So, I guess this it what it takes to end a 1-year-plus drought:
Well done, swoosh people. Fine music, fine balling, doesn't have to be more complicated than that.
It's amazing how consistently b-ball ads get it right, where the media covering the sports get it wrong, wrapped up in convoluted storylines. This is the perfect blend of the 3 elements that set (the NBA brand of) basketball apart from other sports: first: the playful be-bop-y-ness, ball flowing, beat rolling, mind letting go. It's CP3 pressing up court, D-Wade gambling on the impossible steal, Lebron throwing down in traffic. Call it the improvisational, or the instinctual quality of basketball. What hiphop dancers call being in the pocket. It's Marvin hanging back on "star-spangled" and "home of the brave", almost making you think he might have missed the beat, then hitting it, unexpectedly, but exactly right, leaving you to wonder how anyone could have sung it differently. And why you only knew after the fact. Then, the undeniable charisma of superdupermegastars, working the camera, a sport made for tv, everything right there for a simple pan and zoom. And lastly, the unapologetically quasi-homoerotic body worship, the sheer exasperation of seeing impossible beings do impossible things with their impossibly perfect bodies. It's improv ballet, if only dancers were stronger, taller and faster. And jumped higher. This ad, quite simply, gets it.
Realised I never linked to the Rives talks on TED. Which is a bit stupid, since they're pretty much the most amazing thing posted from TED. Like, evah, y'know? If Rives was in charge of the internet, "you could email dead people. They would not email you back, but you'd get an automated reply. Their name in your inbox. It's all you wanted anyway." Got you interested?
Many will know about all the brands copying innocent. No need to fiddle on about it here. The Do Bem people is clearly among the worst, still, who cares? But came across this new ad on their website:
Do Bem, 2007, next to innocent, ca. 2003: Seriously? what's going on here? Seeing obviously talented people wasting their skills copying somebody else is sad, more than anything. I'm just curious how people actually feel about going to work doing this. Do you constantly look over your shoulder, hoping people won't notice or care? Do you feel proud you've pulled off the scam? I don't get it.
So, the reason it's been... well, quiet here, is this: Finally got the innocent scandinavia blog up and running. Drop by and have look. If you don't understand Danish, I can assure you the writing is absolutely jawdroppingly brilliant. If you do understand, well, please don't rat me out.
Just have to show everyone the way to The Jack Bauer Kill Count, a site that tracks all kills by Jack Bauer in the 24 series. Method, weapon, episode, it's all there. Even screenshots and video sequence of the kills. Btw he's up to 143 kills so far.
Imagine what you could get done if you had the kind of time whoever's behind that website must have?
Wystan Hugh Auden would have been 100 this year. Still grievously underestimated. He's the topic of the Slate book club now, and there's some fine stuff in that discussion.
Was reminded of his famous "All that he did was remember / like the old and be honest like children", since a bit of the discussion centers on some early poems that Auden later cut from his body of work. He cut them because they were "dishonest" - mostly because they were about feelings he hadn't actually felt. So, emotionally dishonest, if you like.
It's an interesting position, to say the least. Not one I agree with, but still interesting. Imagine the implications if all writers substribed to that? Never write of things you don't really believe, of feelings you don't feel, of convictions you won't defend. Would change things up quite a bit, wouldn't it? Of course, one has to doubt the old man looking at the poems of his youth, sorting through which feelings were true and which weren't. There are certainly things I'd wish I'd known better than to think or feel. Doesn't change the fact that I did.
Finally a Sunday to clean out all the stuff that was bookmarked and never read... just a couple of gems from Slate.com to share: An intriguing look at the many ways beautiful people have it easier; some studies seem to suggest that beautiful people are actually smarter than unattractive people, one reason of course being that more people - including school teachers - give them attention.
And oh is this a non sequitur: the facts behind the theory that suggests Britney Spears shaved her head to avoid getting caught in a drug test for her child custody case. Key fact: urine samples only show drug traces for about a week or so. Hair retains toxins for pretty much forever, so apparently a woman with "shoulder-length hair carries around a two-year record of her drug use". Ouch. Hit me baby, one more time.
Finally, as often as I've heard the phrase "the camera adds ten pounds", I've never actually heard a good explanation why. Well, here it is.
2:30 - Cute montage to get us rolling. But Abigail Breslin will be SO annoying before everything's said and done. And Peter O'Toole really looks older for every shot. He might be dead before the night's over if we don't hurry up.
2:35 - nothing like a self-congratulatory standing ovation to set the mood.
2:36 - introducing Ellen DeGeneres. Aw, how I dread watching her for 3 hours. What did Jon Stewart do wrong? yeah, ok, I know. He was funny.
2:37 - seriously, she ain't funny. Badly dressed, and straight up not funny. I realize it's hard to get good people for this gig. Apparently. But hey, we KNOW Eddie's in the house. Mike him up, people.
