I proposed to Sara in a fumbling, mumbling, bumbling manner as the clock ticked over to midnight on New Years Eve in 2001. I had plans of proposing while we celebrated the new year with a group of friends, but a snowstorm put a damper on going outside, much less meeting up with people from out of town. It ended up being a pretty feeble proposal, but she took me up on it and a year and a half later, we were married.
A few months later, on a trip to Europe, Sara made a stop in Italy to buy my wedding band. It was a beautiful, meaningful ring.
We graduated from college, married the next day and two weeks later, we were settling ourselves in Portland, Oregon. I managed to get a job at a gourmet pizza place that summer, doing prep work and tossing pies. Sara was toiling away at OfficeMax as a graphic designer. We were living the dream.
Since I was working with pizza dough and different messy ingredients, I would take my ring off my finger every day when I arrived at work. It was encrusted with crushed diamonds, so food and crap tended to get mashed into it and make it impossible to keep clean. I would carefully slip into into my front pocket of my jeans. Not the regular pocket, but the smaller pocket on the right side that no one ever uses for anything. I figured it would be safe there.
Well, one day, I put it into the regular pocket by mistake at the start of my shift. After we closed, I swept and mopped the floor and Sara picked me up from work. Before I changed into some sweatpants, I reached into my pants pocket to find…nothing. Well, not nothing, exactly. There was a hole big enough for a ring to slip out of.
So, my wedding ring had fallen out of a hole in the bottom of my pants pocket, onto the floor at work, where it could have been swept it up with all of the dirt and discarded scraps of food, dumped it into a trash bag and then threw that trash bag into the dumpster with dozens of other identical trash bags.
I couldn’t get back into the store that night because I didn’t have a key, so I went in right away the next morning and scoured the floor, hoping against hope that it had rolled underneath a cooler or underneath the oven and was still there, waiting for me to find it, but no luck. I tried to find the trash bag from the night before in the dumpster outside of the store, but the trash collector had already emptied it. Needless to say, I was devastated. A ring that my wife had brought back from her family’s historical home, a ring that signified her love and bond with me and less than two months into that bond, I had lost it.
I’m not ashamed to admit that there was some crying. Some blubbering. Some profuse apologizing. Sara was apoplectic. She couldn’t understand how I could lose such a thing. How I could be so careless. It was a dark time.
A week after the incident, I came home from work to find Sara in a better mood. She asked me to join her on the couch. I sat down and she asked for my left hand. I laid my hand in hers and she slipped a new ring onto my finger and kissed me. It was just some cheap ring from Fred Meyer, a plain silver-ish band. She promised that once we had more money, we’d take a trip to Italy together and get me a better replacement.
I’m not ashamed to admit that there was some crying.
Flash-forward five years to 2007. We are in Oslo, Norway on vacation. It’s my first trip overseas. We’re in the land of my ancestors and having a wonderful time. So wonderful, in fact, that on the third day there, after a day of exploring, I fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon. While I was asleep, Sara slipped off my replacement ring and went to a jeweler to find me a new band. I was so out of it that she was able to wrestle the ring off my finger, sneak out of our hotel room, sneak back into our hotel room and put a new ring on my finger before I woke up.
Sadly, the ring was just a little too large for regular wear. When Sara traced an outline of my old ring to take to the jeweler so that she could get the right size, the new ring ended up one size too large for my finger. But I kept it, anyway. Now, I wear my original replacement band on my finger and the new, Norse replacement around my neck on a chain. Each and every day I have two reminders of the love that we share. And y’know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I like when I come upon stories in the newspaper where I have to try to figure out if they are actual stories, or just some sort of grand practical joke being played upon me by some unknown figure in a high position of power. Because that happens to me a lot!
So it is with the following. Read it with me and see if you don’t agree that existence is itself a joke at our expenses.
Lindsay Lohan wants $100M over E-Trade ad Cries over E-Trade ad, wants $100M
It’s true! This is a thing that is actually happening! That’s why the subhead says exactly the same thing as the heading! Because it’s real!
The world revolves around Lindsay.
I have heard this, yes.
Lindsay Lohan is suing the financial company E-Trade, insisting that a boyfriend-stealing, “milkaholic” baby in its latest commercial — who happens to be named Lindsay — was modeled after her. And she wants $100 million for her pain and suffering, The Post has learned.
The actress filed a lawsuit yesterday in Nassau County Supreme Court over the commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl this year.
The ad — part of a series starring babies who play the stock market — features a boy apologizing to his girlfriend via video chat for not calling her the night before.
“And that milkaholic Lindsay wasn’t over?” the baby girl asks him suspiciously.
“Lindsay?” the boy replies, just before a baby girl sticks her head into the frame and slurs, “Milk-a-what?”
Despite our differences, I think we can all agree that there is absolutely nothing funny about milkaholism. Shame on you, E-Trade.
Lohan’s lawyer, Stephanie Ovadia, said the actress has the same single-name recognition as Oprah or Madonna.
“Many celebrities are known by one name only, and E-Trade is using that knowledge to profit,” Ovadia said.
“They used the name Lindsay,” Ovadia said. “They’re using her name as a parody of her life. Why didn’t they use the name Susan? This is a subliminal message. Everybody’s talking about it and saying it’s Lindsay Lohan.”
Well, this is hard to argue with. I remember just the other day, talking with everyone I’ve ever met incessantly over the last four weeks since the Super Bowl occurred on how that baby was obviously supposed to be Lindsay Lohan. Her name was Lindsay! That’s the same name that Lindsay Lohan has!
Ovadia wants an injunction to force the spot off the air, and the Lindsay camp wants every last copy of the commercial.
You can’t have mine! It’s my copy and I’m going to keep it!
Chris Brown, a spokesman for Grey Group, which produced the spot, is throwing cold milk on the controversy, saying it “just used a popular baby name that happened to be the name of someone on the account team.”
Interesting. Is the Lindsay Lohan camp aware of this woman’s existence? Please forward to them the name and address of this “Lindsay” person so that they can proceed with the necessary lawsuit.
Ovadia said E-Trade has violated Lohan’s rights under New York state civil-rights law and used her “name and characterization” in business without paying her or getting her approval.
The lawyer said that since the spot was seen by hundreds of millions of people watching the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics finals, the firm has garnered great profits.
