i finally saw…’almost famous’

Despite being a self-professed pop culture addict, there are many gaps in my movie-viewing history. I’m often greeted with astonished cries of, “I can’t believe you haven’t seen that!” when I admit to not having seen a certain movie. This is obviously something I need to remedy, which I have slowly been attempting to do via Netflix and a book I have called “500 Must-See Movies.” I probably won’t see all 500, because not all of them interest me, but I want to be able to say, “Oh, I saw that!”

People were always quite shocked to hear I had never seen Almost Famous since it was about music (which I love) and journalism (my profession). I was always told I would love it.

I did.

I mean, it wasn’t as earth-shatteringly and life-changing as some promised it would be, but I enjoyed going on the journey with William and Stillwater. There were so many excellent performances, especially Frances McDormand and Kate Hudson’s rightfully Oscar-nominated roles. I loved the glimpses of currently famous people in supporting roles, like Zooey Deschanel and Rainn Wilson, but I guess that’s part of the territory when you’re watching a 12-year-old movie.

The iconic tour bus sing-along to “Tiny Dancer” was just as entertaining as I hoped, and even though I correctly predicted certain plot points, the movie left me with a smile on my face. It seems cliche to describe a movie as ‘heartwarming,’ especially one in which a teenage girl overdoses on quaaludes, but Almost Famous filled me with a warmth that I think comes from Cameron Crowe’s excellent script. The semi-autobiographical elements give the story depth and make the characters seem real.

Am I glad I finally saw Almost Famous? Yes, although I wish I had seen it in college or in my later high school years, when I could more relate to William’s coming-0f-age process, but as a young journalist, his story wasn’t totally foreign to me. (Where can I sign up for a Lester Bangs-esque mentor, though?)

Up next: Say Anything

golden globes live blog 2011

Welcome to my first live blog of the new year and the start of awards season. (No, I don’t count the People’s Choice Awards. Shocking, I know.) The Globes are one of my favorites because a) everyone’s drinking throughout the show and b) you get the best of movies and television.

7:53 – I’ve got my one-woman media center ready to go: Chapstick, Blackberry and Snuggie. It’s so high-tech in here I can’t stand it.

8:00 – Not even a minute in and Ricky Gervais already has a drink nearby.

8:02 – I may be in the minority here, but I don’t find Mr. Gervais very funny. Oh, and we just had “Christ” bleeped out.

8:04 – Okay, but he just won me over a little with the Walking Dead/Hugh Hefner joke.

8:06 – Christian Bale wins Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for The Fighter.

8:09 – Julie Bowen. Love her.

8:10 – Katey Segal wins Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama for Sons of Anarchy.

8:12 – Whoever makes up the seating chart/sets up the tables has a cruel sense of humor.

8:16 – Julianne Moore appears to have lost one sleeve in a tragic limo door accident.

8:17 – I don’t know a single person who watches any of these TV mini-series or movies.

8:21 – The “shut up and get off the stage” music is so passive-aggressive.

8:22 – I think Bruce Willis was a bit taken aback by Ricky Gervais’ “Ashton Kutcher’s dad” joke.

8:24 – Literally screaming out loud that Chris Colfer just won a Golden Globe. Talk about well deserved. (He won Best Supporting Actor – TV Series, Mini-Series, Movie.)

8:25 – Perfect speech, Chris. Love him.

8:29 – Something else I just screamed about: the return of Parks and Recreation this week.

8:31 – The fact that Alice in Wonderland was nominated proves that 2010 was not a great year for movies.

8:32 – Oh snap…the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is sassy.

8:33 – Um, Milla, the Miss America pageant was last night.

8:34 – Steve Buscemi wins Best Actor – TV Series – Drama for Boardwalk Empire. Not surprising, but I was hoping for a win for my favorite serial killer, Michael C. Hall.

8:37Boardwalk Empire wins Best TV Series – Drama. Again, nothing surprising, but I think a lot of people would agree that the quality of television has far surpassed that of movies. The five shows nominated for this category have more quality in ten minutes than most movies do in over an hour.

8:39 – Seeing Angelina fixing Brad’s tie was an oddly intimate moment from America’s most scrutinized couple.

8:43 – My mother is apparently keeping a tally of how many British people appear on tonight’s telecast. (We’re up to three.)

8:44 – As a member of the Facebook generation, I’m a bit embarrassed that I haven’t seen The Social Network yet.

8:45 – “Alec from the Rock and Jenny from the Block.” Genius.

8:47 – Two songs nominated from Burlesque? Yikes. One’s a winner, too.

