Crash? Seriously?

I was in shock. I thought there was no way it would win. Out of the five nominees for Best Picture, Crash was my least favorite. Oh well. I guess I have to accept it.

I did get 16 out of my 20 predictions correct, though. Let's break down the ones I got wrong...

Best Original Song

My pick was Dolly Parton's "Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica, but the winner was "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow. As I said before, I didn't like any of these songs, but there's no way that "Pimp" was the best song from a motion picture this year. I dig rap, and this was not a good rap song. Pissed, I am.

Best Makeup

I thought Revenge of the Sith would pick this one up, but Narnia got it instead. I guess I'm okay with that. They had as tough a task in creating an entire world of creatures. I would have been pissed if Cinderella Man had won.

Best Cinematography

I'll say this for Memoirs of a Geisha: it's pretty. I may not have cared for the acting, or the script, or the lack of focus, but it's a pretty, pretty film. I don't think it was better shot than Brokeback or New World, but I can accept it winning this one.

Best Picture

What can I say? I had an 80% accuracy rate on the night, and I still feel like I failed, since I predicted Brokeback to win. Pretty much everyone else in the world did too, so I don't feel that bad.

Here's to Oscars 2007, when hopefully we'll see The Departed, The Fountain, The Da Vinci Code, The Good German and The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford compete in the battle of the "The" titles.


All I could think of was you, Maxx. In case you missed it..

Plus, is nothing sacred?


Oscar Pick Generator v. 2.006

Alright folks, strap yourselves in for the most accurate analysis of the Oscars you'll find in the entire world. Okay, it's really not that good. I was 60% right on last years picks, but most of the ones I screwed up were the smaller technical awards. I did get 7 of the top 8 categories correct, with Cate Blanchett's win for The Aviator catching me off guard. Click here if you want to see all of last year's picks.

This year, I've seen all the nominees in every major category. I will not include Live Action Short Film, Animated Short, Foreign Language Film, or Documentary Short. For Documentary Feature, I've seen 3 of the 5 nominees, so I'll take a guess on that one. I'll post my picks for who will win, and who should win, but if you're betting, go with the will win. Here we go.

Costume Design

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Memoirs of a Geisha should win and will win
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
Walk the Line

An easy one to start us off. Colleen Atwood's work on Memoirs was maybe the best part, and she will be rewarded as such. I did dig Charlie's costumes, but its too kiddie to win the big one.

Documentary Feature

Darwin's Nightmare
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
March of the Penguins will win
Murderball should win
Street Fight

A tough one to call, since I haven't seen the red ones. I think popularity will win out, and the Penguins will take it. Murderball affected me very deeply, and I feel it was one of the best movies of the year, I just don't think enough people saw it.


Batman Begins
Brokeback Mountain will win
Good Night, and Good Luck
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World should win

These are all beautifully shot films, and I would not be surprised if any of them won. The New World was maybe a little slow, and maybe a little revisionist, but the scenery and shot selection was spectacular. Brokeback, however, is going to be the big winner this year, as you'll see if you read on, so I think it'll pick up this one.

Film Editing

Cinderella Man
The Constant Gardener should win
Crash will win
Walk the Line

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about editing, and what makes a film an editing nominee. Crash will win, I think, as it has a flashy way of cutting between the interwoven storylines, and voters will remember that. My heart has to go with Gardener, though, just because I'm still bitter that City of God didn't win any Oscars, and Meirielles deserves something for being cool.

Sound Mixing

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe should win
King Kong will win
Memoirs of a Geisha
Walk the Line
War of the Worlds

Again, I just want Narnia to win something, so this is their best shot. I don't think the Academy has forgotten their love affair with Peter Jackson, though, so Kong will take home a couple technical awards, this being the first.

Sound Editing

King Kong should win and will win
Memoirs of a Geisha
War of the Worlds

Kong again. I really did believe what I was hearing during the film, even though nothing really existed, so it is a worthy champion.