I do recall reading something about E-Trade becoming the most popular company in existence since the Super Bowl. That was a really effective ad.
She says Lohan is owed $50 million in exemplary damages, plus another $50 million in compensatory damages.
I’m certain that a fair amount of research was put towards devising that dollar amount, based on the actual level of suffering that Lindsay Lohan has suffered as a result of this E-Trade advertisement, and that is not an inflated dollar amount that is in actuality the amount of money that Lindsay Lohan intends to spend on cocaine in the next business year. No sir. This thing’s on the level.
E-Trade could not be reached for comment.
Then allow me to make their comment for them, in their absence. “We very much look forward to this hilarious lawsuit.”
I don’t have a very large audience for this blog, but I’d like to think that somewhere, somehow, someone with the name Lindsay might be reading this. If you are, Lindsay, I feel it only fair to warn you now. RUN! RUN! RUN BEFORE LINDSAY LOHAN FINDS OUT ABOUT YOU! SHE’S FREAKING CRAZY!
Tonight’s the night, the only awards show actually worthy of being liveblogged (yet I still liveblog all the others, go figure). Join me and my panel of experts, or whoever ends up showing up to help me out, as we tell you what to think about the Academy Awards. Because that’s what the Internet is for. That and thinly veiled hostility. You bunch of idiots.
This time of year, there are a lot of Oscar predictions, but I don’t follow many other awards shows, nor do I keep up with a lot of the inside gossip. I did read an interesting NY Times article describing the hysteria around the race for an Academy Award, but in the end I don’t really feel like making any predictions. I’ve tried in years past, what with Oscar pools and such, but every year I do dismally because I tend to predict with my heart instead of my brain. I’ve recently heard that the average age of an Academy voter is 57, which means that more than half of the Academy is twice my age—I doubt we share the same taste in films…
So, instead of putting my Oscar pool picks here, I’m going to try to make a case for who (from the nominees) I think should win. After all, I’ve seen 93% of the “main” nominees, so I should be able to weigh in, right?
First, let me explain what I mean by “main” nominees. These are the nominees in every category except the five “shit” categories. Categories with films that (usually) get no wide release. In fact, these films are so hard to find, there are special screenings which Academy members must attend in order to vote in these categories. So, there will be no discussion of the Foreign Language, Documentary Feature, or Documentary, Live Action & Animated Short films.
I do believe that all of the Live Action and Animated Shorts are on iTunes, but I didn’t feel like spending $19.90 to see these films. I’ve only seen 1 out of the 25 nominees in these five categories, and that was the Documentary Feature Food, Inc. This was an excellent doc looking at America’s corporate food companies and how much harm they’re doing to us. I gave it but have no idea how it holds up against its competition.
Moving beyond these five categories, there are 19 “main” categories left. From these 19 categories, there are 34 different films represented and 96 overall nominees. Of these, I’ve seen 29 films and 89 nominees. The only ones I’ve missed are
Il Divo (1 nom – Makeup) The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2 noms – Art Direction & Costume Design) The Last Station (2 noms – Best Actress & Best Supporting Actor) The Secret of Kells (1 nom – Animated Feature) The White Ribbon (1 nom – Cinematography)
Let’s start with Best Animated Feature. As I said, I haven’t seen The Secret of Kells, but then again I doubt many of the Academy voters have either. Since this is a category you don’t need to see every film before voting, I’m going to take my knowledge of the other four nominees and chime in. I wasn’t too impressed with Disney’s attempt to capture some of that old magic with their hand drawn The Princess and the Frog. Pixar has yet to make a bad film, and Up is no exception. I loved the opening montage and most of the characters, it’s just not their best work. I saw Coraline twice in theaters and loved the story (Gaiman’s great) and the animation; there were just a few slow parts that’s keeping it behind my pick—Fantastic Mr. Fox. A beautiful, campy, fun film which I also saw twice in theaters. It was my 2nd Best Film of 2009, so it pretty much had this category locked up.
Best Makeup features only three nominees. There’s Il Divo which I haven’t seen. The Young Victoria seems out of place—if the film showed Emily Blunt turn into an old Victoria, I’d understand its nomination but I don’t really recall any significant hair or makeup work. Star Trek is my favorite in this category—a lot of obvious makeup and prosthetics that were necessary for the film.
Best Sound Editing is a category where I’ve seen all five nominees, but since I don’t really understand all the intricacies of what “sound editing” is, it’s hard to make a pick. Out of Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek & Up, I guess the two films that had the most memorable sound “edits” to me were Avatar and Star Trek, and if I had to choose one, I guess it’s heads… I mean Avatar.
Best Sound Mixing is another category where I really have no idea what makes a good “sound mixer.” Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek & Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen fill out this category. I think Avatar, Star Trek and (sadly) Transformers: RotF all rise above the others when it comes to (what I think is) sound mixing. Respectively, you have jungle scenes with a lot of animal noises plus one final battle with a lot of effects, space battles, and robots clanging and crashing together. I think my choice for best “mixing” (as I’m choosing to define it in my head) would actually be Transformers: RotF because the sounds of those robots changing was really one of the only good things I remember from that film.
Best Art Direction is yet another category where I’m not really sure what I should be judging the films on. I believe art direction encompasses the design aspects not present in other categories—set design, set decoration, props, etc. I haven’t seen Dr. Parnassus so I can’t comment on that film’s art direction. The Young Victoria has more memorable costumes than sets. Nine used the stage to great effect, basically taking one set and redecorating it for each character’s song. I did enjoy seeing an industrial-era London in Sherlock Holmes, but here I think Avatar really deserves the win as Pandora was a beautiful planet completely created from nothing.
Best Visual Effects has only three nominees—Star Trek is a great film, but not because of the visual effects. They’re good but not great. District 9 in any other year would have been my vote (probably a snub in the Best Makeup category also, now that I think of it), but this year nothing can beat Avatar since it’s literally going to change the way we look at visual effects from now on. James Cameron and his team of designers really have raised the bar for what can be done with computer generated effects (with some help from Peter Jackson and others before him). I didn’t love the film, but the effects were truly amazing.
