Oscar pools add to fun during awards show

I have to admit I was expecting a more entertaining Oscars show with Seth McFarlane handling the hosting duties. He did fine despite what the haters on Twitter said, but it’s still The Oscars, and much of the show can still be very boring. I switched over to watch “The Walking Dead” and the Showtime Sunday shows instead.

But, with the popularity of Oscar pools and betting on the winners, plenty of people were still glued to the screen waiting for the announcements. That’s not surprising, as the huge popularity of football has a lot to do with our desire to bet on sports and the exploding popularity of fantasy football.

There were plenty of surprises on Oscar night to keep everyone excited. Things got started with Christoph Waltz winning for Best Supporting Actor for Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.” He definitely was not the favorite, with Nate Silver and others having him as the third most likely winner in the category with Tommy Lee Jones as the favorite. So right off the bat, many had a miss in their Oscar pool, while a few had a huge early win to start the evening.

Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence were favorites, so that had to reassure those who were less adventurous in their picks, but the Best Director and Best Picture results definitely had to blow up most pools. Ang Lee was a big surprise. As for “Argo,” it did pick up steam with people like Silver picking it to win, and the snub of Ben Affleck by the Academy may have even helped its cause. “Lincoln” was an excellent film, but I didn’t leave the theater thinking it was a lock for Best Picture. Daniel Day-Lewis was probably the biggest lock of the night, as his portrayal of Lincoln was inspiring.

So next year I think I’m finally going to enter a pool so it’s a little easier to sit through some of the contrived dance numbers and lame jokes.

  

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Top 5 Unofficlal awards on Oscar night

Laugh, Meryl Streep. Laugh!

When all the dust had cleared, all that was left were fake smiles of the losers and P.R. people promoting why you should see nominated films yet again. Nevertheless, there were awards that should’ve been handed out for only the best of reasons.

1. Best actress in a bout with gravity – Jennifer Lawrence. She could beat out a dozen teens trying to kill her for food in the “Hunger Games,” but she couldn’t walk in a dress without eating Oscar stairs. She got the last laugh taking home Best Actress for “Silver Linings Playbook,” but I guess being hot and coordinated was too much to ask.

2. Best Actress who left her headlights on – Anne Hathaway. Anne made an impression that only Mr. Skin could truly love. The only thing perkier than her upper chest region was the 9 year-old in the audience who probably asked her parents “Was she good enough to be the main actress likes me?

3. Best Host who was damned no matter what – Seth MacFarlane. Word is the senior members in the audience thought he was crude and unfunny. Of course, he got to be clowned by the 81 year-old William Shatner and made out with 66 year-old Sally Field. You’d think he’d get free AARP membership just for that alone. Check out the reaction shots from his “We saw your boobs” song and you’ll see why he needed an escort to his car.

4. Actor who will be referred to as “Mr. Meryl Streep” – Daniel Day Lewis. Winning an Oscar is great. Winning twice is exceptional, but winning three is just showing off. The uber-method actor is the Phil Jackson of acting right now. He’s one superhero role away from making people hating him for just being that good.

5. And the Who can get fired on Oscar night goes to…. – The Onion employee who tweeted a highly offensive comment about Quvenzhane Wallis. Quvenzhane is 9, cute and was nominated for Best Actress. The twittersphere unleashed their fury at the Onion and they rightfully suspended/reprimanded the employee in question. He or she is anonymous now, but people are already calling for their identity to get an additional pound of flesh (with dipping sauce and a biscuit).

God bless you, Hollywood.

  

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Oscars 2013, Your Time is Here

This year was, quite indeed, a great year for the movies. More times than not, I sat on the edge of my theatre seat in great anticipation for what was about to unfold in front of my very easily distracted eyes.  This even includes a twice interrupted viewing of Zero Dark Thirty, of which the projector froze twice. So what am I hoping for with the impending arrival of the 85th Academy Awards Ceremony? Well, mostly I’m hoping that Seth McFarlane keeps his jokes offensive and the crowd roaring, Jennifer Lawrence wears something  other than a dress that looks as though the bust could double as a BB gun, and that Daniel Day Lewis let’s somebody else win for once. Really dude.

Aside from those small requests, I’m hopeful and content with any and all contenders the academy sees fit for the naked gold man, whom I assume is called Oscar. Except, I’d also really prefer if it didn’t go to Hugh Jackman either, as it is he just irks me.

Where am I going with this, you ask? I just want to point out, again, that it has been an awesome year at the movies. Aside from Taken 3. That is. Because I don’t like to drink or socialize on the regular, movie watching is pretty much my part time job, and this year, they really put me to work. For starters, I never anticipated a quasi-romantic comedy starring Bradley Cooper to completely overwhelm me to the point where I was at a loss to describe what made the movie so, well, moving. Also, after being dragged to the theatres, quite reluctantly, to watch what was, according to me, a boring historical movie about the capture of a now evil dead guy, it was I who could not shut up about Zero Dark Thirty, or Jessica Chastain’s performance, for weeks. Skyfall, might just have been the best recent Bond movie of yet, and then of course, there was the brilliance of, Argo fuck  yourself.

So, Mr. Oscar, whatever you have in store tomorrow for us I’m sure will be alright with me, as it should be the rest of the world. However, Hollywood 2013, you have a lot to live up to.

And I’ll be watching you.

