Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mo'Nique: The Re Run

I wrote this. It all happened. Except the good parts, and most of the bad parts. The stuff about Leslie Easterbrook is all true!

There would be much fanfare with Mo'Nique's entrance. She's nominated for an Oscar, for God's sake, and with a little bit of a grudge, I admit she did a bang-up job in a part that should have been mine. It is during her entrance that I and my date, Leslie Easterbrook, make our way to our seats with minimal fanfare. Leslie stops to give an autograph to Steve Guttenberg, who strangely enough drove our limo, and there is a brief moment when I think the night will be a bust, as she and Kim Cattrall lock eyes. This part of our relationship is difficult, and I am unspeakably tired of running lines from Star Trek VI with Leslie. "It is the way of the world," I say, "and at least you beat out Bubba Smith for those Rob Zombie movies."

I would be dressed to the sixes, or maybe the sevens. This is because dressing me to the nines would be on par with sending men to Mars. It is something we can do in theory, but given the current state of the economy and our genius administration, the billions upon billions of dollars it would take wouldn't be deemed a priority. As it is, I am dressed only slightly better than a pile of dirty laundry. And when the men at the doors of the theater tell me that I am allowed to take neither the machete or the brass knucks in, I almost call off the thing right there. Still, I'll never get this opportunity again. I accidentally slice through my cumberbund and suspenders removing the machete from the sheath I'm hiding beneath the tails of the only key lime green tuxedo they had at Haystacks Calhoun's House of Horse Blankets and Clothes for the Colossally Big and Amazing Tall.

"Do you want to leave?" Leslie asks, as I'm frantically trying to engineer a method of holding my pants up. Having my pants fall down during the actual Academy Awards Ceremony would be the biggest social gaffe of my life, barring perhaps that minor incident when I confused Julia Roberts with Tim Conway in all those Dorf movies. It is why I no longer get to dine with Carol Burnett.

"No," I say, as I spy my momentary salvation.

"Distract them," I say to Leslie. "Action Code DD."

And Leslie pulls the front of her dress down and flashes them. This is not Action Code DD, but it works like a charm. I grab the velvet rope nearest to me, and remove it from its pedestal. I clip one end of the rope to the front of my pants, and loop the rope over my left shoulder, clipping the back of the rope to the back of my pants. I do a quick check, and realize that I am perhaps more comfortable now in this suit of clothing than I have been in any outfit in my entire life.

Until I lock eyes with Helen Mirren. We are wearing the exact same outfit, down to our Dharma Initiative t-shirts.

We are allowed to enter the theater, and I note that my machete has been placed next to a billy club and a beautifully crafted Katana. Since Judah Friedlander isn't here tonight, I'm sure that Mo'Nique has been adequately disarmed, as well.

The snack bar is closed for Oscar Night. If you learn nothing else from me today, it is that if you want Reese's Pieces to snack on during the actual ceremony, and you didn't bring any with you, you're shit out of luck. Leslie finds a can of vienna sausages, rifling through a coat she thinks is Peter Jackson's. We snack on those during the opening musical number, and through the jokes of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, none of which I find terribly funny because they're aimed at people who like Reese's Pieces and Vienna Sausages.

There are awards. I can't remember who wins what. Somewhere after the opening number, everything in my field of vision goes red. At first, I'm thinking that I've rubbed vienna sausage juice into my eyes, and the salt solution is irritating them. It is only after I borrow a handkerchief from Kathy Bates (is there any point in my life that the woman hasn't come through for me? Barring her complete and abject failure to kill James Caan? She's always been devoted, so I've let that one slide.)

We reach roughly the two hour mark of the night, and Steve Martin goes on some spiel about how, as a poor black child, he loved the movies of Richard Farnsworth, and I'm not sure how we segue into the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category, but we do. Sometimes, it is best not to ask questions.

It is at this point that Leslie gets up from her seat. Our eyes meet, recognizing that this may be the last time we see each other. There is nothing that words can say. She honks my nose. I do a minature version of the Truffle Shuffle. She nods, and the scroll of destiny begins to unroll, as she moves toward the back of the theater. She announces, "I am famished. I want a Baconator, and I have to leave."

"Save me a seat!" I say.

As I return to my seat, I catch one person's eye. Louis Gossett, Jr. looks at me from his seat, eight rows in front of me, imploring. Imploring what, though? It's not like I'm some kind of mind reader. I give Louis the bird, wishing I did indeed have some manner of telepathy, so that I could tell him to fuck off and mind his own ever-loving business. Louis seems to get the message, though. He flips me a return bird, and turns around just in time. He is sitting right behind Vera Farmiga, and the cameras have just panned to her, as she has likewise been nominated. I did not see Up in the Air, nor will I ever. My grudge against George Clooney and indeed all the cast members of The Facts of Life is as well documented as my issue with Mo'Nique.

