The Oscars are Sunday. Already, actors and actresses are getting fitted for their designer clothes and/or eggs. Journalists who cover the celebrity beat are already doing their lip and tongue exercises to prepare for the massive amounts of butt-kissing and boot-licking they'll dish out on the red carpet. Nominees are crafting moving, poetic lines of thanks, which they will forget to read if they win, choosing instead to rely on rambling improvisation and copious waterworks.*
And don't forget those unforgettable Oscar musical numbers. Remember last year when Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin did that number with the thing, and there was that other thing. Or was that Steve and Whoopi? Or did Jon Stewart do that bit with the thing? Still, I'll never forget Snow White and whatshisname!
The important thing is that the Academy has named their ten nominees for Best Picture, and you can count on us to give you the run down on all of them. So, without further ado (which is Latin for "lame jokes"), here are your Oscar Best Picture nominees!
- In this surreal documentary about the cutthroat, perversely sexual, remarkably nude world of professional ballet, Natilie Portman plays a determined ballerina who has a serious Jones for her stuffed black swan doll. She carries it everywhere, including public restrooms, which means that it needs to be laundered quite a bit. Unfortunately, while "Swanniekins" is in the dryer, our little toe dancer gets a bit, well... psychotic. (Think Linus without his blanket, on meth.) She goes so nuts that while watching Carrie
on Netflix, Carrie actually looks at her from the TV and says, "You are a freakin' nutcase, sister." Ironically, Carrie from Sex in the City
only suggests that she use a more trendy contraceptive.
Anyway, after killing 17 audience members with a thrilling grand rond de jambe, the SWAT team chases her from the Lincoln Center to an abandoned runway in Jersey. They finally talk her out of setting off the nuclear bomb she has hidden in her leotard by providing her with a fresh-smelling Swanniekins. Unfortunately for our agile little nutjob, Swanniekins is swept into the propeller of a nearby taxiing Vought Corsair. Enraged, the ballerina attacks the plane, which as any schoolchild knows is a terrible mistake, and indeed, she is quickly finished off by the 12.7 millimeter M2 Browning machine guns.
The film ends with her incredible death scene, which rather than being graceful and poignant, instead involves a great deal of splatter, flying shell casings, and floating toy stuffing.
- At last Hollywood deigns to make a film about the legendary Vought F4U Corsair fighter and the tough, gritty Irish-American boxers that flew them.
The year is 1944 and the U.S. Navy is making a big push in the Pacific to put the Japanese Navy on their heels, even though they were fighting at sea. Two young Irish-American brothers, Mickey and Rooney, are pilots on the U.S.S. Hollywood, docked in Tokyo Bay and beating the crap out of Emperor Hirohito's summer palace.
In-between attacks on Hirohito's jacuzzi, fending off kamikazes with a fire hose, and the occasional fly by from Rodan, the brothers are competing for the ship boxing title. Unfortunately, Rooney suffers a debilitating brain injury when he makes the tactical pugilistic mistake of leading with his brain.
To honor his brother, Mickey vows to win the ship tourney and to also personally blow up Tojo's home gazebo.
He does this, in the film's climax, raining hell on the imported Mongolian grill and French bench seats with the Brazilian Rosewood trim.
Inception - The mystifying story of an espionage team that uses a variety of psychological tricks and strategies to get something or other done to somebody.
Hell, I don't know. I saw it seventeen times and I'm not even sure who's in the film. Probably Keanu Reeves, Angelina Jolie, and whatnot. Inception sounds a lot like "conception," so we figure these lowlifes are just trying to get some poor gal knocked up against her will.
Anyway, people walk around on the ceiling (far less gracefully than Fred Astaire, if you ask me
), get into a lot of slow-motion wire fights, drive a van pretty much everywhere except the road (at one point they make a three-point turn on the wing of a Vought Corsair), and enough buildings turn inside out to justify bringing back "Sensurround.TM
Anyway, the two hippies who were in the theater with me loved it. They also went through about 40 containers of popcorn per showing.
