Obviously Losing

Location: Los Angeles, California

Friday, March 31, 2006


Emir Kusturica's 1995 film, Underground, is an exuberantly brilliant and messy masterpiece. Through allegory and surreal imagery, the movie explores Yugoslavia's self-destructing history since WWII. It contains some of the most potent images I've ever seen in a film, and its messages about community and lost countries are devastating. Oh, and it's quite funny too.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Christmas Mornings...

Yeah, I pretty much reacted the same way.

Monday, March 27, 2006

On the Big Screen

Director Peter Bogdanovich wrote a wonderful article in the LA Times on the virtues of the movie theater. Click here.

"Over the years I've noticed that audiences, just before the show starts, radiate a kind of innocence. Considered person by person, that may not be the case, but as a group they share the ability to be taken wherever the film chooses to take them, either to the stars or the gutter, and their communal experience will alter them for better or worse. Let's not let all that possibility fade away further than it already has."

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I was just listening to Bjork's "I've Seen It All," a musical number she sings in Dancer in the Dark with Radiohead's Thom Yorke. And I came to the conclusion that it's one of the most beautifully written songs of the past decade.

In the film, Bjork's character, Selma, is going blind. The song is about how Selma tries to pursuade herself that she'll not miss anything. And yes, this is the song Bjork performed at the Oscars while wearing a swan-dress.

The lyrics:

I've seen it all, I have seen the trees
I've seen the willow leaves dancing in the breeze
I've seen a man killed by his best friend,
And lives that were over before they were spent
I've seen what I was - and I know what I'll be
I've seen it all - there is no more to see

You haven't seen elephants, kings, or Peru
I'm happy to say I had better to do
What about China? Have you seen the Great Wall?
All walls are great if the roof doesn't fall

And the man you will marry?
The home you will share?
To be honest, I really don't care...

You've never been to Niagara Falls
I have seen water, it's water, that's all...
The Eiffel Tower, the Empire State?
My pulse was as high on my very first date
Your grandson's hand as he plays with your hair?
To be honest, I really don't care...

I've seen it all, I've seen the dark
I've seen the brightness in one little spark
I've seen what I choose and I've seen what I need,
And that is enough; to want more would be greed
I've seen what I was and I know what I'll be
I've seen it all - there is no more to see

You've seen it all and all you have seen
You can always review on your own little screen
The light and the dark, the big and the small
Just keep in mind - you need no more at all
You've seen what you were and know what you'll be
You've seen it all - there is no more to see

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This Year's Oscar Frontrunner

Click here and scroll down.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

God of War II Trailer

Ooooooo... I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Best of the Best Of Lists

They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? just released an updated version of "The 1,000 Greatest Films." Their list is the best of its kind. It compiles 1,193 Top 10 lists (including my own) and 213 polls to arrive at a definitive list of the supposed greatest films of all time.

Of course I don't agree with everything on the list, and I still haven't seen a lot of the choices. But if you're curious about watching some great films, their list is a perfect place to start.

Here's their Top 10:

1. Citizen Kane
2. The Rules of the Game
3. Vertigo
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
5. 8 1/2
6. The Seven Samurai
7. The Godfather
8. The Searchers
9. Tokyo Story
10. Singin' in the Rain

How many have you seen? I've seen nine... I still need to get around to watching my DVD of "The Seven Samurai." I've been intimidated by its 200-min length.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I am proud to be Irish, as this clip proves.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Finding Neko

Neko Case has one of the best voices around. Has this been a great year for members of The New Pornographers, or what? First Dan Bejar with Destroyer's Rubies, and now Case has released her own album, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Lovely stuff, my friends, lovely.

Your complimentary song sample is here.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sober Destroyer

The 2nd great album of the year is Destroyer's Rubies by Destroyer. The band is led by Dan Bejar, who also sings in The New Pornographers. In fact, when I saw The New Pornographers in concert, Destroyer opened for them. And they were horrible... Bejar was clearly drunk, and yet he continued to sing with the microphone in one hand and a beer bottle in the other. So, I didn't have high hopes for this album. Boy was I wrong.