Best Original Song is once again getting pulled from the broadcast, which is a real shame because these songs deserve a little more recognition. Randy Newman gets two nominations for his work on The Princess and the Frog. Sadly, the movie didn’t really stick with me as past Disney musicals (e.g. Aladdin or The Lion King) have, so I barely recall “Almost There” or “Down in New Orleans.” Maury Yeston’s addition of “Take it All” to Nine was good, but I preferred the more catchy “Cinema Italiano,” which was one of the best parts of that largely disappointing film. Paris 36‘s “Loin de Paname” is a beautiful song, but I saw this film back in June and I can’t really recall how it fits into the story. My pick is easily Ryan Bingham & T-Bone Burnett’s “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” which is a hauntingly fantastic piece of music that stuck with me long after the film ended.
Best Score is a fun category because I’ve just started listening to scores in the past few years. I’ll admit, I’m still not as aware of a score when I’m watching a film unless it’s very excellent, so I thought this year’s choice would be easy. Unfortunately, two of the most memorable scores (for me) aren’t even nominated! So, while I’d like to say The Informant! should win this prize, it’s not even among the nominees. Instead, I have to pick from Avatar, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hurt Locker, Sherlock Holmes and Up. From these, the two I remember most are Alexandre Desplat’s Fantastic Mr. Fox and Michael Giacchino’s Up, the latter of which just barely wins out over the former due to that magical opening montage with no dialogue and only score. Desplat’s score to FMF is great and really fits the mood well—just listening to some excerpts of these songs puts me down underground with Mr. Fox and his friends. But Giacchino’s score is soaring and flying and fits the movie so well.
Best Film Editing contains an interesting mix of films and the nominees come from such different styles of film, it’s difficult for me to pick just one. Precious contained some interesting edits of real life mixed with fantasy, but otherwise the editing wasn’t all that showy. Avatar pretty much succeeded beyond compare in every technical level. District 9 somehow transformed from cinéma vérité to a blockbuster action film pretty seamlessly. Inglourious Basterds has that Tarantino choppy writing style, but not once did the film feel clunky or confusing. But I think my pick has to be The Hurt Locker, as it used its edits to really make the story more intense and suspenseful.
Best Costume Design almost always goes to the period pieces–corsets and large dresses seem to make the Academy members excited. The Young Victoria is obviously going for that vote this year, but I wasn’t too impressed with the costumes here. Again, I’ve missed Dr. Parnassus, but from what I’ve seen in its trailer, the costumes were pretty outlandish. Nine is a stage musical thrown in front of cameras, and the designers did well bringing each character to life with clothes. But this race really comes down to two. Coco Before Chanel is about the early life of famed fashion designer Coco Chanel and Bright Star tells the story of the romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, here shown to be a budding clothing designer. While I enjoyed Coco Before Chanel much more than Bright Star, I thing the design in the latter is a little more interesting.
Best Cinematography is the final category before we get to the “Big Eight.” I’m a fan of good cinematography, but I’ve noticed the Oscar rarely goes to who I feel is most deserving. I haven’t seen The White Ribbon, so I can’t say much about the black & white camera work here. Avatar has interesting camera set ups and moves, but it feels almost like cheating since I can’t tell what was done with the cameras and what was done with the computers. The Hurt Locker has some very tense moments, and the camera work helped induce some of that feeling of dread. Which again brings me down to two. I recall several times during Inglourious Basterds where I noticed the skillful camera, which is impressive because the directing, writing and acting were so good, the camerawork must have been great to get noticed above the rest. I’m thinking specifically of the overhead shot in the opening scene, panning down across the floor and the final setpiece “Revenge of the Giant Face.” But, I was impressed more often by Bruno Delbonnel’s work in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The film opens with the camera zooming around London as Death Eaters destroy the Millennium Bridge and eventually crash into Diagon Alley. Harry later shows up at The Burrow, and the camera playfully looks up the broken and bent staircase as members of the house peek out and down upon their new guest. The entire cave sequence near the end is just beautiful to watch. I doubt a Harry Potter film will win any Oscars before HPatDH:PII comes out, but this one deserves it (in my opinion).
And now, we come to the Big Eight. I had really hoped to see all the nominees before tonight’s broadcast, but sadly the first local screening of The Last Station was sold out yesterday and I have too much other stuff going on to see it before the big show. But still, seeing 18 of the 19 films and 43 of the 45 nominations in these last eight categories is pretty impressive… right?
Best Adapted Screenplay is a category that has the “It wasn’t as good as the book” stigma on it already. Luckily, I haven’t read any of the original materials here, so I don’t have that in the back of my mind. Nominees include District 9, An Education, In the Loop, Precious & Up in the Air. District 9 and Up in the Air are really well-written, and it’s coming down between those two and In the Loop. In the end, I’m choosing the comedy because I believe comedy is probably 100x harder to write than drama. This also has the problem of “How much of it was improvised?” but I’ve heard an interview with the writers, and they say very little of what was on the screen wasn’t in their script. That’s the sign of really great writing—when you think it’s too funny to have been written beforehand and it must have been improvised on the set.
Best Original Screenplay features five fantastic original stories. Up is another great film from Pixar—I don’t know how they keep coming up with such great stories, but its ending is a little off. The Messenger was a great war film because it wasn’t about the war, but it could have gone further. A Serious Man was a thought-provoking film, but I had to see it twice because I just didn’t get it the first time through (good thing or bad thing, I’m not sure). Which again brings me down to two. I love Quentin Tarantino, and his imagination made Inglourious Basterds one of my favorite films of the year. The story and characters and dialogue are all great, but what else would you expect from QT? But Mark Boal put together a war film that actually didn’t suck. The Hurt Locker is a gripping story featuring a division of soldiers I had known little about. The plot doesn’t feel manipulative or crazy, and yet looking back at what happened it seemed like it very easily could have. I think both are very well-written, but in the end I have to go fanboy and choose Quentin Tarantino
Best Supporting Actress should go to Mo’Nique.
Best Supporting Actor should go to Christoph Waltz.
There’s little else to say about these two categories. Both actors blew away their competition.
