might even see a Castle panel, if there is one.
As for wild wishes, the one right on top would be to go to London. I have a passport, and I'd like to use it before it expires in six and a half years. Second place would be Canada, tied with New York.
I also hope that somehow, my Whedonopolis stories will eventually lead to new opportunities. Even though I am 51, and write as if I'm 20 years younger (maybe 15), I would like to think I can write stories that would appeal to fans out there. I know my blogs won't inspire movies, much less webisodes. I would just hope someone would have me do something special. Until then, of course, these blogs will keep coming.

Already, 2011 will start with a bang: the new old Governor, Jerry Brown, will host a free lunch at the State Capitol, and the Giants World Series trophy is coming to town.
Then, Drones will be On Demand well before it comes to theaters. Gotta review that. What's interesting is that Amber Benson fans in New York and L-A will be upset this sneak preview won't be available. Other major markets, like San Francisco, Philly and Chicago, will be luckier.