Clancy Brown, in a decidedly odd choice to present the award, finishes naming off the nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. He opens the envelope by tearing it open with his teeth. "The winner is....Mo'Nique!"

There is clapping. I see a monitor flash to Mo'Nique, who is crying.

And I leap into action.

There is no formal name for the fighting style I use. I've had very little formal training. I have watched Professional Wrestling my entire life, and I watched the movie Best of the Best late last night, in hopes that the ghost of Chris Penn is with me, as I exact Vengeful Justice on Hollywood.

Roberto Benigni was very much my inspiration for the first step in my attack. I leap up, as Mo'Nique is stepping toward the stage, and I begin running across the backs of the seats, toward the stage.

I am sitting in row 23, which given my fandom of Ryne Sandberg, I'd taken as a good omen. However, by the time I reach row 11, I start to realize that most of Hollywood is made up of bastards who won't get the hell out of the way when you're trying to attack a Best Supporting Actress. I think Reese Witherspoon grabbed my foot somewhere around Row 10, and I think I tripped on Kevin Costner's ego somewhere around row 8. It is there that I fall, and find myself in the lap of Javier Bardem.

Now, I'm a badass, but I'm no fool. Javier Bardem is just not a motherfucker to be trifled with, and falling into his lap will do nothing to endear him to me. I should mention here that it was not my fall that upset him. However, in my flailings about to correct myself, I think I spilled the grape Slush Puppy he was drinking. Luckily, none ruined any designer dresses. Unfortunately, Javier really likes his slush puppies. He punches me in the neck.

I roll into the aisle, just toward the left of the stage.

Javier screaming "Pendejo" in the middle of Mo'Nique's acceptance speech is enough to silence the room. Heads turn. I stand up.

"Oh Hell No!" Mo'Nique says from the stage.

"You know why I'm here, lady!"

"Let's do this..."

Mo'Nique turns the Oscar statuette upside down, and leaps from the stage.

Surprise was my biggest ally, and that fucking Slush Puppy was my undoing. Looking to counteract the Oscary bludgeon, I take off my right shoe. I'm glad I decided to go with the slip-on dress shoes instead of the velcro strap sandals I'd wanted to wear.

Mo'Nique lands, and takes two wild swings with her trophy.

I'm quick, for my size, and I dodge those two swings, and clock the "comedienne" across the bridge of her nose.

"You son of a bitch," she says blinking a tear from her eye. "You ruined my makeup..."

She then bashes the Oscar across the back of the seat of Morgan Freeman. The base of the statuette breaks off, leaving in her hand a sharpened tool of my demise.

I take the velvet rope I'd taken from the front of the theater off my pants, and start swinging it over my head.

"What the fuck?" she says, ridiculing my makeshift weapon."

And the brass buckle of the rope catches her in the temple as I swing at her head.

Surprise washes across her face. I've gotten two licks in, but done no real damage. In fact, even as I know this is my worst enemy, I know the damage she's capable of, and that I've succeeded only in pissing her off three times over, if you count my interrupting her speech.

She regains her senses, and turns the point of her Oscar shiv to the base of her hand. I've begun swinging the rope again. I launch it at her, hoping the heavy brass end on the rope will catch her between the eyes. She catches it deftly, and in what is frankly an amazing feat of strength, uses herself as a fulcrum. The strength and sudden nature of the attack catch my by surprise. I find myself flying through the air, over the head of the Mo'Nique and the audience.

I land on the stage steps, on my back. The wind rushes from my lungs, and I find myself staring into the smiling face of Jack Nicholson. "I loved Witches of Eastwick" I mutter, as a large form comes into focus, upside-down in my field of vision. Mo'Nique has launched herself through the air, Oscar Statuette dagger-point down, at my chest.

I don't know how I roll out of the way, accept that the fires of vengeance run strong in my family. But rolling out of the way is all the energy I have in that moment. I know that I'm mostly likely living the last moments of my life, sliding down into the aisle, gasping for breath that will not fill my lungs for all my trying.

I have silently said a prayer to Dusty Rhodes, thanking him for the opportunity, when something launches itself out of the crowd. I think it is Leslie, perhaps abandoning her plans for a Frosty, to save me. But now, it is Sean Penn!

Goaded only by the spirit of his dead brother, he jumps out of the crowd, and slams Mo'Nique's head into the steps. "Drop her like a toilet seat," he says, and wanders off, looking for a peace that he will never find until he realizes that his strongest and most true performance was Jeff Spicoli.