Best Actress is probably the toughest category for me. I haven’t seen The Last Station so I don’t know how good Helen Mirren is. My biggest complaint with An Education was that Carey Mulligan played the role too old, running some of the story. Gabourey Sidibe did fine in Precious but considering this is her first ever role, I don’t know how much was her and how much was acting. Plus, her character spent much of the time in silence, looking down and sad—not that difficult. Which leaves Streep in Julie & Julia or Bullock in The Blind Side. I know I’m probably alone here, but I wasn’t impressed by Streep as Julia Child—I saw Streep doing Child, rather than just Child on screen. So I guess my choice has to be Sandra Bullock, but that’s only by default. I think there are definitely some scenes where she’s overacting (e.g. “I’m not changing his life. He’s changing mine.”) but I’ll admit she did do a decent job with this character (who I’ve heard is actually pretty similar to the real life woman).
Best Actor would have to go to Jeff Bridges for his work in Crazy Heart. Not only did he deserve an Oscar before now (the Academy loves handing out Lifetime Recognition awards), but his work here actually deserves the award on its own. He is fantastic as the drunk, washed up signer Bad Blake and really outshines his other competition. Colin Firth is probably a close second for his portrayal of a day in the life of a professor who recently lost his lover in A Single Man—very touching indeed.
Best Director is a tough category to choose. It’s hard to remember how much the director does. This category isn’t about which film I thought was best, but which film was most craftily constructed. I think it comes down to Kathryn Bigelow for her work on The Hurt Locker and Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds. Both films are wonderfully put together, but I’m giving the edge to Bigelow because QT does seem to get in his own way at times, plus Bigelow does what so few have been able to—direct a critically successful war movie.
Which just leaves Best Picture. There are ten nominees this year, which is an interesting change. Unlike the actual Oscars, there’s very little build-up to the final category here, because I’m not trying to predict what will win, but rather say what I think should win… If we’re talking Best Picture, we have to look at my Best Films of 2009 list, and the nominee that’s closest to #1 is Inglourious Basterds.
Well, hope you enjoyed my little analysis on what I enjoyed and wish could win tonight. Wanted to get this out there before the broadcast, so I’ve furiously written it last night and this morning. Don’t have time to go back for a re-read or edit, so I’m sorry for any long-winded sections or typos. Feel free to leave a comment about any films or performances you feel deserve the win.
It’s fucking MARCH! 2010!! Seriously, what happened? The last two months have flown by faster than I ever remember. January and February aren’t the most exciting, colorful months, but it’s like they weren’t even there. I know I’ve heard people say that time moves faster after you turn 30, but this is insane. Now, we’re ankle-deep in my least favorite month, March. Wonderful. I had to come up for air now? Really?!
Why don’t I like March? Why should I? Aside from March Madness, which really culminates in April, there’s nothing to like. March is a sticky, breezy, drizzling turd. Time shifts in mid-month for no reason, just to fuck with us a little more. We’re robbed of waking up to sunlight for the last two weeks for no reason. Thanks, WWI-era America, ya spat-wearin’ bastard.
Julius Caesar shouldn’t be the only person to be warned of the ides of March.
Rupert Murdoch was born in March. So was Mark-Paul Gosselaar. And Osama Bin Laden. If that isn’t enough to make you hate March as much as I do, I don’t know what to tell you. You have a heart of stone and are quite possibly evil. It’s as simple as that. Hate to be the one to break it to you. Oh, one more. James Earl Ray, the man who shot Martin Luther King Jr., was also born in March. March; birth-month of evil.
There is one redeeming birthday in March that I could find. Kirby Puckett.
Still, March sucks.
Some of you are screaming, “But Nate, St. Patrick’s Day is in March!” Great, the one holiday that we have this month just so happens to be the holiday where you are most likely to get so drunk that you throw up (close second-Columbus Day). Wonderful. Dry-heaving over a pool of bile and green-tinted beer is so much better than getting presents or candy or turkey.
March is also National Frozen Food month. No kidding. Next week is National Crochet Week. Tomorrow, March 5th, is National Multiple Personalities Day. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried. Apparently, when they were divvying up months and weeks and days for observances, someone decided to put all the throw-away ones in March. Why? We’ve been over this, but I’ll state it again; March sucks.
So, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go right back to doing whatever it was that made the last two months fly by with such ease. I want no part of March and am completely content to wait it out until April comes along. With April, you at least get some warmer weather, some occasional showers and Buddy Ebsen’s birthday. Sounds like my kinda month.
Up from the ground came a bubblin’ crude…oil, that is
You know what day it is today, right? You don’t? It’s only the most important day in the history of all days. This is the day you will tell your children about, and they will tell their children about, and they will tell their children about, and so on and so forth until the zombie monkey apocalypse of 2113. This is a day that towers above all days before and yet to come.
Today, America, is the day your best friend comes home. Today is the day Jay Leno returns.
That’s right, kids. The big harmless marshmallow man is coming home to lull you gently to sleep each night with his generic, non-offensive comedy. No more of this crap of having to choose between watching The Mentalist or Jay. Now you just have to leave your TV running after your late local news and you can mildly titter your way to sleep each and every night with Headlines, Jaywalking, and all of the other NBC focus group approved comedy bits of Jay Leno every Monday through Friday. Glee!
Now assuming you have had your head buried in a pile of sand in your backyard for the last 365 days and this is the first you’re hearing of any of this, you’re wondering to yourself how this can be possible. Where has Jay Leno gone to? Why is he coming back? Well, see, it’s like this. Slightly less than a year ago, moderate talent Jay Leno gave up the Tonight Show after 17 mostly mediocre years, because NBC nicely asked him if he would. Not wanting to rock the boat, Leno agreed to do this, because he’s America’s Nicest Man. As a reward, NBC decided they’d give him his own prime time show. Again, Leno agreed, because he is both nice and not terribly intelligent. Like most people you know!
In September of last year, The Jay Leno Show debuted at 9:00 Central Time each and every weekday night. It was a huge success! For exactly one day. After that, it was a terrible, horrific failure. In the meantime, Leno’s former Tonight Show was taken over by Conan O’Brien, a superior talent who had diligently worked as the host of Late Night following the Tonight Show for 16 years prior. This was also a big hit at the beginning, and less so afterwards. But this was in late night, where viewing habits are usually deeply ingrained in viewers and a certain amount of patience are required for a show to become a hit. For instance, it had taken horrific prime time failure Jay Leno a whole three years before his ratings had risen from godawful to better than David Letterman levels. So Conan O’Brien was plugging away determinedly, building his own audience from the ground up and gradually improving.