The Kids Are All Right - Ever wonder what that Who song was about? Me too. When I was a kid, I would sit up at nights looking through microfiche of old Rolling Stones magazines for clues in the personals ads. I read the unauthorized autobiography of Pete Townshend (This Windmill Is Out of Control) 30 times looking for a hidden code about the song. The closest I got were the phrases "Kid all must destroy guitar, right?" and "Bite me, Paul and John."
Anyway, I watched Tommy
several times, which was a waste of time because the song doesn't appear in either of the films. I wrote Roger Daltrey but only got a signed photograph with the inscription "You ask too many damn questions, lad."
32 documentaries, Dick Clark's secret memoirs, the Oxford Dictionary of Music, and one rambling conversation with Keith Moon's poodle Frenchy later I was still no closer to understanding the mystery of this great song. Finally though, I had a chance meeting with John Entwhistle at a Roy Rogers Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia. As I was piling pickles and onions on to my combo burger, he looked me in the eye, and in a hushed and reverent tone, said "Could you slide down a bit so I can get some mustard, please?"
He then explained that the song was, "about this guy and his girl, and their friends, y'know?"
I don't think the film gets the song at all. It does contain an outstanding wide shot of a Vought Corsair, though.
The King's Speech - This film is the story of the famous speech that HRH King George VI opf the United Kingdom made at the outset of World War II. Amazingly, the film manages to drag out the speech, which only lasted five minutes and 44 seconds in real life, to over two hours.
This astonishing feat is accomplished in several ways. First, there's a lot of slow motion of Colin Firth talking. While the ladies may love that sort of thing, it was more than a bit tedious for us guys, especially the 'plosives.
Also, the king drinks an incredible amount of water during the speech. At one point, every other word, he's reaching for the glass and having a long sip. He also excuses himself to the loo five times, which is not in the actual recording. (I'm assuming they edited that out of the recording because bathroom talk doesn't fit royal protocol.) He then takes a lengthy smoke break, during which he tours London in a Vought Corsair.
There's also a fist fight with Hitler. The film makes the circumstances of the fight somewhat obscure, but at some point, as the king is refilling his glass, Hitler breaks a chair over his head. Our hero the king quickly shakes this off and body slams Hitler unto a radio dramatic control panel. Eventually, the fight proceeds to the top of Big Ben, where the king cleverly pinches Hitler's mustache between the clock face hands. After Hitler mysteriously escapes, the king finishes his speech and breaks out into the song that runs during the credits.
Unfortunately, the historical accuracy of the film is severely compromised. The song the king sings is "Swinging on a Star," which wouldn't be written for another five years!
- This film is the awe-inspiring ordeal of a young man who is trapped underneath a rock for 127 hours. Unfortunately, the filmmakers decided to play out the events of the film in real time. For once, Leonard Maltin's description of a film as "overlong" is somewhat justified.
Aside from two very dry sleeping scenes, the film is relatively engaging. There are numerous monologues of quality, and the scene where the young man desperately tries to flag down a search plane (a Vought Corsair, if you must ask) had me weeping into my Raisinettes.
It's all based on a true story, which makes you feel terrible for the person it happened too, and which is why this particular synopsis is so short on jokes.
The Social Network - This tawdry melodrama is about the invention of Facebook and the way in which Farmville and Mafia Wars destroyed Western Civilization.
The year is 2003. A young Harvard computer student (Justin Bieber) is sitting in his dorm room, trying to work up the courage to ask out a fiesty Women's Studies major (Alanis Morrisette). While trying to decide whether to take her to Wagamama (Lucy Liu) or an off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues (Oprah Winfrey), he accidentally trips over his jumbo-size model of the Battleship Galactica (Paul Williams) and face plants on his Intro to Programming book (Mickey Rooney).
This event, and the painful adjustment to his bridgework (Carl Reiner), causes him to have an ephipany (Julia Roberts), and he immediately began developing the concept of delivering DVD videos by mail. Unfortunately, he discovered that Netflix (Nancy McKeon) had beaten him to the idea by six years. So, he returned to his attempt to woo the Women's Studies major (now played by Betty White).