 

  

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Box Office Recap: Ted on Top, Numbers Surge Across the Board

Things are looking bright in Hollywood, and not just because of pre-holiday fireworks displays. Seth McFarlane’s “Ted” is sitting pretty on the top of the charts after grossing $54.1 million, which makes it the biggest weekend ever for an R-rated original comedy (it beat out “The Hangover’s” $44.98 million debut) as well as the eighth best R-rated debut ever. The film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and McFarlane himself, is the “Family Guy” creator’s first foray into feature films (how ’bout that for for alliteration?), and its success has many wondering why it took studios so long to give McFarlane a chance at the helm of a Hollywood project.

But “Ted” wasn’t the only triumph at the box office, as numbers surged across the board. The weekend’s top 12 films raked in a combined total of approximately $197 million, the highest weekend total ever in the month of June.

So how do we account for all this success? Well, two other new releases, Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper dramedy “Magic Mike” and Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Witness Protection” had some relatively massive openings of their own, exceeding expectations and coming in second and fourth place with $39 million and $25 million, respectively.

It shouldn’t be discounted that a good portion of the summer’s blockbusters have targeted younger audiences. Just look this weekend’s third and fifth place finishers, “Brave” and “Madagascar 3,” each debuted at number one. But after animated films have ruled the box office for three straight weeks, the simultaneously successful releases of the R-rated “Ted” and “Magic Mike” serve as a good reminder that adults go to the movies too, and not just to sit in the AC and keep the damn kids quiet for 90 minutes.

I’m pleased to say “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” endured a larger than usual 63 percent slide this weekend, falling to sixth place and grossing just $6 million. The film’s now grossed a cumulative total of $29 million, and likely won’t make it past the $40 million mark, well below its budget of $69 million. Hopefully, studios will learn to leave our great historical figures alone from now on, unless Daniel Day-Lewis is playing them (“Lincoln” is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2012), or at the very least to leave vampires out of the picture.

Meanwhile, Wes Anderson’sMoonrise Kingdom” came back into view after falling out of the top ten last weekend. The film finally saw a nationwide release, adding another 459 theaters, giving it a total of 854, and came in seventh place with just under $5 million.

The weekend’s soft release was “People Like Us,” a drama starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks. Early estimates had the film in tenth place, but more recent reports show it falling into eleventh. “The Avengers” took its place, moving up to round out the top ten. It’s likely to be the last time we’ll see those particular superheros there, but comic book fans need not fear. Peter Parker’s being rebooted, “The Amazing Spider-Man” comes out on July 3.

Here are the results for this weekend’s top 10 at the box office:

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. Ted, 1/3,239, Universal, $54.1 million.
2. Magic Mike, 1/2,930, Warner Bros., $39.155 million.
3. Brave, 2/4,164, Buena Vista, $34.011 million, $131.685 million.
4. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, 1/2,161, $26.35 million.
5. Madagascar 3, 4/3,715, Paramount/Dreamworks, $11.815 million, $180.012 million.
6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, 2/3,109, $6 million, $29.034 million.
7. Moonrise Kingdom, 6/854, Focus, $4.926 million, $18.406 million.
8. Prometheus, 4/1,951, Fox, $4.921 million, $118.262 million.
9. Snow White and the Huntsman, 5/2,337, Universal, $4.498 million, $145.591 million.
10. The Avengers, 9/1,757, Disney/Marvel Studios, $4.421 million, $606.505 million.

  

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It’s a brand new week and never too early for movie news!

* Sofia Coppola’s latest, “Somewhere,” won the highly prized Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. The problem, if there is one, is that she is a current friend and former flame of Jury President Quentin Tarantino. I have to admit that I had forgotten they’d ever been a “thing,” but many do remember and there’s been some grumbling to the effect that the movie isn’t all that “fucking great.” It ain’t the crime of the century, but I guess Tarantino should have recused himself. Speaking for myself only, I find that I tend to be either more harsh or more enthusiastic about friends’ work.  As for Monte Hellman, Tarantino’s hardly alone in praising the maverick writer and director.

* Someone took Stanley Kubrick’s ultimate trip with way too much chemical enhancement over the weekend at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. I have a story about that I’ll tell you sometime. In the meantime, protective measures may be in order.

2001-a-space-odyssey-ape

* So, if Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Robert DeNiro are going to be in a film by Martin Scorsese, naturally it’s called “The Irishman.” Daniel Day Lewis, Brendan Gleeson, and Pierce Brosnan need to make a film called “The Italian” with Neil Jordan directing.

* Good. L.A. needs all the love letters, cinematic and otherwise, it can get. Naturally, all the lead actors are from foreign lands (Christopher Plummer is Canadian, but he feels like he’s from actual overseas), though I’m not sure about the characters. One of the things I loved about “A Single Man” was the way it depicted the European’s love affair with a town that U.S. natives mostly don’t seem to get.

* Woody Allen has stepped in to a long-running rumor-created fracas. France’s acting first lady, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, apparently did just fine in “Midnight in Paris.”

Mickey Rourke scares small children * Mickey Rourke’s latest gig appears to be playing notorious mob killer Richard “the Ice Man” Kuklinski. I think this is a close to making a true family film as Rourke may ever get, next to “Iron Man 2.” The man’s face doesn’t only scare small children, it scares me.

  

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