Meanwhile, mediocre comedian Jay Leno was in prime time, a segment of television which is a bit more demanding, where you either become a hit as quickly as you can or you find yourself unemployed. Jay Leno was doing the latter. In fact, Jay Leno was doing so terribly that he was almost single-handedly sinking an entire network. Local news programs saw their ratings sink nearly as much as half of their previous levels, thanks to the atrocious lead-in of prime time bomb The Jay Leno Show. Affiliates were fuming, and threatening to revolt if NBC did not act immediately to remove prime time cancer Jay Leno from the schedule immediately. NBC executives heard their cry, and they knew they would have to act in a way that would satiate the network affiliates while also ensuring the long-term health of both their prime time and late night lineups.
After much deliberations, they came upon the ideal solution: fire Jay Leno. And then they did the opposite.
Now in most work settings, if you were promoted to a new level within your work place that carried with it new responsibilities and higher expectations and you responded to it with complete and utter failure, you would expect to pay a price for your having failed at your duties. Not if you work at NBC and (this is the crucial part) your name is Jay Leno. If that’s the case, then you are to now be rewarded for having been a screwup. So it was that NBC decided they would move Not Ready For Prime Time Player Jay Leno back to 10:35pm Central Time, while bumping Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show to 11:05pm and failed movie star Jimmy Fallon to 12:05pm. Conan O’Brien, being a Harvard educated man and smarter than your average bear, noticed that this was a dumbass idea and bolted, taking $45 million with him, because that is the price you pay when you are a network like NBC and you are so damn stupid. With Conan gone, NBC decided that the new host for the future of the Tonight Show would be 60-year-old Jay Leno, who now will likely host the Tonight Show until he drops dead at his desk, probably from that horrific tumor growing out of his face most people mistake for a chin.
So that’s where we are today, preparing for the arrival of the new Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which airs for the first time tonight. But before you have a panic attack at all the times I used the word “new” in that last sentence, settle down, Gertrude. Rest assured that despite this being a supposed “new” thing, there will be absolutely nothing new about the new Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Except that one-man laugh track Kevin Eubanks is leaving the program, probably after realizing that he’d be laughing at Jay Leno jokes from here to perpetuity, and settled on resignation of his position over jumping out of a building. But the chances are good that Leno will be able to find another guitar player somewhere willing to fake laugh for sixty minutes every night and everything will go back to exactly how it used to be – me watching Letterman every night.
Remember this day, people. Jay Leno is coming back today, after refusing to leave in the first place. This is a glorious day for the U.S. Finally, mediocre blandness triumphs over quality in pop culture, for once.
Life and laziness sort of got in the way, but I’ve finally made my Top Ten of 2009 list and SPOILER alert—Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will not be making the list.
I should mention the five Oscar-nominated films that I haven’t seen yet. These are my unseen also-rans (“never-rans?”)—condolences to Il Divo (1), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2), The Last Station (2), The Secret of Kells (1) & The White Ribbon (1) as they won’t be making my list but possibly could have if I lived in a larger market.
Here’s a complete list of the 205 movies from 2009 that I’ve seen and are up for my prestigious list.
And without further ado…
My Top 10 Films of 2009
Actually, there’s just a little more ado…
I want to give an honorable mention to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. It probably deserves to be on this list as it was one of the eight star films I saw in 2009, however as I was making this list, there was a movie that was just a little bit more memorable, so Cloudy fell down to the #11 spot.
And NOW, without further ado…
10. Everlasting Moments
This film deserves to be a bit higher, but as it’s just a tiny Swedish film no one has probably heard of, I figured I’d use it to fill my #10 slot. It’s an elegant period drama that deals with class struggles, alcoholism, sexism, feminism, WWI, labor unions and so much more. IMDb sums up the plot simply and beautifully: “[A] young working class woman, Maria [Maria Heiskanen], wins a camera in a lottery. The decision to keep it alters her whole life.” That may not sound too exciting, but as long as you don’t have an aversion to reading subtitles, I highly recommend you rent this as it truly was one of the best films I saw last year.
9. Every Little Step
It just wouldn’t feel like one of my “Best of the Year” lists without some fantastic documentary, and 2009 had several great docs trying to make the list. Food, Inc. or Capitalism: A Love Story could easily have filled this spot, but Every Little Step just barely beats them out because its subject matter is so fascinating to me. Every Little Step follows a handful of actors and dancers who audition for Broadway’s revival of “A Chorus Line.” Since I had recognized some of the faces as cast members, a little of the drama about who will make the cut was lost, but it was still fascinating getting a glimpse behind the curtain at the lengthy Broadway audition process & hearing the original tapes Michael Bennett recorded when researching for his new musical.
8. Me and Orson Welles
Here’s another film that features a lot of acting, auditions, rehearsals and theatre—and that may be part of the reason I enjoyed it so much. The story alone would probably be worthy of my Top 25, but what bumps it up to #8 is the phenomenal performance of Christian McKay as Orson Welles. He completely embodies the legendary actor/director and deserved an Oscar nomination (although I believe in either category he’d lose to Bridges or Waltz, so maybe the point is moot). Zac Efron is the titular Me—a young wanna-be actor desperate to work with Welles in his famous 1937 Mercury Theatre production of Julius Caesar. The supporting cast (including a beautiful Claire Daines as Orson’s assistant) is an ensemble of great performers playing great performers (e.g. Norman Lloyd, Joseph Cotton & George Coulouris). However, the greatest performer here is definitely Mr. Welles—I mean McKay—himself. I kept hoping there would be a scene featuring some frozen peas.
7. In the Loop
Based on a UK television series “The Thick of It,” In the Loop is a political mock-vérité comedy where one unfortunate verbal slip-up puts US and UK politicians in a tizzy. A UK politician (Tom Hollander) states that “war is unforeseeable” and that while peace is desirable, occasionally one must “climb the mountain of conflict.” All of this seems harmless in his eyes, but the press believes his is the view of the Prime Minister and that the UK and US are planning to invade some unnamed Middle Eastern country. Soon, several British ministers are flown to DC to meet with other heads of state so they can try to formulate a actual stance on war, with these two phrases already out there in the ephemera. This may sound really dry, but the writing is extremely funny—especially the one press official Michael Tucker (Peter Capaldi) who curses more than that bartender with Tourette’s in Boondock Saints.
