Hooray for Hollywood!

It isn't as splashy as some other places, but we pride ourselves on being a little classier.Title: The Day of the Locust

Author: Nathanael West

Rank: 805,708

Blurb: “Tod Hackett is a brilliant young artist — and a man in danger of losing his heart. Brought to an LA studio as a set-designer, he is soon caught up in a fantasy world where the cult of celebrity rules. But when he becomes besotted by the beautiful Faye, an aspiring actress and occasional call-girl, his dream rapidly becomes a nightmare. For, with little in the way of looks and no money to buy her time, Tod’s desperate passion can only lead to frustration, disillusionment and rage.”

Review: “The story, if such it can be called, consists of flashes of Hollywood’s lunatic fringe who careen around, sometimes drunk, sometimes sex driven, sometimes just screwball. There is no plot — merely scenes here and there showing up Hollywood nuts and freaks, rather than glamor girls.”

Customers Also Bought: “The Postman Always Rings Twice”, by James M. Cain

Footnote: It’s Double Liveblog Sunday! Our Red Carpet coverage starts at 6 p.m. Eastern, and we switch to the Oscars at 8:15 p.m.

The Day of the Locust [Amazon]

Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon kickback link]


Is it the Oscars already?

Hugh Jackman is the host? Wolverine? Fucking Wolverine?

He did say something about being drunk and nude, which is enough to get me to tune in.

This week my wife insisted we embark on a pre-Oscar cram. Four movies in the last week – Button, Slumdog, Wrestler, Reader.

I am pleased to note that extensive nudity was a crucial part of the story and an important element of the Marisa Tomei and Kate Winslett roles.

I am picking them for best supporting actress and best actress to encourage more of this behavior in future moves.

@Hose Manikin:
me too–oscar cram. i’m picking slumdog for best pic, and it’s director danny boyle.
and micky rourke for best actor. whoever gets the other statues, i don’t care. drinking cappacino now, at almost 8pm to be there at 3 am.

the best oscar ad lib ever was when jon stewart hosted. he comes out after deep six mafia (hard core, little known gansta rappers) wins best song for “it’s hard out there for a pimp”
he says, “for those of you keeping track of these things, deep six mafia? one oscar. martin scorsece? zero”

On the betting line, you’ve picked some prohibitive favorites.

Slumdog is 1 to 9 to win Best Picture (risk $9 to win $1). For best actor Mickey Rourke is 4 to 9, although Sean Penn is getting some action at 7 to 4. Nothing compares to Heath Ledger, who is an apparent lock at 1 to 50 for best supporting actor (If you want to bet on Ledger, you have to risk $50 to win $1). The book I checked does not even list the other nominees for best supporting actor. You get the field at 20 to 1.

If you are drinking cappuccinos now, you’re not going to make it. Take a nap.

I am not too sure about anyone named “Todd” (much less “Tod”). Or Seth, or Trevor, or Tucker. Just sayin’.

I confess I have never watched the Oscars. Ever. Not a minute. Is there a good reason I should throw in my lot with you guys and do it?

Anybody see Tom the Dancing Bug’s “Did You Know?” about the Oscars? My favorite fun Oscar fact is “Mickey Rourke was rewarded with an Oscar nod for his great personal struggle with not being a movie star for years!

Let’s consider some great movies that were not nominated for the Best Picture Oscar:

City Lights
King Kong
Duck Soup
A Night at the Opera
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
My Darling Clementine
The Third Man
Singin’ in the Rain
Rear Window
The Night of the Hunter
Rebel Without a Cause
The Searchers
Paths of Glory
Touch of Evil
Some Like it Hot
North by Northwest
Cool Hand Luke
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Wild Bunch
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Body Heat
Blade Runner
The Last Temptation of Christ
Who Framed Roger Rabbit

That list doesn’t include any movies made during the last 20 years. It appears to me the Academy has an outstanding record of ignoring films that will be considered classics in the not-too-distant future. I have seen none of the Best Picture nominees but I did see WALL-E. Looks like they’ve done it again.

The only movies I saw this year were Iron Man, The Dark Knight and Tropic Thunder. I have not been able to motivate the boy to see the Mall Cop movie and I don’t feel like seeing sensitive dramas with Mrs RML. Besides, movies cut into her valuable Sunday afternoon nap times.

Looks like helping with homework, plugging away at a couple of memos and maybe raking the yard today. Outdoor adventure looks extremely unlikely. Spring caddis hatch is coming up in six weeks or so. Missed the winter season for pike, so I gotta go out for them this spring. Turkey is also about six weeks away, after spring break, which BTW, we’ll be spending in the Ojai/Santa Barbara area with a day trip to Santa Monica/Venice planned.

