Category: Movies & TV

Reel Life Oscar Challenge: 2001

Michael, Lars, and Kathleen watch the Best Picture nominees of 2001 and discuss Russell Crowe’s hallucinations, Baz Luhrmann’s glitter fetish, the beauty of Middle-Earth, and William Mapother’s sweet bleached hair. The films discussed are:

-A Beautiful Mind (2:06)
-Gosford Park (17:02)
-In the Bedroom (26:59)
-The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (41:07)
-Moulin Rouge! (51:37)

Reel Life Oscar Challenge: 2000

Despite the best efforts of a pesky cat, Michael, Lars and Kathleen ring in the second season of the Reel Life Oscar Challenge by talking the Best Picture nominees of 2000. The films discussed are:

-Chocolat (2:27)
-Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (12:56)
-Erin Brockovich (22:57)
-Gladiator (30:43)
-Traffic (43:33)

The Postrider’s 2019 Oscars Preview

(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

They haven’t aired yet, but the 91st Academy Awards are already a huge mess. Last year’s ceremony pulled the smallest audience ever, prompting ABC to press the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make changes to the broadcast in order to attract more viewers, which, in turn, precipitated some of the worst ideas in the organization’s history. It all started with the Achievement in Popular Film award, which followed the logic that people would tune in if they knew a movie like Black Panther or Mission Impossible: Fallout was guaranteed a nomination for something. That proposal was skimpy on the details and, more importantly, hated by everyone from audience members to Academy voters, forcing AMPAS to “postpone” establishing the category until a later date. Then came the search for a host for the show, which started out bad enough when it became clear that nobody wanted the gig, and somehow got even worse when Kevin Hart, the man hired for the job, decided to step down from his duties rather than refuse to apologize for a string of homophobic tweets he wrote almost a decade ago. The tradition of having last year’s acting winners give out this years acting awards was eschewed to get bigger names on the stage, until it wasn’t. The plan to shorten the ceremony by adding a hard three hour time limit and relegate the presentation of the Cinematography, Editing, Hair and Makeup, and Live Action Short Awards to occur during commercial breaks was met with open revolt from the Academy ranks, and ultimately went the way of all of the other plans.

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The Last Airbender: 101 & 102

Avatar: The Last Airbender first aired 14 years ago today. It unites audiences and themes that reverberate across the spectrums of young and old, critic and skeptic, and jovial and serious. It blends a unique array of serious issues, including imperialism, war, feminism, justice, power, physical disability, and subjective morality with lighter themes that explore family, loneliness, honor, and personal redemption. Ostensibly a children’s show, it maintains cultural relevance today due to its cross-appeal and for the way it evolved and matured with its audience, eventually spawning  a sequel series, Legend of Korra, that dealt with more complicated questions of self and morality. Although Legend of Korra has been the subject of much acclaim itself, the original series has been heralded as a key program in demonstrating the breadth and diversity within the greater Golden Age of Television and as one of the “greatest shows of all time.

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2019 Grammys Preview: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Will Cardi B break hip hop’s long loosing streak at the Grammys? (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

As is the case with most live televised events these days, last year’s Grammys were met with a combination of disappointment and outrage. The disappointment came from the generally underwhelming nature of the night, which featured too many performances by artists no one really cared about (let’s just agree to never talk about that Sting and Shaggy collaboration ever again), and the outrage came from the reasons why certain artists didn’t perform, and who ended up winning the awards themselves. Bruno Mars swept Album, Song, and Record of the Year, shutting out more deserving candidates like Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, and Lorde. The outrage was further exacerbated by the fact that those latter two artists weren’t even given a opportunity to perform. Jay Z apparently declined an invitation to do so, and Lorde backed out after they wouldn’t let her perform solo, and wanted to fold her into a Tom Petty tribute. Neil Portnow, the infinitely smug president of the Recording Academy, responded to the controversy surrounding Lorde’s absence and the dearth of televised awards going to female artists by calling on women to “step up,” comments that weren’t received warmly and may have lead to his decision to step down after his current contract expires.

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Rockism and Poptimism in A Star Is Born

(Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

A Star is Born opens with Bradley Cooper’s Jackson Maine, a drunk and ragged rock star who sells out arenas, discovering Lady Gaga’s Ally as she sings “La Vie en Rose” in a drag bar. After being dragged backstage by Ally’s enthusiastic friend, he takes a particular interest in Ally’s eyebrows, asking if they’re real (they’re not) and then offers to peel them off, revealing the first bits of the “real” Ally.

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