8:48 – Confession: I instantly hate people who have their acceptance speeches pre-written.

8:50 – Trent Reznor has just won a Golden Globe. The apocalypse is nigh.

8:55 – The fact that Justin Bieber is at the Golden Globes makes me want to vomit.

8:57Toy Story 3 wins Best Motion Picture – Animated. This is another movie I’m ashamed that I haven’t seen.

8:59 – I really don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at Gervais’ rehab and jail jokes at Robert Downey Jr.’s expense.

9:01 – I’m officially starting the campaign to have RDJ host the Globes next year.

9:02 – Annette Bening predictably wins Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy-Musical for The Kids Are All Right. I knew it was a long shot, but I was hoping for an Emma Stone win. She was superb in Easy A.

9:06 – Don’t look know, but a rabid animal has taken up residence on Al Pacino’s head.

9:11 – If someone told me Tilda Swinton came from another planet, I would believe them.

9:12 – Pacino: hair plugs or just bad hair? I’m quite curious.

9:13 – Uncle Jesse is at the Golden Globes! I see you peering around Lea Michele, John Stamos.

9:16 – Holy hell, I hope Claire Danes’ award has a sleeve of Saltines inside it. Eat something, girl!

9:23 – Zac Efron’s military-style haircut: do not like.

9:24 – Please pardon me while I worship at the altar of Tina Fey.

9:26 – Carell and Feya match made in comedic heaven.

9:28 – “Smart girls have more fun.” Hell yes, they do.

9:29 – Another Glee win, this time for Sue Sylvester herself. Jane Lynch is awesome.

9:36 – Oh, Olivia Wilde…why must you ruin a gorgeous Marchesa dress with such awful hair?

9:37 – The lady who just won for Best Foreign Film flashed her Spanx as she was walking up the stairs. Whoops…

9:40 – Kind of thankful that Laura Linney isn’t here to accept her award, because that’s one less speech we have to sit through.

9:47 – I loved Burlesque, but it was by no means Golden Globe-worthy.

9:48 – It appears that the Big Bang Theory cast was seated in a dark corner. Congratulations to Jim Parsons on his win.

9:50 – Best Supporting Actress goes to…Melissa Leo for The Fighter. Boo, I wanted a Mila Kunis win.

9:50 – Don’t tell anyone, but…I’m kind of bored. I’m in a mid-show slump.

9:58 – Matt Damon is like a fine wine…better with age.

10:00 – Call me uncultured, but I can only think of Robert DeNiro saying, “Double dose,” in the Little Fockers trailer.

10:03 – Was I hallucinating, or did they really include The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle in DeNiro’s best-of montage?

10:07 – Someone get Mr. DeNiro some glasses so he can read the teleprompter.

10:14 – All of these wins for The Social Network make me want to see it ASAP.

10:16 – Dear David Fincher, jokes aren’t that funny when you’re reading them from something you typed in a Microsoft Word document last week.

10:18 – Best Comedy goes to…Glee.  I love this show, but I really wanted to see Modern Family win.

10:24 – I’ve never even heard of the movie Paul Giamatti just won for, but he’s a great actor.

10:27 – Lots of censoring going on tonight. Someone’s busy in the NBC control room.

10:29 – Emma Stone and Mila Kunis would be great in a well-written buddy comedy. Screenwriters of the world, get on this.

10:34 – Natalie Portman totally deserves this win for Black Swan. No one could play ballerina-gone-psycho better than her.

10:37 – Darren Aronofsky’s mustache is ridiculous. It looks like he pasted it on in the limo on the way over.

10:39 – Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical is The Kids Are All Right. A real shocker, considering its competition included Burlesque and Alice in Wonderland

10:41 – I have a saying that goes, “Friends don’t let friends get unfortunate bangs.” Sandra, your friends dropped the ball.

10:47 – Colin Firth wins for The King’s Speech. He’s so charming and British-y.

10:50 – I wish I was more adept at lip-reading, because I would love to know what some of these celebrities are saying to each other. I mean, what do you think Robert Downey, Jr. and Johnny Depp talk about? How to maintain that homeless man chic look?

10:54 – A standing ovation for someone with cancer just seems patronizing, but I like that Michael Douglas made a joke of it.

10:55Social Network wins Best Picture – Drama. This was such a strong category that I wouldn’t have been surprised if the award went to any of them.

And we’re done! Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read.

is this funny…or disturbing?

I’m going to say it’s a mixture of both. The pile of popcorn instead of cocaine? Sort of funny. Hearing children in elementary school call each other “sons of bees” and “motherfudgers”? Weird. Seeing them act out a scene full of murder and machine guns? It’s just wrong.

live-blogging the oscars.