Animated Feature

Howl's Moving Castle
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride should win
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit will win

This is the absolute hardest pick for me, since I loved all 3 of these films. Howl's is Miyazaki, whom I love, but it wasn't quite as good as previous winner Spirited Away. It's also lower profile. Corpse Bride is great, but Wallace & Gromit has broader appeal and more critical acclaim. It'll be close.

Original Song

"In The Deep," Crash
"It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp," Hustle & Flow
"Travelin' Thru," Transamerica should win and will win

Wow, I really don't care. I didn't particularly like any of these songs, so I'll guess Dolly Parton's "Travelin' Thru." I don't know why. I just want them to get Charlton Heston to be the presenter for this category, so I can hear him say "And the nominees are: "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," Hustle & Flow." Imagine that in Heston's voice. Or Walken's.

Original Score

Brokeback Mountain, Gustavo Santaolalla will win
The Constant Gardener, Alberto Iglesias
Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams should win
Munich, John Williams
Pride & Prejudice, Dario Marianelli

As simple as it is, Brokeback's score is instantly memorable, and haunting in an annoying sort of way. Geisha's music was much more interesting and complex, but voters have probably forgotten it by now. Besides, it's Brokeback.

Art Direction

Good Night, and Good Luck
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
King Kong should win
Memoirs of a Geisha will win
Pride & Prejudice

I'm terrible at picking this one, since The Aviator won last year, and I was taken by surprise. How is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory not nominated in this category? Anyway, barring an out-of-left-field shocker, this is a two horse race. I think Geisha will edge Kong, but by a nose.


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Cinderella Man
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith should win and will win

Another category where I wish Charlie was nominated, but oh well. Since its only nominated in this category, Sith will take this one. Even though I never really quite bought into disfigured Palpy or crispy Vader, it'll win.

Visual Effects

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
King Kong should win and will win
War of the Worlds

While I love Narnia, and War of the Worlds was the good ol' Spielberg magic, Kong will easily take this one. The whole movie would have seemed ridiculous if Kong himself was not a 100% believable entity, but WETA Digital pulled it off. Maybe one day the Academy will give Andy Serkis an honorary Oscar for being the forerunner of digital acting.

Adapted Screenplay

Brokeback Mountain, Larry McMurtry & Dianna Ossana should win and will win
Capote, Dan Futterman
The Constant Gardener, Jeffrey Caine
A History of Violence, Josh Olson
Munich, Tony Kushner and Eric Roth

Brokeback's dialogue is iconic, lines will be quoted from it for years to come. Now, that does not necessarily a good screenplay make, but out of these nominees, I feel it was the best. A History of Violence was one of my favorite movies of the year, but I'll admit that the screenplay wasn't Oscar worthy.

Original Screenplay

Crash, Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco will win
Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney & Grant Heslov
Match Point, Woody Allen
The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach should win
Syriana, Stephen Gaghan

I loved Squid, but I know it won't win. It's too quirky, and after Eternal Sunshine's win last year, the voters will move in a different direction. I don't think Crash is as good a film as most everyone else does. It seemed to me like Haggis was trying too hard, attempting to be controversial, for controversy's sake, pushing buttons too hard. The voters will pick it, though, and overlook two superior scripts in Match Point and Squid.

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Junebug should win
Catherine Keener, Capote
Frances McDormand, North Country
Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener will win
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

Let's start by eliminating Keener and McDormand, as they have zero chance. Williams will get some of the Brokeback vote, but after her Golden Globe win, I believe Rachel Weisz has the inside track on this one. Plus, the Academy loves giving awards to pregant women, and she definitely qualifies. While I enjoyed her performance in Gardener, I would want to statue to go to Adams, who created an amazing character in Junebug. She brought so much energy and life into a role that could have easily been very grating in the wrong hands. Unfortunately, I just don't think enough voters will go for a relative unknown.