After a few tense moments, I finally draw a deep breath. Mo'Nique regains her senses at right about the same time. We stand up, and trade several haymaker punches. I gain the upper hand, briefly, when I block one of her punches, and poke her in the eye.

My dominance is short, as I choose to headbutt the Best Supporting Actress.

In a word, it was a mistake.

Mo'Nique always carries a frying pan.

If you learn nothing else, short of the fact that they don't sell snacks at the Academy Awards, is that Mo'Nique always carries a cast iron frying pan.

And that's how this particular encounter ends. I headbutt the frying pan, instead of of Mo'Nique. I stagger in surprise, and come enough to my senses to see Mo'Nique wind up, and clock me upside my head. I am semi-conscious as I am dragged out of the Academy Awards. Mo'Nique didn't kill me, but my efforts were for naught.

I spend the night in Los Angeles County jail. Leslie bails me out the next morning. She and Bubba Smith met up, and after his shift at Wendy's, they tore Pasadena to shreds, she tells me.

At least she had a good night....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big Stupid Tommy's Oscar Picks

An actual post? Bullshit.

I've been on vacation this past week. Just took it easy. Did my writing in the mornings, and wandered out during the days. We got some tremendous weather for the last week of February, and I took the opportunity to go wandering up in the mountains a couple days, and out to a couple movies.

Just thinking about tomorrow's Academy Awards. Despite the busy schedule, I was lucky enough to see quite a few movies this year, and have my own frame of reference for a goodly number of the flicks in questions....

Just a few thoughts on the Oscars....who I think will win, followed by who I think should win...

Best Picture

The Nominees: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids are All Right, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter's Bone

I have seen 9 of the 10 nominees, believe it or not. I haven't gotten around to seeing 127 Hours, yet, though I want to.

Shoulda Been Nominated: The Town. Let Me In (Best horror movie in a long time, more effective in that regard than its basis, Let the Right One In). Let Me in is my second favorite movie of the year.

Who Will Win: If it's a race between King's Speech and Social Network, as everyone seems to say it is, then King's Speech will win. I don't consider it the superior of the fact, outside of Colin Firth's performance (which oddly reminded me of Jeff Bridges in Star Man, believe it or not), it just didn't do a whole lot for me--and that's with everybody rushing to have Geoffrey's Rush's babies. I think it'll win though, especially over Social Network (which I enjoyed, though it's not one I'll be watching over and over again, even with the Touch of Sorkin). It just seems more the type of flick that gets votes when it comes to Oscar Night.

Who Should Win: It's a good list of nominees. Inception is strong, and was better on a second viewing. I could go on and on about True Grit, which is making a habit for the Coens for introducing me to authors I really like (first McCarthy, and now Portis). But I'm evangelical when it comes to Winter's Bone: It's just a tremendous flick, from top to bottom. Grotesque without it being the whole intent to shock. Southern without The Setting in The South being the primary focus. And an improvement on the book, which was very good, but lacked a lot of the atmosphere that the movie had. Great performances from Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes, who's slithered his way onto my list of favorite actors...

Best Actor

The Nominees: Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (Social Network), Colin Firth (The King's Speech), James Franco (127 Hours)

I haven't seen Biutiful or 127 Hours.

Shoulda Been Nominated: Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In). I liked him better than I did Eisenberg in anything I've ever seen Eisenberg in, ever. And you know, Buried snuck in under my radar, and I actually dug Ryan Reynolds in it. That deserves some props, for making me actually say that statement out for the public to see.

Who Will Win: Colin Firth. He is tremendous in the movie, I cannot deny that. At the end of the day, it's his ballgame, and he runs with it.

Who Should Win: Probably Firth. As much as I enjoyed Jeff Bridges grunting his way through True Grit (and I did enjoy it--if anybody could better personify the line "Men will live like Billy Goats..." I'd like to see them try), Firth probably gives the stronger performance between the two.

Best Actress

The Nominees: Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

I haven't seen Rabbit Hole or Blue Valentine.

Shoulda Been Nominated: Haylee Steinfeld should be in this category. I get the whole bit where she'll be more competitive in the Supporting Actress category...but it's her flick. She'd rule this one. Also: Chloe Moretz, in Let Me In.

Who Will Win: Natalie Portman.

Who Should Win: I'd have no qualms if Natalie Portman wins. I'd probably even celebrate--horror's like comedy. It gets no respect (hence the absence of Let Me In among the Best Picture nominees--it falls in right behind Winter's Bone among my favorite movies of last year, though I digress...). And like it or not, Black Swan is a highly-styled, pretty effective effort in psychological horror. And Natalie Portman carries it, in that respect.