6. An Education
Nothing like a little pedophilia to gain some Oscar buzz. An Education is the coming-of-age story of 16-year-old Jenny (Oscar nominee, Carey Mulligan) whose father (Alfred Molina) relentlessly pushes her in an attempt to get into Oxford; however, Jenny has other aspirations—to live in France, for instance. Jenny meets David (Peter Sarsgaard) one afternoon, when he spots her lugging her cello home in the rain and offers her a lift—and this girl is half his age (really surprised The Police didn’t make the soundtrack)! At first, David begins introducing Jenny to cultural events she’s only read about or listened to on her hi-fi. As she continues to ditch schoolwork with her classmates for nights out at ballets and bars with David and his friends, the relationship grows into something more. Mulligan does well here, but I never once believed she was only 16—she played Jenny as an intelligent, beautiful 20-something which is why I feel her nomination is a little unfounded. That may be the reason why the relationship here didn’t really bother me—Jenny seemed 18-22 while David seemed 25-30 and it was just the telling of a sheltered girl falling for a slightly older, more sophisticated man. There were, of course, a few moments that reminded you how taboo this relationship was supposed to be, but the film deals with it deftly and this joins Hard Candy, Little Children and The Woodsman as another excellent film featuring a pedophile.
As I said in my blog about the Best Acting of 2009, Sam Rockwell gives two of the best performances of last year (another Oscar snub). Moon is a claustrophobic mystery-thriller featuring Rockwell as Sam Bell, an astronaut in the final three weeks of his three-year solo mission on a lunar mining station. His only company is a HAL-like computer system named GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) due to a communication malfunction with Earth. After an accident on one of the moon harvesters, Rockwell discovers someone else on the station claiming to be Sam Bell. He starts to wonder if his long time solitude is affecting his mind as paranoia starts to set in. The film does feature some classic space-movie clichés, but somehow none of them are too contrived, leaving a simple character study, in which Rockwell is out of this world.
4. Up in the Air
Jason Reitman has a pretty damn good track record as director, following up Thank You For Smoking & Juno with this little look at the recession and big corporate downsizing. Oscar-nominee, George Clooney’s Ryan Bingham lives life with an empty backpack, with little holding him down anywhere. He’s on the road 300 days each year firing employees for companies who have enough money to pay for his services but not enough to keep their workers. He’s good at his job and enjoys banking thousands of frequent flier miles every week. Oscar-nominee, Vera Farmiga plays love interest Alex, who describes herself as “[Ryan] with a vagina,” and Oscar-nominee, Anna Kendrick plays Natalie, a young up-and-comer with radical new ideas that would put the professional firer out of a job. The dialogue is witty, the plot has a third act that I didn’t fully expect, and the film is filled with fantastic characters. The only complaint I have with the film is some of the featured extras who play the people getting fired—given only a small amount of screen time they might not need to be the best actors ever, but some of these line readings were just horrible. Thankfully, these most painful scenes are near the very beginning and were forgotten about quickly once the main actors got started.
3. Inglourious Basterds
Tarantino has written a fantastic pseudo-historical piece of WWII drama here, featuring a Bear Jew, a Jew Hunter, an Apache, a Little Man and a lot of other interesting (but not as interestingly-named) Basterds. I am simply amazed by the ingenuity of Tarantino to come up with a story like this—a band of Jewish behind-enemy-lines Nazi killers?! How has this not already been done?! (cue a comment pointing to a film where it has already been done.) There are at least three fantastic setpieces (the opening scene pictured above, the basement bar & the final “Revenge of the Giant Face”) along with some brilliant cinematography and scoring. And, how it’s taken me six whole sentences to mention the acting, I’ll never know. First, you have Best Supporting Actor Christopher Waltz (notice I’m not saying “nominee” because this award is his, and if he loses I’ll eat Werner Herzog’s shoe!) as the menacing Col. Hans Landa. Next you have Brad Pitt, Eli Roth and Michael Fassbender each doing some of their best work ever (although Fassbender was also excellent in last year’s Hunger). Finally, Mélanie Laurent and Diane Kruger are as beautiful as they are talented and Laurent’s warpaint scene while Bowie sings “Cat People” is another unforgettable scene. One of a few 2009 films I actually went to see twice because it’s a bingo!
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
Another film I saw twice in theaters is Wes Anderson’s kooky animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox. Based on a Roald Dahl novel (which I’ve never read), here is a story of some woodland creatures defending themselves from Boggis, Bunce and Bean—three farmers who, themselves, were terrorized by Mr. Fox. I’m a fan of Anderson’s work (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou) but here, his style takes a leap I never imagined possible. Anderson is known for working with many of the same actors, often portraying quirky characters who live in a bright, primary-colored world. And while I’ve mostly always enjoyed these traits in his live action films, stop-motion animation allows everything to climb to a whole new level. The voice acting here (Clooney, Streep, Murray, Schwartzman, Wilson, Gambon, Dafoe & even Anderson himself) is cussing brilliant as is the writing (“cuss” really needs to catch on because it’s hilarious) and scoring (I’m hopeful this will be the Oscar winning score).
And my favorite film of 2009 is……
1. Star Trek
My most watched 2009 film (twice in theaters and once on Blu-Ray) deserves to be #1, doesn’t it? I still remember going to see this at midnight on opening night and being blown away by the sheer awesomeness of it. You see, I expected great things from Tarantino and Anderson, but Abrams hadn’t yet proven that his skills as producer (“Lost”, “Fringe”, Cloverfield) would make him a good director (M:i:III was decent but not great). Plus, while I absolutely loved ST:TNG, I was never a huge fan of TOS or many of the other incarnations, so this reboot of the original wasn’t too high on my radar—at first. Some decent trailers got me to the midnight showing, however, and from the very first scene I was on the edge of my seat like some uber-Trekker-fanboy. The writing was clever—a lot of hardcore Trekkers may be lamenting the time travel subplot and how it changed “history,” but I thought it was a brilliant way to wipe the canon slate clean so that Abrams and the screenwriters could tell the story they wanted to without contradicting Season 2 Episode 4 of TOS. Abrams also did a great job casting the film—each character is perfect, most notably Chris Pine as Kirk, Anton Yelchin as Chekov and Karl Urban as Bones (although I didn’t quite buy Nimoy as Spock[/sarcasm]). They also made sure to include some throwbacks to the series (e.g. Red Shirt), which made it all the more enjoyable for a semi-fan of the show. The only thing keeping this from being perfect is that clunky pit stop on the ice planet featuring a large vagisaurus chasing Kirk. What the heck was up with that?!