Supporting Actor

George Clooney, Syriana will win
Matt Dillon, Crash
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man should win
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt, A History of Violence

Every year, the same thing happens. I expect Paul Giamatti to win, and he never does. I don't expect this year to be any different, mainly due to the Academy's lukewarm reception to Cinderella Man, and the fact that he's Paul Giamatti. I loved Hurt in A History of Violence, but he wasn't on screen enough. Ditto Matt Dillon, who I saw as basically a cog in Crash's ensemble machine. That leaves us with Clooney and Gyllenhaal, and while Brokeback is the popular choice, I think George will get the nod, maybe as a consolation prize for Good Night, and Good Luck's zero wins.


George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
Paul Haggis, Crash
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain will win
Bennett Miller, Capote
Steven Spielberg, Munich should win

This one's tough for me. Ang Lee will win, but I'm not really sure who I want to win. In crazy Brent land, this list would look very different, with David Cronenberg, Woody Allen and Robert Rodriguez replacing Clooney, Haggis and Miller. But that's just me. I guess my vote goes to Spielberg, for making a very unique action-comedy-drama-revenge-thriller in Munich. Lee's direction of Brokeback obviously moved the film from indie curiousity to frontrunning blockbuster, but I didn't find myself emotionally involved in the story like I did with Munich.


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

Another category where we can elimate people right off the bat: Dench, Knightley and Theron will not win, period. Felicity Huffman's performance in Transamerica was so complex and point-perfect that I don't think I'll ever forget it. As an actress playing a man who is changing into a women, she basically does the acting equivalent of jumping the Snake River Canyon, and she lives to tell the tale. I do think she'll be passed over, though, by Witherspoon, and I guess I'm okay with that. I enjoyed Walk the Line immensely, and while both her and Joaquin Phoenix's performances were exceptional, I never quite forgot that they were actors, like I did with Jamie Foxx in Ray last year.


Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote should win and will win
Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Straithairn, Good Night, and Good Luck

Any other year, and Straitharn would be my pick. His portrayal of Edward R. Murrow was spot-on, and not just an imitation. Same for Phoenix and Howard, who both turned in great performances. This is again, though, a two-man race, and while it's not as assured as last year's Foxx win, I think Hoffman should start clearing a space on his mantle. Well deserved, too, for an actor that had kind of fallen through the cracks in Hollywood. I can't wait to see what he does in MI:3. Ledger is the other contender, and he was great, but not Oscar great. Hoffman was.

Best Picture

Brokeback Mountain will win
Capote should win
Good Night, and Good Luck

I've become accustomed to the fact that Brokeback is going to win. I accept that. The competition just isn't that strong. I picked Capote as my choice, just because that's the movie of these 5 that I enjoyed the most, but overall, it's still flawed. I'm not a rabid fan of any of these choices. If I could pick any movie, it would probably be A History of Violence or Jarhead. All that aside, I'll be very, very surprised if Brokeback doesn't win. I guess, though, as a barometer of film in 2005, it is a worthy winner. I don't think it was the end-all, be-all best movie ever, even if, as a nutty left-winger, I'm supposed to, but I didn't think Million Dollar Baby was all that great either (Mystic River was far superior.)

So that's it, those are my picks. If everything works the way I think it will, Brokeback will take home 5 Oscars, Kong will pick up 4, Memoirs of a Geisha and Crash will each win 2, and everything else will be scattered. Almost assuredly, though, I'm going to get some things wrong. Let just hope they're not things that make me want to throw a heavy object at my TV.

Happy watching!



A week ago today, I was somewhere in the middle of the Indiana, speeding towards Indianapolis and An Evening with Kevin Smith. We left from Milwaukee around 9:45 am, and I basically put the car on autopilot towards Chicago. We took 94 through the city, and my brilliant Yahoo! Maps directions told me to get off on Armitage, even though that really didn’t make sense. So I trusted my directions, instead of my instincts, and we ending up taking an unnecessary detour through downtown Chicago. No harm done, though, as we easily hopped back on the highway and headed towards Indiana. We stopped in Merrillville for lunch, and then drove until I was almost on E, about 25 miles outside of Indy.

