BULLY Update

Happy Saturday, b-rollers! A few updates on Bully, per my earlier post on the topic.

First of all, the film opened yesterday in New York and Los Angeles – unrated. After failing to resolve the dispute with the MPAA, the Weinstein Company decided to release the film without a rating, though according to company reps, talks are ongoing.

Despite the lack of a rating, several cinemas are planning to show the film – but are treating it as if it were rated R, so no one under 17 can get in without an adult present. AMC Theatres are taking a more lenient stance, allowing children and teenagers to see the film with signed permission slips. (Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that the Weinstein Company may cave after all and re-cut the film for a PG-13; the rating would require the excision of the offending language, so the PG-13 Bully would not be just a bleeped version but a different cut entirely.)

The film will be expanding in the coming weeks, but it’s likely headed only to big, urban theaters (on April 13th, the film expands to Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Philly and Minneapolis, but no other cities are posted yet). However, there is a “Bring Bully to your city!” campaign on the website where you can petition for the film to appear in your area.

Thanks to the MPAA controversy, the film has received a groundswell of support from celebrities (many of them, ahem, affiliated with the Weinstein Company). The cynical among us may say that the MPAA’s decision was the best thing that could have happened to Bully, since it’s created a firestorm of publicity that a small, indie documentary could never have hoped to gain on its own. Either way, it will still certainly get its ass kicked at the box office by The Hunger Games, a post-apocalyptic tale of teenagers killing each other for sport…that is rated PG-13.

What a wonderful world.



THE VOICE Recap: Cease Fire

At long last, it’s the last week of battle rounds! Welcome, welcome, b-rollers.

Before we jump in, a quick note: I think we may have found The Voice‘s achilles heel. There are only three phases, all of them endless, and in two of them, we have to stare at Christina’s head-scratching (literally) fashion choices for weeks on end. That hat plate was delightfully eccentric in week one, and now I’m ready to heave it like a discus out of my field of sight. Anyone else? Even Carson Daly’s voiceover sounds utterly delighted about moving on to the live shows next week.

Our first battle tonight will feature Cee Lo’s team: Boston mechanic James Massone will take on Wade (this “no last name” trend must be stopped, particularly for those with names as common as “Wade”) to the tune of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” Because who loves the ’80s? CEE LO LOVES THE ’80s.


Talk Amongst Yourselves

Remember that long-promised Oscar post, about which films deserved to win the Best Picture prize and which were snubbed? Well, I have been researching the crap out of it, b-rollers. For you. And I have come to the following four conclusions:

  1. Opinions about movies are subjective and intensely personal. Remember this old chestnut of logic and emotional maturity? It’s worth revisiting. Different people like different movies to a different degree, and at times, you will say, “Wait, THAT won? Really?!” Yes, really. We’re allowed to disagree.
  2. Speaking of, there have always been “egregious” oversights. DEAL WITH IT.
    To those who hollered “For SHAME!” over The Social Network‘s loss to The King’s Speech or The Artist’s win over The Descendents (et al): This has always happened. You know what else lost? Apocalypse Now to Kramer vs. Kramer. E.T. to freaking Ghandi. Know what wasn’t even nominated? Singin’ in the Rain, The Seven Samurai and Some Like It Hot. Know what WAS nominated? Babe, Four Weddings and a Funeral (which I like, for the record, but honestly?), and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the Universe. Of the Top 20 films on IMDb’s Top 250 (as rated by users), a third were Best Picture winners (6), a third were nominated but didn’t win (7), and a third weren’t even nominated (7). The good ones will thrive anyway. This is not a national tragedy.
  3. That reminds me: if you want a Best Picture nomination, make a tragic film; if you can’t, make an epic film. If you can make an epic laced with tragedy, book a limo and tux. Did you ever see that episode of Extras when Kate Winslet made a Holocaust film because that was the one sure way to win an Oscar? Them’s the facts.
  4. In a related story, it’s not (just) that Oscar voters lack a sense of humor. More than anything, they lack a sense of adventure. Sure, there’s an astounding lack of recognition of comedic films and performances; that’s well-documented. But it’s amazing to see all of the innovative (and sometimes, admittedly bizarre) work that was passed over in favor of traditional, Oscar-bait dramas. In 2000, neither The Matrix nor Fight Club was nominated for Best Picture – but thank God The Cider House Rules locked down a spot.

So, now that we’re primed with some examples, let’s dive in! I’ve based these on years that I feel comfortable judging, having seen most or all of the nominated films; as always, these opinions are mine and mine alone. Feel free to disagree, and I thoroughly look forward to hearing your reactions, b-rollers. Onward! (more…)

THE VOICE Recap: Get Excited

Hello, b-rollers! Welcome to week 17 of the battle rounds, or as Carson Daly calls it, “the most exciting phase of The Voice!” Don’t we still have one more phase after this? Apparently the live shows will be a letdown. Also, good news, folks: for those of you who are just dying for a peek at another of the eight Snow White movies this year, The Voice will premiere the Snow White and the Huntsman trailer later in the show. This is helpfully reinforced with a graphic superimposed over two-thirds of the screen at several points during the show, which is not-at-all distracting. Let’s begin!