2:38 - cheap jokes on British people. I'm speechless. Let's take a break here.
2:44 - Hey, Ellen, when you bang a tambourine right next to your microphone, we can hear it. Quite a lot.
2:45 - First award, and they break out Daniel Craig already. This, for Art Direction, should go to Pan's Labyrinth easy. And it does. So far, so good. With all these Spanish-language nominations, I predict very long and unintelligible speeches all night. And we go directly to The Geek Awards. Way to bring it down a notch.
2:53 - Make-up, animated short, and liveaction short coming up. Can hardly contain yourself, can you? But thankfully, a bit of Ferrell & Black to get us through this segment. And a guest appearance by uberfunny John C. Reilly. So funny it completely screwed the makeup category over. Hopefully more Pan's Labyrinth...
2:58 - yes. So I guess that's what you'd call a good start. Except for cutting off the acceptance speech after like, 5 seconds. And hey, "The Danish Poet" wins in the "irrelevant" category. Not a Danish film though. Look at the ears of that Norwegian girl. They don't grow ears like those on the continent.
3:04 - Danish hopes crushed in the live action short category. But hey, can't complain about losing to a musical comedy short about rival Palestinian and Israeli gangs "that takes place between two falafel stands on the West Bank". No, really.
3:14 - hotly contested "best supporting actor" category coming up. Let's make sure it goes to either Wahlberg or Murphy, for the acceptance speech alone. Even though Hounsou is ridiculously good. And the sound fx choir with some free play for the Honda Civic ad. Meanwhile, a sound editing award to Iwo Jima, and hopefully a new and disrespectful trend of making fun of the minor categories. It's the most boring speech so far - a 2 pager - and following Steve Carrell, no less.
3:19 - Dreamgirls bring home "sound mixing". Which is a bit like saying 'we don't believe these people can sing, so the mixing must be really good', isn't it? And the first thankyou to "guys in the back room". Hm.
3:21 - Rachel Weisz is the hotness. A shame about all that botox. Aaand a shame to miss out on Wahlberg going ballistic on us. Alan Arkin breaks out another spiritkilling 2-pager for the upset win.
3:32 - wow, could the song from "Cars" be the worst song ever nominated for anything? Some serious musical crappiness going on here. Oh, turns out the "Inconvenient Truth" song is just as bad. With the other 3 nominations all coming from Dreamgirls, can you imagine how disappointing it must be for them if they don't win?
3:37 - and for the "let's make each other feel good about ourselves"-moment, Gore & DiCaprio announce the Oscars have "gone green". Yeah, absolutely no excess here. Helicopter shots from the red carpet and carbon offsetting? Incongruous, much? And absolutely fabulously hammy acting from Al Gore, as the music interrupts a fake-running-for-prez-announcement.
3:44 - the penguin movie guy looks positively penguinesque. The deadness of Ben Afflecks eyes announce adapted screenplay's coming up. Wouldn't a Borat win be something? Screenwriter montage worth it just for the snippets of Ed Wood and Barton Fink. Seriously, let's get The Departed rolling.
3:53 - and we did. Bald Jack looks happy. But really, you'd expect more of a bangout speech from a professional writer, wouldn't you? Plus, the "valium does work" joke got a few too many uneasy laughs.
4:02 - Note to ladies Blunt and Hathaway: cute and giggly works well when you're 15. Now? not so much. Meanwhile, the winner of best costumes calls the Oscar "this doll" in a weird accent. Not sure you're getting anymore once you call it a doll.
4:09 - Tom Cruise comes out acting all normal. I feel cheated, quite frankly. He's reached the point where it's really disappointing when there's no crazy stuff. Every major award show should have a Cruise moment. Instead, we get Ellen doing her ill-advised walking around chatting people up. Really, we don't need you interviewing Clint. He's old, ok? He can hardly hear you, and you expect him to improvise? Don't embarass the Clint.
4:16 - Wow, those silhouette dancers are ... something. Quite ... unique. I think I like it. And a 3rd statue for Pan's Labyrinth, for cinematography.
4:20 - This segment have Best Foreign Language film coming up. Hilariously, Danish commenters are cheering on Danish "After the wedding" ... while Pan's Labyrinth and Das Leben der Anderen is in the same category. Ain't gonna happen, guys, but thanks for playing. Interrupted by Robert Downey with a crack on crack, or something. And Naomi Watts in a dress so low-cut I hope there are wires holding it up just in case. A slipout seems imminent.
4:24 - And for the little known category "Broken English", it's Catherine Deneuve and Ken Watanabe! Interpreters everywhere rejoice. Das Leben der Anderen gets the Oscar after a montage called "Why Hollywood sucks". Or maybe it was just "Past Winners of Best Foreign Language Film". Well, same same. Almost crying just from those 3 shots from "Mar adentro".