Indianapolis reminded me of Milwaukee, kind of a mid-major as far as cities go. Their downtown is easily accessible, and we found the theater easily enough, despite my directions telling me to turn right onto a “local road.” They did not tell me what the name of this road was, but we guessed correctly. The Indianapolis Symphony is on the edge of Monument Square, where in the center sits an obelisk dedicated to Indiana veterans of all wars leading up to 1896 or so. We arrived in the city about 3 hours before the show, so we killed time by wandering a local mall. I was happy, since I got to have Chick-Fil-A. It sounds pathetic, I know, but I’ve wanted to eat there ever since it was mentioned in “Army”, so now I have. It was okay.

Around this time there was a whole lot of drama with Renee’s boyfriend and whatnot, but I tried to keep out of it. You can save the drama for your momma.

Kevin came on at 8 pm and told a great, long story about his previous experience with Indianapolis, then answered questions. Dave got in line right away, and he ended up waiting in line for 4 hours. Standing, in the middle of the aisle. There’s a picture of him on the View Askew website, click here. Kev went on for many hours, finally ending at around 2:30 am. His consistent topics throughout the night were the fact that his third grade teacher was in the audience, and his recent “health issues”. He also gave a lot of insight into the making of Clerks 2, as well as his future.

After the show, Dave took the first shift driving, and after I guided him out of the city and onto I-65, I dozed a little bit. Around 3:30 am, though, he pulled off into the world’s creepiest gas station, and asked me to drive, even though he had insisted that he would be fine to drive home, since he’s a night owl and all. After I gulped down 2 bottles of MDX, I drove the rest of the way, while everybody else just slept. It was ok, though, since I chose the music, and I knew where I was going. I made it from Indy to Gurnee without stopping for gas, and we ended up back in Milwaukee by 6 am. And I worked at 3 pm. Good times.

I took a bunch of pictures, even though the staff said no photography. Everyone was taking pictures, and Kevin didn’t mind, so eventually they gave up trying to get us to stop. I still wasn’t using my flash, though, so some of them came out blurry. To check out the good ones, though, click here.

The sad thing is, there’s another show, next Friday, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Drive-time-wise, it’d probably be a longer trip, but tickets are only 5 bucks. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to miss work again, much less with Dave, since there’s no one else to open the store. I’ll catch him at Wizard World, though, since Brian and I decided we’re going this year. I would love to be able to head out to Jersey for the Vulgarthon they’re doing in May, but I’ll be otherwise indisposed. On the beach. In Maui. Booyah.


It's time for the game that makes Wilbon cry in his pillow: Toss up!

So PTI co-host Tony Kornheiser is part of the new Monday Night Football announce team for next year’s switch to ESPN, along with Mike Tirico and Joe Theismann. Sounds good, sounds good. Maybe just replace Tirico with Michael Wilbon, and Theismann with Tony Reali, and we’ve got a pretty good lineup going here. Trim sideline reporters Michelle Tafoya and Suzy Kolber, and add ATH’s Woody Paige and Jay Mariotti, and you will guarantee that I will watch every single MNF game next year. I don’t care if it’s the Texans and 49ers, I’ll watch.

All joking aside, Dennis Miller’s brief stint on MNF was a failed experiment in bringing a “different” voice into the booth, and I hope TK is able to avoid being pigeonholed as “the funny guy”. He is very funny, but he’s probably the most qualified of those three to step into Howard Cosell’s shoes, as he knows football, but is able to spin it towards everyman.

PTI will also go on the road each Monday, to broadcast from the site of that night’s game. This could be great, but I doubt it’ll be necessary if you end up with a terrible game like the aforementioned matchup. How much in-depth analysis do we need of a game that’s sure to suck? For nights when the Patriots play the Colts, though, PTI will rule.

I’ll be watching MNF when it premieres on ESPN in September. The team could be terrible as a unit, and I’ll avoid them when possible, but I’m hoping they’ll blend together well, for the kids’ sake. After all, we do it for the kids.