So… What was your favorite movie of 2009? Think any of my choices above have a chance at winning an Oscar next weekend? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
Man—life really got in the way… It’s already February and I still haven’t finished my Top Disappointments & Surprises or Top 10 Films of 2009… Better bang this post out tonight (without pics) so that I can focus on that Top 10 list….
Michael Mann directing Depp, Bale, Cotillard, Crudup, Ribisi, et al should have been a tour de force of movie making, but instead we get a bloated, high definition, great looking piece of crap. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m not a fan of the digital revolution. High definition takes away the real look of film. The cigarette burns, scratches, dirt and dust that show up on film make the experience much more tangible than digital projection. Here, the film looked too perfect, and what could have been a compelling story about America’s Public Enemy #1 was turned into an over-long piece of drivel that featured Bale doing his Batman voice way too often.
Couples Retreat I was really looking forward to this (but knew it would probably disappoint). Vince Vaughn and Jason Bateman are two very funny actors, plus the film featured a scene with Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman & Kristen Bell stripping down to their skivvies. Unfortunately, the film was edited down from its original R-rating, and it really suffered for it (Davis and Jon Favreau were shown cheating on each other in the trailer, but these scenes are completely cut out of the film and they only imply infidelity for the first half of the film). Plus, the writing (Favreau, Vaughn and What Happens In Vegas scribe Dana Fox) and direction (Peter Billingsley of A Christmas Story fame) were pretty weak (serious marital problems are “solved” in minutes). And is there anyone who would believe that Favreau would even be able to cheat on Davis with these hot young women?
I had mixed feelings about Mike Judge’s sophomore effort, Idiocracy—it had a decent premise that seemed to just miss its mark. Office Space is near perfect, however the first time I saw it was in college with a lot of friends during its hype. I wasn’t sure where Extract would land, but I was hoping that the combination of Judge, Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, JK Simmons, a seemingly funny Affleck, Clifton Collins Jr. (who needs more features!) & David Koechner would equal hilarity. I want to revisit this on DVD to see if it could improve on a second viewing, but my first and only viewing was definitely a huge disappoint
Clooney, McGregor, Bridges, Spacey—this should have been great. Instead it put me to sleep—literally—twice. My first viewing was a late night showing, so I watched it again a week later after a good night’s rest, and I still dozed off in the middle. It was trying really hard to be quirky and funny, but this is one instance where real life is just too unbelievable to be compelling.
The only bigger disappointment was…..
Brüno Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles had previously worked together on Borat: CLoAfMBGNoK which was a pretty funny movie. However, stories about Pamela Anderson’s knowledge of what was happening in Borat made me more skeptical of Brüno. Most of the “comedy” presented here, however, was too narrow to be really clever. Cohen simply goes into Redneck America to find some homophobes to make fun of… Am I supposed to be impressed or shocked?
The Blind Side
After watching All About Steve, I wasn’t expecting much from Sandra Bullock’s “Based on a true story” schlock, but it really delivered. Do I think it deserves the #10 spot in the Best Picture race? Not really. The film has too many faults—young SJ is super irritating, the back-story given to Michael is pointless (to me), the film relies too much on manipulation—to be a real contender, but the manipulation it uses is pretty effective, as the theater did get a little dusty for me.
The Invention of Lying
Ricky Gervais really has a tendency to surprise me with his films. I expected 2008′s Ghost Town to be a mediocre comedy, but it was really funny and sweet. In Lying, I expected all the laughs to be in the trailers, but there’s an entire plot that was a complete surprise to me (I won’t ruin it here). The film could have gotten old really quickly (“I know I’m fat and have no chance with you, but we have to have sex otherwise the world will end!”), but instead it takes this secret(?) plot point and actually turns it into an interesting talking point. It made me think as well as laugh, which is more than I expected from this little comedy.
One of about a dozen films I saw more than once in theaters last year. The film does suffer some of the Blair Witch problems—when presented as real footage, you get a lot of long, boring scenes because life is boring. However, these drawn out bits of “reality” counter the middle of the night scares really well. It’s not the kind of film that will make you lose sleep for days, but it does have a lot of great scares in the theater (especially night #13).
This movie stars Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) as a character named Sa5m, where the “5″ is silent. And that’s about all I knew as I went into this film, but the story about a bunch of misfits entering a Battle of the Bands is actually quite charming. The film featured some pretty decent music but the story is what really surprised me. The trailer made me think this was just going to be an HSM-knock-off, but it really was much more than that and featured a pretty unexpected ending. The acting wasn’t great, but I forgave it simply because the rest surprised me so much.
And the biggest surprise of 2009 (although why I doubted it, I’ll never know) was….
Drag Me To Hell
I’m not a huge fan of horror films, but I was curious what Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead trilogy) would do after his Spider-Man success. He does not disappoint. There is a great mix of humor (both intentional, and un-), scares (helped by an amazing score—at times dark and menacing and at others light and lilting) and blood (one of the worst nosebleeds EVER). The ending is a bit telegraphed, and I’m sure the film couldn’t have been worse had it gone for the R-rating, but Raimi proves he still has what it takes to do horror well.
So, did any 2009 films catch you off guard? Whether it was something you were really looking forward that turned out to be crap or something you were dragged to by friends that actually turned out to be good or great? Let me know what I forgot as I spend the next month writing my Top 10 of 2009 list!
I’m not usually the kind of guy who takes pleasure in the misfortunes of others, but just this once, I’ll make an exception.
If you’re a regular FOX News viewer, you already know the story of national hero James O’Keefe, who a few months ago heroicly dressed up in a Huggy Bear Halloween costume and tricked a couple of part-time ACORN workers to play along with what they probably thought was a mentally retarded child. He then filmed their encounters and used it to basically get ACORN shut down, because this is a profoundly stupid country we live in and that is the kind of thing that happens here. So the kid was whisked on to television and heralded as the next greatest folk hero after Daniel Boone and Santa Claus, and he, of course, got drunk on the fame and promised that if you liked these antics of his, just wait until he see what he does next.