4:34 - so, let me get this straight, the prize for winning best supporting actress is kissing Clooney, or getting an Oscar? either way, it's Jennifer Hudson for the minor upset. We either get a breakdown here, or we aren't gonna get it at all. Not that much, unfortunately. Not much kissing from George. Guess he doesn't like big girls.
4:42 - And Gael Garcia Bernal wins worst haircut of the evening, and even shows off a pair of glasses with a frame completely messing up his face. Nice work.
4:45 - Oh my, Jerry Seinfeld is presenting "Best documentary". Not only was he available, and present, and dressed up, but apparently quite willing to perform, and be, you know, funny. Really, we couldn't get him to host the show? He only had time for a 2 minute spot? And in just 2 minutes he proves without a doubt why Ellen DeGeneres has no business hosting the biggest gig in showbizz. For the least surprising award, An Inconvenient Truth knocks it out of the ballpark.
4:52 - And the producers flat out refuse to let Clint age gracefully, putting him on the spot with a horribly long introduction to Morricone's honorary Oscar. Can we all agree on just letting him do a Nicholson and sit and look cool and say nothing? The guy's 200 years old. Ennio's beautiful music to the rescue, once again.
5:03 - Morricone and Eastwood combine for the most touching moment of the night so far. And so cute of that little man to passionately thank his grumpy beast of a wife. Notice how I skipped right past Celine Dion, there? Subtle, huh? Like it never happened.
5:18 - Little Miss Sunshine taking home original screenplay, and Kirsten Dunst doing the dead eye stare while Tobey Maguire struggles to present. After Michael Arndt's remarkably together speech, J-Lo botches up introducing a song from Dreamgirls featuring Jennifer Hudson in more immediate boob-spillout-danger than ever. And Beyonce singing circles around the poor matched Hudson, who's screaming unpleasantly, or shrieking, rather, to match Beyonce's output.
5:30 - I refuse to acknowledge that Melissa Etheridge now has an Oscar. Really, there were no better songs, in any movie, anywhere on earth, all of last year? Just so we're clear, I'm counting this as an Oscar for Al Gore. No way did the people voting for this mess actually hear the song.
5:43 - After an obnoxious "America"-montage, Thelma Schoonmaker, the master editor of Raging Bull, gets one more notch for The Departed. Which, fittingly, leads to the "Departed last year"-montage. Foul play, anyway. And Robert Altman going out on top. But really, would it kill you to be quiet for 2 minutes? the whole "let's clap wildly to show that we remember some of these more than others" is a bit repulsive.
5:54 - Now for the least surprising award of the year: rooting for Helen Mirren really is like rooting for the dealer at a blackjack table. She was that good.
6:02 - And to present... hey, it's June Carter! oh wait. Btw, Best Actor is loaded this year. As mentioned, DiCaprio looks scary. O'Toole as well, but that's a different kind of scary. On the other hand, you don't wanna mess with Idi Amin.
Does anybody else get the feeling Forest Whitaker's a bit, um... too much into this acting thing? Doesn't seem healthy. He's even having trouble losing the Amin-accent.
6:07 - The action heats up as the three stooges Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg do a cute little number before Scorsese finally gets his Oscar. Well, he was due, even though a solid 5 or 6 of his past movies were more deserving than The Departed.
6:13 - Bringing out the big gun for Best Movie, Jack Nicholson's out to announce. Diane Keaton's either drunk or wore the wrong glasses. Rambling incoherently. So Jack takes over. And whatever was on that card, he does announce one more statue for The Departed. Does that mean we can go to bed now? Or do we still have "Best Makeup in an animated Short film documentary" or something coming up? I've lost track. And work starts in about an hour and a half.
0:05 - Aaaand we're live from the red carpet outside the Kodak Theatre for the annual "who's so insecure about their superstar status that they come 2 1/2 hours early to get some camera time"-section of the Oscars. Always fun.
0:09 - American pseudo-designer Randolph Duke pretending he knows about fashion trends, when he's really just preparing us for the dresses he designed this year. Really, we'll be seeing THAT this year? Nooo, really?
0:14 - Michael Sheen is looking positively Blair'esque doing his wide-eyed clueless pose. Very unstatesmanlike to arrive this early, Michael.
0:20 - "And Al Gore is in the house". God forbid that should lead to any sort of mention of "An InconvenientTruth". Whaddya now it, he's wearing black. 0:26 - Al Gore has reached the runway commenters, and as Tipper is wearing an understated chocolate number, they have no choice but to talk about the film and the environment. Good going, Tipper.
0:31 - Red carpet commenters congratulating each other on how good a job they're doing. Little early for that, no?
0:33 - a primer to transparency-testing your Oscar-dress before meeting the runway flash-bulps. Stay classy, people.