As usual, a song sample here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Damn, Natalie

I'm sure everyone has already seen this, but if you haven't, Natalie Portman is a crazy chick.


If any game can surpass "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" as the best game ever made, it's this one. (warning: 30-min video)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Best Film of 2005 on DVD

I now understand why Disney held off on releasing the DVD of "Howl's Moving Castle" until today - it was to get my mind off the Oscars by recalling what true movie magic is like. This is as creative and beautiful as filmmaking gets, and its message doesn't hit you over the head like some other movies (ahem, "Crash").

It's a lovely, stirring, breathtaking work of art. So to the three people reading this, please do rent "Howl's Moving Castle" sometime. You'll be in for a treat. And if you've never seen an anime before, try to keep an open mind.

Here are some pictures for ya.

Monday, March 06, 2006


If there was one good thing about the Oscars last night, it was Jon Stewart. He got better and better as the night progressed.

Here is a montage of Stewart's jokes. And here is his spoof of the Best Actress campaign.

You're a Good Man, Jack

In case you were wondering about Jack Nicholson's behavior when announcing the Best Picture winner:

"Gayle King just mentioned on Oprah that after Jack Nicholson got off the stage he said that he was completely shocked that Crash won and that he had voted for Brokeback Mountain." (Source: OscarWatch)

Google, I love you

Sunday, March 05, 2006

One more Oscar thing

Kenneth Turan, the lead film critic of The Los Angeles Times and a USC professor, has written a commentary that nails the Oscars and this town. It's a good read if you're interested. Click here.

And now I think I'm done bitching. Onto the 2006 film season. Duck Season, a really sweet Mexican film I reviewed, is coming out next weekend. But beware, one of the characters may be gay... OMG, NOOOO, the horror, the horror, a gay film... no Oscar for you!

Sorry, couldn't help myself. ;-)

Progressive Hollywood... yeah right

This was posted on a forum by a person who works in the Hollywood entertainment industry. It perfectly sums up how I feel about Crash winning Best Picture:

"I find Crash winning so offensive because of the message it sends, which is that it's not OK for two men (especially masculine men) to love each other. Anyone who thinks Brokeback Mountain lost for any reason other than homophobia is wrong. The fact is that the Academy is by and large older, straight, white men, who are threatened by the idea of two men expressing their love for each other. My boss is an entertainment lawyer who knows various industry people here in LA. He's also gay. He told me on Thursday that all of the wives of Academy members that he knows told him their husbands refused even to watch Brokeback Mountain. That right there sums it up for me, and it's when I knew BM was going to lose. I am so sad about it because it's the most beautiful love story I've ever seen, and I say that as a man who is not gay. I am disgusted that this type of passive homophobia still exists. BM won every single major precursor for Best Picture and didn't win the Oscar. How can anyone say it was because the movie wasn't good enough? No one will ever convince me that Crash won because it was a better movie; it won because racism is easier to support than homosexuality. This is truly, truly awful -- the worst outcome of any category I can recall because of the insidiousness of why BM lost."


Why do I get so worked up each year for the Oscars, only to be let down? I'll say this again and again: the Academy generally does an awesome job with the nominations, and then fucks it up with the actual winners.

Crash winning Best Picture can be attributed to one unfortunate reality... homophobia. Sorry, but it's true. Brokeback Mountain was in a position very few films have ever been in - it won the Globe, the Producers Guild, the Writers Guild, the Directors Guild, was the most critically acclaimed film of the year, and made the most money among the Best Pic nominees. No film has ever been in such a good position... only to then lose the Oscar.

Quite simply, there are still people out there who are scared to embrace a film dealing with homosexuality. And that's a shame.

As for my predictions, I was 16/21.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The most recognizable intro in TV history

This totally made my day.

Final Oscar Predictions

Best Picture
• Brokeback Mountain
• Capote
• Crash
• Good Night, and Good Luck
• Munich

This is turning into a closer race than many expected. It's Brokeback Mountain vs. Crash. Brokeback has the advantage in that it has won practically every precursor award that exists. Yet, Crash is the kind of liberal feel-good movie the Academy loves to reward. Also, although Hollywood is probably the most pro-gay industry in the nation, there are still many older voters who would much rather vote for a movie about racism than a movie about gay cowboys.

