2.10.2006

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.

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