@blogenfreude: “”I confess I have never watched the Oscars. Ever. Not a minute. Is there a good reason I should throw in my lot with you guys and do it?” No.

As before noted: anyone can act in movies. Maybe not J Phoenix. But anyone else. If you need evidence I point to the children of Slumdog whose ‘performances’ (bless them all) are illusions created by the writer, the director, the editor, and whoever wrote the music. More proof needed? Let me point to the Walking Up the Staircase moment from Dark Victory (yes I am gay so deal with it). Ms. Davis reportedly said to the director, “Either I walk up the staircase. Or Max Steiner (composer) walks up the staircase. But we don’t walk up it together.” But of course, in the final cut that is just what happens because the director knew that he needed Max Steiner in full-bore attack mode to make that scene meaningful and to make it look as if Ms. Davis was doing somehing other than walking up a flight of stairs. BTW, anyone out there have any clue about the Walking Up and/or Down Stairs motif in US movies? Anyone know what it means? It’s used so importantly in so many movies (eg Lana Turner in Ziegfeld Girl where it becomes an important musical sequence in and of itself. And if you’re still in any doubt see above reference as to gayness) it must mean something. Anyhoo. Oscars. Meh. Marketing. Unless they’re planning a surprise gift of substantial amounts of money to the makers of Four months, Three Weeks, Two Days I think I’ll be watching whatever new Bollywood treats are available on Netflix.

BTW. Not that I know anything about Hollywood types but. My favorite unknown scandal? K. Said J Phoenix before referenced was dubbing on Gladiator (or as it’s better known Radiator) and a buddy of mine was in the loop-group (if you don’t know ask baked //waving, blowing kisses). They were dubbing the background to a scene with JP so he was there in studio. When he saw himself projected on screen in said scene he said “OMFG I can’t act!” (no argument there, Big Guy), threw down his script, pulled out a pint bottle of vodka, opened said bottle and drank most of it in a big gulp, and started to pull ALL HIS CLOTHES OFF!!! I know. Is that great or what? So of course the mere loop-groupers were hustled out of studio instanter but not till JP was down to his briefs. And in case any of you out there were wondering about JP and the boxers/briefs dispute (I’m looking at you HF) now you know.

Yes, since you ask, I am home with perhaps too much time on my hands today. You wanna make something of it? And yes, it is snowing.

Besides which, I’d rather be doing whatever RML is doing.

@baked: Three Six Mafia, dear. (They’re from Memphis, Mr Cyn’s hometown).
I seen nothing that’s nominated. In fact, the last time I saw a movie in a theatre was when we took Mr Cyn Jr to the latest Indiana Jones thing. I’ll watch and mock the dresses on the red carpet, though, because I live for that shit.

“anyone can act in movies.” – Ben


@Hose Manikin: Actually, I think she’s rather good playing ordinary pushy non-glam women. It’s all the goddess stuff that’s ridiculous. Plus she can’t sing in tune. But I saw her in the Mamet play Speed the Plow and I thought she gave the best performance of the evening.

Any more proof needed? Cartoons. Oh. And animals. And children. And Chevy Chase.

Plus, for those so inclined, Youtube has the whole Jennifer Holliday version of I’m not Going, which is pretty much the finale to the first act of Dreamgirls. And if you are tired of people telling you the movie can’t match the stage version, watch it. She’s astounding. And it only suggests the impact she had in the theatre. It’s one of the most astonishing things I ever saw. Maria Callas eat your heart out. This is diva.

@Benedick: There’s Up the Down Staircase, which I only know about because of Mad’s parody, In the Out Exit.

And let’s not waste our time critiquing the Oscars. The Oscars are glorious self-indulgent Americana, meant to be appreciated as a Very Special Episode of MST3K.

@Benedick: All good points. I’ve long said that I most enjoy movies where the actors are unknowns. Otherwise you’re sitting there wondering whether you should enjoy the performance or the fact that you’re looking at Cate Blanchett.

@Dave H: Some of my all-time favorites in that list. A Night at the Opera, Singin’ in the Rain, Brazil, Blade Runner (directors cut).

I’m sorry, but to make your case, you are going to have to cite a movie where Madonna looks like she was successfully acting. Evita does not count, that was a concert recital.

This is the biggest day of the year for Mrs. DB. I win a lot of points just by sitting on the couch with her during the Oscars. Valuable points, that I can trade off later in the year when I am sitting on the couch, watching baseball.

ojai is one of the most beautiful places i’ve been. we went to a spa vacation there, the name escapes me, you know the place, the major hotel there. it was a charming small town feel. the “city” area was mayberry. beautiful homes, breathtaking scenery (mountains! foliage!) and a bike path that pedals you to the beach in 20 minutes. we loved it so much, we spent a few extra days there with a realtor showing us outhouses in the million dollar range.
i guess other folks, with mo money, like it there too.