First up is Adam’s team, and we will finally, finally get to watch our suspendered-friend Pip, who will be singing Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” against a Bieber-bowl-cutted young man named Nathan, and I think I speak for everyone when I say (aloud), “Who the hell is Nathan?” Turns out, Nathan (Parrett) – who, incidentally, dresses like he’s co-starring with Pip in Our Town – is a former competitive swimmer who was disowned by his father after coming out of the closet, and I can’t BELIEVE the producers held that story back until now. (more…)

Well, this was unexpected…

Happy Friday, b-rollers! Just a quick note because OH MY GOD, A NEW JOHNNY DEPP AND TIM BURTON MOVIE.

Sorry, I get a little excited by these things. I adore most of their creepily fantastic collaborations, such as Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow and Ed Wood. I was even one of the apologists who liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; that movie was subtly awesome, and I will not hear otherwise.

Now, I shouldn’t have been surprised that their next film, Dark Shadows, would be filled with odd, sly humor. That’s kind of their thing. But I was not expecting a peppy laughriot, a kind of man-out-of-time, Austin Powers-meets-Twilight, with a vampire that is intentionally funny.

That’s not a bad thing; I’ll definitely go see this. But just like I’m ready to see Liam Neeson play something other than a rampaging badass, I think it’s time for Johnny to play a normal(ish) human in a thriller, or a drama. (The Tourist doesn’t remotely count.) I guess I’ll have to keep waiting.

What say you, b-rollers? Will you see Dark Shadows?

COMMUNITY is back! And lots of other stuff

Happy Thursday, b-rollers! Just a quick note to let you know that Community returns tonight, and you really should watch it live (NBC, 8pm). Why, you ask? Well, this brilliant little show is hanging on by its fingernails, and frankly, I don’t want to live in a world in which the Kardashians have six shows and Community is cancelled due to low ratings. Also, the marvelous Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) not only has an Oscar, but an indelible moment in time. There is no reason for you not to watch, okay? Please don’t Britta this opportunity. (If that doesn’t make sense, read this article. AND WATCH.)

Now, for a look at some of the many things I plan to be blogging about in the days to come:

  • I have yet to see John Carter – my roommate and fellow Tim Riggins groupie was ill last weekend – but plan to do so soon. Look for thoughts next week. I am not usually a connoisseur of fantasy films, but I promise to attempt to offer a more thoughtful analysis than “oh my God, his abs.”
  • Longtime reader (and awesome baseball blogger) Verdun2 posed a great question: Which movies deserved the Oscar for Best Picture but were passed over? The list is long, of course, but everyone has favorites that were snubbed. I’ll put together some initial thoughts for this weekend – and from the get-go, I have a slew of ’em – but in the meantime, what are your favorite movies? I’m happy to do the research and find out how successful they were, Oscar-wise, and/or which films they lost to. Let’s make this interactive, b-rollers. Chime in.
  • Also, this brings me to a big project: My ranking of the films of 2011 (caveat: that I saw). A couple of years ago, I did a list of the 20 best films of the year, split into three parts; this year, I think I may go ahead and rank all of the films (and be pithier in my descriptions, so that it’s not the length of the King James). The awful films deserve their day in the spotlight too, methinks.

I shall get right to work, b-rollers. What else would you like to see? And who else is excited to go back to Greendale tonight?

THE VOICE Recap: Way More Drama

Welcome to week two of the battle rounds, everyone! Taking my lead from Cee Lo, I am dressed for the occasion in my pajamas. In my defense, though, I’m not wearing them while publicly mentoring people in the presence of Babyface. It’s an important distinction.

Before we dive into the battles, we get a quick recap of last week, in which the Anthony/Jesse showdown is heavily featured; shockingly, the RaeLynn/Adley duet, not so much. Then we see some of the other contestants preview tonight’s battles, including Charlotte Sometimes (still figuring that’s a stage name, yes?) saying of her unnamed sparring partner, “I wanna DESTROY her!” That’s the spirit.

For our first matchup, we head to Christina’s brothel living room. Stevie Wonder-ish Geoff McBride will take on Mary J. Blige-ish Sera Hill to the tune of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools,” which Sera humbly notes will “showcase all my elements.” (Carbon? Potassium?) Meanwhile, 51-year-old Geoff is happy to take on a song he grew up with, and I’m glad for the reference; many youngins will know this as a song that contestants routinely butcher on Idol (Fantasia’s epic version notwithstanding), and frankly, nothing irks me more than to see a teenager blithely attribute “Feelin’ Good” to Michael Buble or “To Make You Feel My Love” to Adele. It’s nice to celebrate a song in the proper context. (more…)