While booking tickets for Lilith Fair (Tina Fey), he stumbles over a derelict (Gary Busey), and tumbles through the window of a used bookstore (Adam West), planting his pie hole (Tom Brokaw) on a vintage, signed copy of the Tractatus Logico-Philisophicus (will.i.am). This immediately inspired him to create a search engine, which he named "Googing" (Nathan Fillion) He then changed his mind and named it "Bingle" (Vought Corsair). Finally, he realized that search engines had been around for years, and also, that he had a severe concussion (Pauly Shore).
He gives up trying to woo the Women's Studies major (now, Jim Rome) and instead fiddles around and creates an online site where people can incessantly pester people they haven't met in years with requests for farm visits and political diatribes.
Toy Story 3 - This dark and brooding masterpiece of film noir opens with a tall, lanky cowboy, sitting in his detective agency, spinning a dark narrative of lust, betrayal, and murder.
Only kidding!!! It's another goofy Disney/Pixar comedy about playful toys who can make your heart sing with childlike laughter, and then turn around and wring tears out of your soul like it was a sodden ShamWow.
The plot involves the usual crap about one of the toys getting lost and the other toys violating all the "toy rules" to go and find it in a toy Vought Corsair named "Sammy". There is a surprising amount of gory violence, including a terrifying unstuffing scene, and at least two nude scenes (would someone buy that dinosaur some pants, please!) However, in the end all is well and the toys are safe and sound, except for the villainous toy, which is given the "Braveheart treatment."
- The true story of the inventor of hominy grits, this whimsical fable opens with John Wayne traveling back in time (via a Vought Corsair, souped-up with a "time-flux capacitor"). Wayne is returning to the late nineteeth century to head off evil Nazis who have used their own time-machine (a Volkswagen Bug with a beanie propellor) to destroy America from within.
However, the Nazis only succeed in blowing up an outhouse in Fort Smith, Arkansas, which just happened to be occupied by Horace P. Whistletooth, the inventor of the the greatest breakfast cereal stuff ever.** Without grits, American soldiers fighting World War II have become listless and feckless, preferring to sit in their pup tents reading The Great Gatsby
aloud, instead of bayoneting Nazis.
Wayne arrives in Fort Smith and manages to trick the Nazis into aggravating judge Issac Parker, the famous "hanging judge," by running over his pet geese with a steam engine. Parker sentences the Nazis to hang for "killin' muh geese" and not being able to pronounce the word "waffle" properly. However, Wayne impatiently shoots the Nazis with a gatling gun.
Later he frees Whistletooth from the outhouse, but in the process gets a bit of grit in his eye, inspiring Horace to create the now famous dish, and forcing Wayne to wear a patch over his eye for his next movie, The Fighting Seabees.
Winter's Bone - Deep in the heart of the Ozark woods, a young woman finds a bone in a snowman. (A rib bone, gutter minds!) She quickly learns that this bone is special (Shhh!) belonging to former president John F. Kennedy. (Oh, all right! I give up ...go ahead.)
She quickly learns that the bone is really a key to a secret storage facilty that contains her father's worldly belongings: Seven tons of cement, a Bugatti Veyron, a vintage Farrah Fawcett poster (not the one in the bathing suit - she's wearing a monk's robes in this one), a Vought Corsair, 1200 boxes of Pocky, and a twleve foot pile of chicken bones.
She discovers that the chicken bones are actually an immense puzzle that when constructed takes the form of an even larger chicken bone! This puzzles her for months, until her hometown is attacked by a giant chicken! Hundreds of extras are relentlessly pecked until the young woman manages to lure the chicken to the secret storage facility.
At the sight of the gigantic chicken bone, the enormous chicken becomes filled with fear and promises to serve the woman forever, as long as she promises not to kill him "like that other chicken." She agrees and then trains him to run in the Kentucky Derby, the following year. "Old Pecker" wins the race by twelve lengths.***
* Both tears and other precious bodily fluids.
** Even better than Capt. Crunch and miles above Cream of Kale
*** I had a whole slew of jokes about randy Eskimos, but the staff vetoed them on moral grounds.
Labels: Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, Best Picture, Oscars