@Mistress Cynica:
thank you for clearing that up. my knowledge of rappers is happily limited.

Just came back from Sunday food shopping and saw somting when I was looking at the tabloid rack waiting in line to pay.

The Globe cover made me laugh.

According to them, W is all upset about how no one loves him and paranoid that Barry is out to get his ass. Then there’s Laura’s tell all (will we see her talk about taking on the entire USMC marching band?)

If this article were even 50% true, it made my afternoon.

@Hose Manikin: I thought she was pretty good in that movie about women playing baseball. I know, I know. Rosie’s in it. I haven’t seen Evita. I saw it on stage and spent the evening hoping she’d die soon. She did. But not soon enough for my liking. And she’s good in Desperately Thinging Whatsit playing a hard-bitten slut. Mind you, I saw that a long time ago. Who knows what’s happened to her performance since then. Movies do seem to change as one gets older. What seemed sublime when one was 20 now often gets filed under What Was I Thinking?? This kept me from re-watching Limelight for years. The first time I saw it I started to cry after about 15 mins and never stopped. By the end of the movie I was openly sobbing. Don’t ask me why, I often find Chaplin rather scary. Luckily, when I did see it again, the same thing happened.

@Dodgerblue: Then this is a very good reason to be watching the Oscars. In fact, this might just be the best reason I’ve heard all day.

darling, i’m crushed, and i mean that literally. i have a huge crush on J pheonix. you don’t think he was brilliant as johnny cash? i did catch a glimpse of his personality when he didn’t win the oscar for it. instead of politely pretending to be happy for whoever snatched it from him, he had a look on his face like, oh, fuck this, i was robbed! still. i think he was hot in gladiator garb. i do believe he can act. you don’t?

desperately seeking susan, an adorable little movie!
aiden quinn at his yummiest.

@baked: Actually, I don’t. But who cares. That’s not what movie stars are supposed to do. And at least now you know that underneath the toga he’s wearing briefs. I didn’t see I Toe the Line for obvious reasons plus the C&W aspect.

I suspect my own aversion to game award shows is the competition aspect. I never like that.

@ManchuCandidate: I noticed one of the tabloids as I sailed by the checkout at Chinatown (aka Walmart) that said that W was suicidal. Only that someone carelessly leaves a pistol laying around.

@Mistress Cynica: No fucking shit on Huge Jack-man. OMFG.

but “it’s an honor just to be nominated” and the check is in the mail….

if you would see him playing johnny cash, i do believe you would rethink your position. crush aside, he was superb.

My nomination for the best performance of JP’s career was his appearance David Letterman a couple of weeks ago. He had most of the country (and Letterman) thinking he completely lost it or was drugged out, but I think he was just fucking with Letterman. An Andy Kaufman-esque masterpiece.

@Benedick: The best acting you’ll see all year is from the losers.

@Hose Manikin:
sorry i missed it. i have an uncanny knack of attraction to nutcases.

going to nap, see ya on the carpet, alarm set.

See this is why I don’t like these things. It is an honor to be nominated. And I hate to think of those who don’t ‘win’ as being ‘losers’. Given the fantastic odds out there I think anyone who does anything is pretty remarkable. Want to see a free market economy in action? Look at Hollywood. If most of the movies are crap that’s because they’re made for the market. And by god they know how to get things done! Just imagine lining up the shots for, say, some Harry Potter extravaganza. Think of the organizing. Working out who does what. Knowing where to spend money and where to try to save it (hire top talent and shoot in New Z). Just looking at the credits for the FX crew alone is enough to bring on vertigo. Plus they all have to be fed and most of them housed. Next time we go invading other countries the Pentagon should seriously try to get Dreamworks involved. Or whoever produces those Hobbit things. Those motherfuckers know how to get things done. They’ll bring it in on time and on budget.

@AARPrick: It would have to be a revolver (double action) or a Glock. Anything other than a point and shoot would be too complicated for Boosh.

@Benedick: Dude.

Mickey Rourke’s Spirit award speech, for the 1 or 2 of you who have not cruised over to HuffPo today:


Off to the gym with the family, or else I’m going to start reading shit like hunting chamois in New Zealand . . .zero outdoor adventure today.

@redmanlaw: and that’s provided he is even sober enough to point it.

3:30 am, i’m up!

reds , i had not seen that acceptance speech micky rourke gave at the spirits!
my my that was enjoyable. i urge you all to click that link. in addition to using every expletive in existance, he was hee-larious…and then he dedicated it to one of his dogs who had just died, and almost broke down.
god, i hope he wins tonight!

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