The awards season comes to a close tonight with the most prestigious of ceremonies: the Academy Awards. It will be an interesting telecast with an unprecedented 10 nominees for Best Picture, and, for the first time in Oscar history, two hosts. The duo of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin is either going to be great or terrible. I’m hoping for the latter, because I find both of them funny separately, so they have to be funny together, right? I’ll be picking apart the fashions as they appear, since I can’t stomach any network’s red carpet coverage. Check back for my thoughts on Hollywood’s most important evening, and bear with me, because I think I’ve seen one, maybe two nominated movies.

8:30: This intro of the Best Actor/Actress nominees feels like a beauty pageant.

8:32: Neil Patrick Harris! Love him and his sequined tux. Of course he’s singing.

8:33: Loving the SYTYCD alums in this number, courtesy of producer Adam Shankman.

8:35: Meryl Streep is awesome.

8:37: Great “damn”/”dame” joke at Helen Mirren’s expense. BTW, has she found the fountain of youth? If so, please share.

8:39: Gabourey Sidibe’s mom is loving Baldwin/Martin.

8:41: Awkwardddd…James Cameron is sitting behind Kathryn Bigelow.

8:43: I asked why Zac Efron and Taylor Lautner were invited and my mother’s response was, “They’re in movies.” Thanks for clearing that up, Mom!

8:48: And Best Supporting Actor goes to…Christoph Waltz. Can’t say I’m surprised since he won a Golden Globe.

8:50: Ryan Reynolds – one of Canada’s best exports.

8:52: It’s nice to see that the real family from The Blind Side was invited.

8:56: This bit with the animated characters is cute.

8:58: Not at all surprised that Up won Best Animated Feature Film. I haven’t seen it, but it’s Pixar, so it has to be fantastic.

9:00: Go home, Miley. Amanda Seyfried looks lovely, though.

9:03: The song from Crazy Heart is probably going to win.

9:04: I’m three for three with winners so far. Too bad I didn’t take part in an Oscar pool.

9:05: So far we’ve had Ryan Reynolds then Chris Pine introduce a Best Picture nominee. I like the trend that’s being set here…

9:12: Tina Fey. My idol. My mother thinks she looks like “Tarzana” in her polka dotted-ish dress.

9:13: Fey and Downey, Jr. are killing it with their writer/actor bit.

9:15: As a writer (I use that term loosely,) I love when they do nerdy writer stuff like read the stage directions on scripts.

9:17: Molly Ringwald? Did you get lost on the way from 1987?

9:19: This John Hughes montage is making me feel old.

9:22: This gathering of Hughes movie alums may or may not make me cry.

9:24: Now the clip of Up is making me tear up. Get a grip.

9:27: I have a total girl crush on Zoe Saldana, even though she was in the Britney Spears cinematic disaster Crossroads.

9:30: John Lasseter, you are awesome.

9:32: I may love Zoe, but hot damn, her dress is UGLY.

9:35: That red haired lady was pretty intense. I got the impression that she wasn’t supposed to be onstage and/or speak.

9:37: I am not shocked at all that Ben Stiller is dressed as a Na’avi.

9:40: I still love the Will Ferrell/Steve Carell bit from when they introduced Best Makeup a few years ago. I may YouTube it during a commercial.

9:47: I love Rachel McAdams (aka Regina George).

9:52: Queen Latifah always looks classy at awards shows. Her dress tonight is very flattering.

9:54: Cameron Diaz, I see you in the background chewing gum.

9:55: Robin Williams is oddly subdued.

9:59: Best Supporting Actress was a strong group with lots of talent, but Mo’nique totally deserves this.

10:01: Colin Firth is so dapper.

10:06: Of course Avatar won Art Direction. It’s easily the most visually stunning movie I’ve ever seen.

10:09: More Martin and Baldwin, please. These two are getting lots of laughs in my living room. SJP’s dress and hair piece are heinous.

10:11: I like this lady who just won Best Costume Design. Way to thank the under appreciated costumers!

10:13: Ugh, I can’t even escape Twilight on the Oscars.

10:15: I’m getting sleepy and bored. I might not make it to the end.

10:18: Color me shocked…Kristen Stewart’s dress is nice and she doesn’t look as slouchy as usual.

10:19: Do. Not. Like. Horror. Movies. I’m watching through my fingers.

10:22: Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick are very cute together.

10:27: Hmm…I thought these sound awards were a lock for Avatar. Does this mean The Hurt Locker has some big awards in its near future?