Do you want the mustache on or off?

Too bad.

I’m writing this at work, since I’m opening on a Thursday, and we are very, very dead. I usually have Tuesdays and Thursdays off, but since I’ve starting work at Children’s, I’m trying to just take all Wednesdays off, so as not to complicate things. It’s kinda awkward to type while standing, but I’m not that big of a slacker where I’ll just sit in the office and type. Funny, eh?

In the last 48 hours I’ve seen 4 movies at the theater, all checked off my Oscar list. On Tuesday, I saw The Squid and the Whale at Mayfair, then Brokeback Mountain at the Rosebud, with Kelsey and Dave. Wednesday, Kelsey and I saw The New World at West Point, then picked up Jet and saw Capote, also at West Point. So now I’m down to 7 movies to see before the Oscars, and only one of those, Transamerica, is a theater trip.

Like I said, I will have my Oscar picks up and running once I’ve seen everything I can, but early impressions from these recent movies I’ve seen have good. Is Brokeback the end-all be-all movie of the year like all the critics seem to think? Not really. I agree with Maxx’s assessment that if the movie had been about a man and a woman in love, it would have been the most boring movie of the year. Not that I didn’t like it, because I did. I just have the same feeling about it I did about Million Dollar Baby last year: its okay, not spectacular, and it’ll probably win Best Picture. I understand what the Oscars are about, and if it were up to me, A History of Violence would be up for Best Picture and Best Director, and there would be a whole different discussion going on.

The Squid and the Whale and The New World both deserve their singular nominations, Squid for Original Screenplay and New World for Cinematography. Both at least have “a shot” at winning, but as of right now, I wouldn’t expect it. Squid featured great use of Pink Floyd, and is exactly what I expected from Noah Baumbach, the co-writer of The Life Aquatic. The only thing it was missing was the quirky direction of Wes Anderson, who produced instead. The New World was quite the antithesis of Squid, as a sprawling, methodical look at the story of Pocahontas. Director Terrance Malick enjoys letting his narrative unfold on its own, building atmosphere through deliberate use of landscapes and sound. That’s nice and all, but the movie could’ve been an hour shorter, and just as good. Colin Farrell actually impressed me here, as did most of the cast, but the real star is nature itself. The interpolation between the wild and untamed forests of early America and the stoic and sculptured gardens of England makes a statement about our culture as strong as any of the so-called “political” movies of this year’s field. The New World is deeply flawed, but still beautiful.

Capote was great, and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance was extraordinary. He not only provided a believable imitation of an actual person, as Jamie Foxx did in Ray, but he infused Capote with such an otherworldly quality that led me to question where he ended and Hoffman began. For one actor’s performance to strike the defining chord in a film can be both distracting and pretentious, but in this case, it’s genius. It is a great field for Best Actor this year, with Joaquin Phoenix, David Straitharn and Heath Ledger all turning in excellent performances, but I’ll be shocked if Hoffman doesn’t win. Shocked.

So I’m getting down to the nitty gritty. I’m supposed to go to Brian and Collette’s tonight for Wallace and Gromit and fondue. I watched that movie last week at the hospital, but it’ll be cool to see it again. I have never done the fondue thing, so that’ll be new.

In other news, there’s a Ben Folds show at The Rave on March 12th. I am there, although I don’t think Brian and Collette are going. The next night, Jenny Lewis is at the Pabst, and I already have my tickets for that show. Add in the Oscar party, and the D.U.M.B. show and my March is shaping up to be pretty busy. I’ll have to throw some vacation time in there to balance things out. Also, V for Vendetta on March 17th. That’s a first-nighter, no doubt.

I was sorta right about the Super Bowl, I guess. If each team had scored two more touchdowns, I would’ve had the score exactly right. Jerome Bettis wasn’t as big a factor as I expected, and Hines Ward won the MVP, but The Bus was still the story and the star. I had forgotten all about Matt Hasselbeck’s taunting of the Packers in the playoffs a few years back, but once I remembered, I rooted hard for the Steelers. Screw Hasselbeck. He doesn’t look like any of the characters from “The Office”.