That said, I'll be rooting for Jennifer Lawrence, who carries her own effort, in a movie pretty horrific in its own right.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right), Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Wow. I've actually seen all those movies. And, it's as good a place as any to say that The Town is a Hell of a Flick, and as much as any movie that came out this year, it has the quality where, in 2017, if I'm flipping through my television channels (or whatever equivalent comes thundering down the road), and I run across The Town, I'll be as apt to stop to watch it, as anything that's come out this year. And Jeremy Renner, who manages to eat scene as effectively (and quietly) as Christian Bale does in The Fighter, by wallowing around.

Shoulda Been Nominated: You know, I'm gonna come out of left field. The Last Exorcism was an adequately creepy movie that holds the distinction for Coming off the Rails in More Spectacular Fashion than any movie I've ever seen. That ending is so different in tone to the rest of the flick, that it just screams "Studio Re-Write." But anyway, I think some love needs to go out to Caleb Landry Jones, who plays, well, a guy named Caleb, who's the brother of the girl being investigated for possession. He proves that creepy can come effectively in the form of an isolated, insular redneck teen as easily as it can The Devil.

Who Will Win: Geoffrey Rush. Which is a pity. He's a talented man, who's done great things. I just don't feel that his performance in the King's Speech is one of them.

Who Should Win: You know, I'm gonna go Christian Bale, though I hold his performance, John Hawkes's and Jeremy Renner's performance in equal regard. When they're on the screen, they each determine the flow of that scene. However, Christian as Dicky Eklund is just so much friggin' fun to watch. Plus...the scene when they're letting Dicky show his documentary in jail. The flood of emotions that run through him (not just on his face--there is emotional energy running through every part of Dicky Eklund, from his eyes to his feet to his finger tips) is awesome to watch.

I'd like to say this here...I liked The Fighter, very much. Christian Bale is tremendous, as is Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams gives the best performance of her career since Junebug. But damn. Mark Wahlberg is as bad as I've seen him. He put up the worst performance of his career in M. Night's The Happening, and he stomped his way through The Other Guys, essentially parodying himself (I think). He mumbles his way through, with brief bursts of shrill screaming. To be fair, my impression of Micky Ward was always a mumbling goof. So, maybe he hit the nail on the head. Still, I kept watching the movie, and wishing that instead of Wahlberg, there was somebody like a Matt Damon, or even a Jeremy Renner in that role.

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Haylee Steinfeld (True Grit), Jackie Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

I have not seen Animal Kingdom.

Shoulda Been Nominated: Julianne Moore, in The Kids are All Right. If Ruffalo's nominated, so should she. Also: Dale Dickey, who's as menacing as they come in Winter's, it took me 3/4 of that movie to realize that I'd previously seen her as the hooker in My Name is Earl and in Breaking Bad. Also: Mila Kunis, from Black Swan.

Actually....I understand the craziness of the nominating process, but Steinfeld belongs in the Lead Actress category. I'd have picked her performance in Grit over Portman....

Who Will Win: I'm gonna shy off of my King's Speech Defeatism, and say that Haylee Steinfeld, who held her own against three great actors, and one who might be good, but who might have simply hit the role of a lifetime with No Country for Old Men. (Somewhere, Barry Pepper is reading my blogamathing, and wiping his brow, and saying "Thank you" to the sky...). Actually, she doesn't just hold her own. She determines the direction of every scene, which is something a product of how the story itself is told, but never once during that movie did I say "eh..."

Who Should Win: Steinfeld. Period. Adams and Leo were both great. I haven't seen Animal Kingdom. I liked Helena Bonham Carter's performance, but I don't even consider it one of the 10 best of 2010, let alone the top 5. (If Steinfeld doesn't win, she will....)

Best Director

The Nominees: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), The Coens (True Grit), David Fincher (Social Network), Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), David O. Russell (The Fighter)

I have seen all of these!!!1!!!

Shoulda Been Nominated: Debra Granik, for Winter's Bone, and by all means, Christopher Nolan for Inception.

Who Will Win: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech

Who Should Win: Among these? It's a coin flip between Aronofsky and The Coens. I'd vote Granik over each of those, and would put Chris Nolan on par with them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Road Runner 3D: Coyote Falls

I am blogging a cartoon. It is a cartoon I enjoyed. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


34 years ago, today, my mother, in the midst of a laughing fit brought on by an episode of Maude, spasmed one particularly hardy guffaw at the wry and dry comic stylings of one Bea Arthur, and I popped into the world! It was 4:30, and a Sunday.

This is testament to the power of Bea Arthur and the writings of Maude.

My mother had been laughing since the airing of the previous episode, many, many days before.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life Sing-Along

Yeah. I been busy. Botard. Blah Blah Blah....