10:30: Quentin Tarantino – the Dwight Schrute of directing? Discuss.

10:35: Sandra is looking super shiny tonight. I kind of like the dress.

10:36: Avatar finally wins a technical-ish award tonight.

10:37: Oh no. The death montage. We’ve lost a lot of greats this year. Sad.

10:45: Oh, hello, Sam Worthington. I like your glasses.

10:46: LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY DANCERS! I love them so much.

10:54: Do you think Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper talked about Jennifer Aniston while they were waiting backstage?

10:55: A big “DUH” that Avatar won Best Visual Effects.

11:02: Matt Damon – smart, talented, and a writer. Yes, please.

11:08: Dear Keanu, please shave. Thanks.

11:13: All the big awards are coming up, and just in time too, because I’m by myself now and I can barely stay awake.

11:14: I rest my case re: Quentin/Dwight.

11:19: Kathy Bates, you own Dunder Mifflin now.

11:20: I got chills watching the Avatar clip reel. It truly is a story that sucks you in and keeps you emotionally involved until the end credits.

11:23: There is a GIGANTIC spider crawling across the wall towards me. I just want this awards show to be over so I can get away from this speedy arachnid.

11:28: These personal tributes are actually quite interesting and touching.

11:31: Oh my god, West Coasters, it’s 11 freaking 30. Wrap it up, already.

11:33: Best Actor goes to…Jeff Bridges. No surprise there.

11:37: All right, I have to close up shop. I needed to go to bed like, an hour ago. Unlike everyone at the Oscars, some of us have to go to work tomorrow and earn a living : )

seriously, get a grip.

I do not like Twilight. I read the book and I thought it was one of the worst books I’ve ever read, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve read hundreds of books in the 21 years I’ve been alive. My hatred of the book has prevented me from sitting through the torture that is the Twilight movie adaptation, and I’m thankful for this because a) Robert Pattinson is not attractive and b) I’ve seen paper bags that can emote better than Kristen Stewart. Not to mention the thought of sitting in a theater with a bunch of screaming fanatics makes me feel ill.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you don’t care about creepy vampires who sparkle in the sunlight, (I wish I was making that up) the first movie was so successful that the second book’s adaptation, New Moon, is coming to theaters in November. The trailer was released recently, to the delight of fans everywhere, and some fans even videotaped themselves watching the trailer and subsequently posted it on YouTube. Why someone would want to post a video in a public forum of them acting like a complete fool is beyond me, but below is a montage of some of the best reactions.

the best “hangover” you’ll ever have.

Go see The Hangover.  Immediately. Drop whatever you’re doing, get in your car, drive to the nearest movie theater and dish out $10.50 for a ticket. You won’t be sorry.

This is easily the funniest movie I’ve seen in years, and given the lack of creativity in the movie industry, will probably be the funniest movie I’ll see for a while. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s script is full of great lines that will surely become repeated to the point of irritation, but most of the credit has to go to the three leading men. Bradley Cooper (Wedding Crashers), Ed Helms (The Office), and Zach Galifianakis (What Happens in Vegas) use their varied comedic talents and improv skills to bring what could otherwise be a script of clunky one-liners to life.

Galifianakis is the film’s breakout star as Alan, the strange man-child who’s only along on the bachelor party trip because his sister is the bride-to-be. Alan’s funniest lines are non-sequiturs that have nothing to do with the scene at hand, but that hint of absurdist comedy stood out among gags like flamboyant Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) and Stu (Helms) drunkenly marrying a stripper/escort (Heather Graham) who is just a little too good-natured and sweet considering she sells her body for a living. I loved Stu and all of his neurotic, worrisome behaviors, not to mention the fact that he (possible spoiler if you’re that picky…) drunkenly pulls out his own tooth to prove to Phil (Cooper) that he’s a good dentist.

The supporting players are good, too. Justin Bartha (National Treasure) is pleasantly bland as groom-to-be Doug, although Doug is only in about 10 percent of the movie, so they easily could have used a cardboard cutout to save money. I absolutely loved Rachael Harris (pretty much every clip show on VH1 from 2003-2006) as Stu’s overbearing girlfriend, and Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) had a few funny bits as the father of Alan and the bride-to-be.

I could detail the best parts of the plot, but that ruins the fun. The great thing about The Hangover is that you have no idea what to expect, and you’re just as in the dark as the characters are. The humor is way off, so leave your morality and righteousness in the car, but honestly, if you expect morals in this movie, then you clearly didn’t watch the previews very closely.

(Image courtesy of NY Daily News.)