Jim and I went to Children’s Hospital last week, and showed Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit to the few kids who wanted to watch with us. It’s really a tough thing to schedule, due to different meal times or doctor’s schedules. We’re going to try to get this event happening on a weekly basis, at a set time, so that all the kids know that Wednesday night is movie night, and they want to come hang out. I even suggested getting one of those Projector/DVD/Sound System All-in-one deals, like this, but that would require a lot of fundraising. Maybe if we get more people in the district interested, we could make it happen. Our next event is February 22nd, while Jim is in Vegas. So I’m in charge, and Tim is my assistant. That’ll be interesting, to say the least, especially since we’re supposed to be bringing pizza and all that. Stay tuned on that one.


must.. see... movies!

So I'll post my Oscar nominee analysis later on this week, but for now, here's the list of movies I still need to see before March 5th:

1. Brokeback Mountain
2. Capote
3. Crash (on video)
4. Transamerica
5. Junebug (on video)
6. Hustle & Flow (on video)
7. Mrs. Henderson Presents
8. Pride & Prejudice (on video 2/28)
9. The Squid and the Whale
10. The New World
11. Howl's Moving Castle (on video 3/7) (!!!)

So after I see these 11 flicks, I will have seen all the nominees, except for the foreign, documentary and short film categories. And you can look forward to my Oscar Picks Generator V. 2.0, coming soon.

The Big Game

So I'm prepping for Super Bowl XL tonight, and I thought I should toss my sure to wrong analysis and predictions out there, PTI style.

Final Score: Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Seattle Seahawks 24
MVP: Jerome Bettis (as if it would be anyone else)

I just think the Steelers are the more complete team, as I don't particularly trust Seattle's receiving corps, but a lot will depend on the health of Troy Polamalu. I don't think I'll be too surprised if Seattle wins, but I think Pittsburgh, with two TDs from Bettis, will pull it off.

The Steelers have the advantage of "Office" mojo, since Ben Roethlisberger is the football doppelganger of lovable everyman Jim, as evidenced in the above photo I stole from somethingawful.com.

A select few will be heading over to my place for the game, and I'll yet again be the only one interested in the actual game. That's okay, though. The commercials are good too. Especially since we'll be treated to trailers for Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest and Cars. Maybe even a new Superman Returns trailer. Tee hee.

So I'll be sure to check in with y'all on Monday, when I'll have to eat my words after the Seahawks win 432-3. Doh.


...and a liar to boot.

So I ended up having to close the store myself tonight, so my plan of parking myself in front of the laptop and updating to my heart's content was thrown out the window. Stupid Jet made stupid Dave drive to stupid Appleton with her to pick up Renee, so she can then ride with us down to Indianapolis tomorrow. Stupid.

So I'll post some stuff when I get back, maybe this weekend. K.Smith will definitely get my creative juices flowing.

BTW, the wolfen will come for you with his razor. Ignignot has foretold it.


I am a terrible person.

So I haven't been updating as much as I would like, even when specifically requested by the comments. I'm procrasting right now, writing this instead of performance reviews for work, so this doesn't even count. But after I go to the hospital tomorrow, I PROMISE I will post several updates to this here blog. I'm sure I have some good stories to post, and I'll have more after my magical mystery tour to Indianapolis on Thursday to see my man K.Smith.

I've been listening to a lot of new music recently, but I keep on drifting back towards Rilo Kiley and Jenny's new album. I bought tickets to her show at the Riverside on March 13, and it'll be the first non-Ben, non-Summerfest show I've been to in forever. You heard it here first: go pick up any of the following, and be a poseur indie hipster like me. -> clickity

Also, craigslist is awesome. Here's my diatribe against all the injustice in the world. -> clickaroo

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with more. Nighty night.