Fast forward to this week.
For his next trick, Lil’ Jimmy O’Keefe, Ace Kid Reporter decided he was gonna do something grand. So he got himself together a few of his buddies and they dressed up as telephone repairmen, complete with fluorescent green vests, tool belts and hard hats, because everyone who’s never seen a telephone repairman before knows that is exactly how telephone repairmen dress. Anyway, all decked out in their funny costumes, they went to the offices of Senator Mary Landrieu of New Orleans and attempted to gain access to the telephone closet, all the while filming their exploits with a cell phone camera and, best of all, having one of their buddies outside the office in a flower shop van with a walkie talkie and a periscope sticking out of the top to be their lookout.
Needless to say, jailarity ensued.
Kids on the beat! Kids on the street! Beat Kids! Beat Kids!
And here’s the Scooby Gang right now, fresh off another successful caper. Far be it for me to make guesses, but I’m working off the assumption that Flanagan’s code name was probably Fatass.
Anyway, in case the schadenfreude hadn’t quite reached a sufficient level of enjoyment for you, Lil’ Jimmy was released from police custody and ordered into the custody of his parents, which is both hilarious and also just a little bit annoying. Because this isn’t some 17-year-old who got caught spray painting buildings with his buddies. He’s a 25-year-old adult (supposedly) who tried to break into a federal building. But since mommy and daddy are rich, he gets sent to his room to play Xbox and think about what he did, whereas if I, 30-year-old Erik Hagen, dressed up as a Super Mario Brother and tried to gain access to Senator Byron Dorgan’s office, I’d already be being traded for smokes in Cell Block D by a big fat neo-nazi named Skeeter. There is no justice.
But don’t have too much of a chuckle at these ridiculously stupid people. See, it turns out that the whole thing’s a big old misunderstanding, and this is a verified fact because it comes straight from the mouth of everybody’s favorite cartoon pimp James O’Keefe, writing to you from the dank, dark prison cell that is the basement of his parents’ house. This whole thing was a concoction of the liberal MSM Media, he tells ya! SOCIALISM!
The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieu’s office. Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines. Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false.
What we was actually doing was we were gonna just write our names on the wall with colored chalk. You know, harmless pranks and what nots. Golly gee willikers, we’re not gonna get grounded now, are we?
As an investigative journalist, my goal is to expose corruption and lack of concern for citizens by government and other institutions, as I did last year when our investigations revealed the massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by ACORN. For decades, investigative journalists have used a variety of tactics to try to dig out and reveal the truth.
Yes, I do recall that one time Walter Cronkite broke Watergate wide open in that giant chicken costume. Or when Tom Brokaw brought down the Berlin Wall single-handedly dressed as Clifford the Big Red Dog. Surely, this young man is only following in the footsteps of the legends who came before him.
I learned from a number of sources that many of Senator Landrieu’s constituents were having trouble getting through to her office to tell her that they didn’t want her taking millions of federal dollars in exchange for her vote on the healthcare bill. When asked about this, Senator Landrieu’s explanation was that, “Our lines have been jammed for weeks.” I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for “weeks” because her phones were broken. In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office – the people’s office – to ask the staff if their phones were working.
We also had plans to see if their refrigerator was running and/or if they had Olive Oyl in a can, but we were unable to attain this information before the federal agents arrested us.
On reflection, I could have used a different approach to this investigation, particularly given the sensitivities that people understandably have about security in a federal building.
On reflection, the FBI agents also could have tazed Jimmy in his gonads a sufficient amount of times to assure that he would never be able to, by some miracle, reproduce. Alas, what might have been.
The sole intent of our investigation was to determine whether or not Senator Landrieu was purposely trying to avoid constituents who were calling to register their views to her as their Senator.
And this could obviously only be accomplished by us dressing up as the Village People and attempting to access their phone grid. Are you buying this? Please tell me you’re buying this.
We video taped the entire visit, the government has those tapes, and I’m eager for them to be released because they refute the false claims being repeated by much of the mainstream media.
On this we can agree. I also am looking forward to the release of these hilarious video tapes.
It has been amazing to witness the journalistic malpractice committed by many of the organizations covering this story. MSNBC falsely claimed that I violated a non-existent “gag order.” The Associated Press incorrectly reported that I “broke in” to an office which is open to the public. The Washington Post has now had to print corrections in two stories on me. And these are just a few examples of inaccurate and false reporting. The public will judge whether reporters who can’t get their facts straight have the credibility to question my integrity as a journalist.
Hee hee. Integrity as a journalist. That’s like trying to question his integrity as a tooth fairy. You dress in costumes and videotape yourself pulling pranks on unsuspecting suckers. You’re as much a journalist as Ashton Kutcher and the guy from Jackass is. And neither of those two are journalists.
So there you have it. It turns out that there is such a thing as karma. My Name Is Earl, I’m sorry that I ever laughed at you. No, really.
Slapping children in big-box stores isn’t necessarily a habit of mine. Then again, going to big-box stores isn’t a habit of mine, period, but I digress.
I have to admit that, on more than one occasion, I’ve seriously contemplated doing just what Roger Stevens did at a Walmart in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
He slapped around a toddler.
Not his own toddler. Not a relative’s toddler. A complete stranger’s toddler. He gave the stranger fair warning to shut up their mewling spawn and when they inevitably failed to heed his totally reasonable request, he smacked the kid around for being so mewl-y.
Perfectly reasonable, if you ask me.
But the judicial system in Georgia and I don’t see eye-to-eye on this issue (and many others, I assume) and decided to sentence Stevens to one year in prison. Go figure. It probably doesn’t help that Stevens, pictured above, looks exactly like the mental image most people would get if they were told to imagine a “cantankerous old cuss.” He just looks like he wouldn’t hesitate to use a little corporal punishment on a child, if the situation merited it. He also looks like he’s very much at home standing on his perfectly manicured front lawn, yelling at neighbor kids to keep off. He could’ve easily played Clint Eastwood’s role in Gran Torino without so much as an iota of direction from Eastwood himself.
All I can hope is that one day, thirty or so years from now, I’ll end up being half the man that Roger Stevens is. I salute you, sir.