Still, Brokeback is the favorite. And personally, nothing would make me happier than to see it win over Crash.

Will Win: Brokeback Mountain
Spoiler: Crash
Should Win: Munich

Best Director
• George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
• Paul Haggis, Crash
• Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
• Bennett Miller, Capote
• Steven Spielberg, Munich

Ang Lee will win his first Directing Oscar.

Will Win: Ang Lee
Spoiler: George Clooney
Should Win: Steven Spielberg

Best Actor
• Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
• Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
• Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
• Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
• David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck

Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the greatest actors working today, has this wrapped up.

Will Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Spoiler: Heath Ledger
Should Win: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Best Actress
• Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
• Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
• Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice
• Charlize Theron, North Country
• Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Now, this may be one of the most interesting categories of the night. All signs point to Witherspoon taking home the Oscar - she's young, pretty, and gave an admirable performance. Yet her character, June Carter, really felt like more of a supporting character than a lead.

Then you have Felicity Huffman. She's an Emmy-winning star on one of the most watched television shows. Her role is meatier than Reese's. Her performance is better. And she did something the Academy always loves - she uglified herself with tons of makeup.

But I don't have the guts to predict an upset. So Reese it is.

Will Win: Reese Witherspoon
Spoiler: Felicity Huffman
Should Win: Felicity Huffman

Best Supporting Actor
• George Clooney, Syriana
• Matt Dillon, Crash
• Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
• Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
• William Hurt, A History of Violence

Clooney vs. Giamatti. Giamatti has been snubbed the past two years (for Sideways and American Splendor), so the Academy may want to give him a "make up" Oscar. Yet, Clooney is a classy guy that everyone in the industry loves. Furthermore, he directed and wrote Good Night, and Good Luck, scoring a total of 3 nominations. The Academy will want George to go home with an Oscar somehow, and this is where he'll get it.

Will Win: George Clooney
Spoiler: Paul Giamatti
Should Win: Jake Gyllenhaal

Best Supporting Actress
• Amy Adams, Junebug
• Catherine Keener, Capote
• Frances McDormand, North Country
• Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
• Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

Another interesting category. Weisz probably has this won, but watch out for Michelle Williams and Amy Adams. If Brokeback wins Best Picture, Williams could pull off an upset because the Academy usually likes the Best Picture to take home at least one acting award. Yet, her role may be viewed as too small and passive. Enter Amy Adams, who gave the best supporting performance of the year. Adams steals the show in Junebug, and Sony Pictures Classics has been campaigning hard for her. But I'm sticking with Weisz, who is pregnant, and that always helps.

Will Win: Rachel Weisz
Spoiler: Amy Adams or Michelle Williams
Should Win: Amy Adams

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Crash
Should Win: Match Point

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Brokeback Mountain
Should Win: Capote

Best Animated Feature
Will Win: Wallace & Gromit
Should Win: Howl's Moving Castle

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: Tsotsi
Should Win: Tsotsi

Best Documentary
Will Win: Murderball (my most gutsy pick)
Should Win: Murderball

Best Cinematography
Will Win: Brokeback Mountain
Should Win: The New World

Best Art Direction
Will Win: Memoirs of a Geisha
Should Win: King Kong

Best Costume Design
Will Win: Memoirs of a Geisha
Should Win: Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Editing
Will Win: Crash
Should Win: Munich

Best Sound
Will Win: Walk the Line
Should Win: War of the Worlds

Best Sound Editing
Will Win: King Kong
Should Win: War of the Worlds

Best Visual Effects
Will Win: King Kong
Should Win: King Kong

Best Makeup
Will Win: The Chronicles of Narnia
Should Win: The Chronicles of Narnia

Best Original Score
Will Win: Brokeback Mountain
Should Win: Munich

Best Original Song
Will Win: "In the Deep," Crash
Should Win: "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp," Hustle & Flow