0:36 - Catherine Deneuve, in Jean Paul Gaultier, no less. Classiness rating just went up by around 300%. And a clearly drugged up Sally Kirkland just pulled it waaay down again. Oh, and she didn't do the flash-test.
0:41 - J-Lo, sporting a grand empire-inspired dress, REALLY big hair, sounding like she should be wearing a hoodie. The sweet sound of the Bronx gutter. And in other disappointing news, Cameron Diaz is no longer a blonde. Sigh. And though Rachel Weisz is stunning in a champagne Vera Wang number and Cartier jewels, her face looks strangely like it... can't move. Too young for botox, baby.
0:48 - The "Dreamgirls" cast clearly didn't get the "cleavage is not in fashion"-memo. And one of the girls just used the word "pop-out". Scary. And speaking of scary, Penelope Cruz is wearing some kind of giant wet carpet.
0:54 - Will Smith being all serious and stuff. Quite inapproprate really. But not as inappropriate as Jennifer Hudson's golden StarTrek space-vest worn with a brown H&M dress. Maybe not, but looks like it.
1:00 - Celebrating cracking the one-hour mark by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu being unbearably selfsufficient. And oh my word does Helen Mirren rock the whole fashion sense thing. Well done. That's red carpet royalty right there.
1:04 - Leo di Caprio looking frighteningly intense. If I were nominated in his category, I'd forfeit. He looks legitimately like he might kill someone if he doesn't win.
1:12 - Jodi Foster looking extremely awkward. It's slightly disconcerting, frankly, that she was at her sexiest as Tallulah in Bugsy Malone and Taxi Driver. We should probably stop it right there.
1:15 - Randolph Duke breaking out the "that is literally crazy. She's lost everything on the red carpet, her hair, her bra, everything" for a replay of crazed out Sally Kirkland. That's harsh, dude. Blame the percocets, not the poor woman.
1:19 - Cate Blanchett has a weird over-confident smirk going on. I think she just jinxed "Notes on a scandal". And what a weird night when Celine Dion is practically the best-dressed so far (wasting a John Galliano wonder). Her husband, predictably, is not.
1:21 - oooh, Forest Whitaker almost forgetting that he hasn't actually, you know, WON yet, discussing his acceptance speech in some detail. More jinxing? Hey, and Jessica Biel going for the stripper/escort look was unexpected. Two years early, at least. Probably afraid to go the way of Jessica Alba to oblivion if she doesn't go "slutty" early enough. Don't wanna miss that window, obviously.
1:35 - Clint Eastwood leaves mid-interview because he just doesn't give a ... , and his befuddled young wife patches things up with a "he's just happy to be here, happy if he wins, but he won't be disappointed if he doesn't win, because everybody is so great this year". Yadda, yadda, yadda. Yeah right. We all saw The Unforgiven, y'know?
1:39 - Eddie Murphy looking genuinely happy and suave in his midnight blue tuxedo. Delirious seems so long ago, doesn't it?
1:44 - Ryan Gosling trying to react to the question "it seems important to you to talk about something of substance here, with most people talking about dresses, and jewelry... it's not about that for you, is it?" Really, it's not? I kid you not, that's what he was asked. Dignified, guys, way to bring the heavy.
1:49 - A Peter O'Toole sighting. "Old English" and "world-weary" doesn't age well, does it? And Martin Scorsese wisely deciding to harness those scary eyebrows behind a huge pair of glasses.
1:53 - Clive Owen is the uber-cool.
2:00 - if this animated montage is any indication, it's gonna be a loooong night. Random shot of Spike Lee. Can't tell if we're still in the animated montage, really.
2:04 - best editing so far: airhead reporter: "a wonderful time right now, with celebrities pouring out of fantastic limos..." cut to shot of Al Gore. Make that a Prius next year, a'right?
2:07 - Steve Carrell winning the evening so far as he deadpans: "Greg Kinnear has intense body odour. He does not work well with... the hot."
2:13 - Penelope Cruz being interviewed. Spanish translates really... funny, doesn't it? "Pedro [Almodovar] is big hero, I spent each day yearning for him". She might have said "learning" though.
2:15 - Aw, shucks, Cameron Diaz' all freshly botoxed up as well. Look at those poor cheeks. No. Motion. At. All. Next time, be sure to ask your surgeon if the tightness will be gone by the big night.
2:19 - More Ryan Gosling. Every clip from The Believer, we're reminded what a gutless mistake it was that he didn't get nominated for that role. Just the kind of performance it's impossible to run away from.
2:25 - Kate Winslet being asked "what it was like to shoot the sex scene". Um, dude, have you seen any of her films since Titanic? Not really a shrinking violet, is she? Anyhow, we're wrapping up here, and getting ready for actual awards.
No major catastrophes on the red carpet tonight, except of course Sally Kirkland, but let's chalk that one up to painkillers, ok?