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My Archives: February 2004

Saturday, February 28, 2004

And the winner might be...
Posted by CKL @ 01:05 AM PST
So, after watching Seabiscuit on DVD last night, I've now seen all of this year's Best Picture and Best Animated Feature nominees. I still think the latter category is a dumb idea, but that's another rant.

I thought all five Best Picture nominees were good movies, albeit very different. Which one wins is, IMHO, really going to come down to whether the voters collectively prefer an action epic (LoTR:RotK or Master and Commander), a sports movie (Seabiscuit), a drama (Mystic River), or Lost in Translation, which defies easy categorization. What is the national zeitgeist? What does Hollywood care about right now? Damned if I know.

I think any one of these films is worthy of a Best Picture Academy Award, but if I had to pick, I'd probably go with Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. I can't remember the last time I went into a movie knowing so little about it, and found it so enthralling. I mean, I'm not a huge Russell Crowe fan, I don't know anything about sailing, and I think the history of the British Navy is pretty boring except for Commander James Bond. But this story was, to mix metaphors, firing on all cylinders, as I've said before.

In any case, it definitely wins the Longest Freakin URL Award: www.masterandcommanderthefarsideoftheworld.com

I guess Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the odds-on favorite to take the big prize on Sunday, especially since pundits expect many voters to acknowledge the entire trilogy by honoring the last part; now or never and all that jazz. I can live with that. But there ain't no justice if Mystic River doesn't clean up the Best Supporting acting awards for Tim Robbins and Marcia Gay Harden (Sorry, Sean Penn, Best Actor should go to Bill Murray or Johnny Depp), and Lost in Translation really deserves better than to be the relative runt of the litter. No huge battles, no histrionic death scenes, not even a stupid pet trick in sight, but it's almost indescribably wonderful, all the more marvelous because it finds the profound in the mundane.

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Friday, February 27, 2004

Joss Whedon == god
Posted by CKL @ 12:16 AM PST
This week's episode of Angel, "A Hole in the World," was nothing less than brilliant. Dark, funny, beautiful, and heartbreaking-- everything I've come to expect from Joss Whedon. He even managed to work in Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess:
She was such a little girl that one did not expect to see such a look on her small face. It would have been an old look for a child of twelve, and Sara Crewe was only seven. The fact was, however, that she was always dreaming and thinking odd things and could not herself remember any time when she had not been thinking things about grown-up people and the world they belonged to. She felt as if she had lived a long, long time.
And the astronaut vs. caveman thing was pure genius.

I choose not to be angry that The WB is cancelling the show after this, its fifth season. I choose to be happy that, in a world where sitcoms and "reality" shows comprise the most popular TV programming, great stories like this were ever told. Because this is what people will still remember and celebrate in a hundred years. This is Dickens, this is Shakespeare, this is Homer.

This is Joss.

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Thursday, February 26, 2004

movies movies movies
Posted by CKL @ 09:12 AM PST
In the last week, I've seen Mystic River, Cold Mountain, and Girl with a Pearl Earring. The only Best Picture nominee I haven't seen is Seabiscuit, and that's sitting in a Netflix envelope at home. I'll try to make some time to watch it on Friday, because I'll be busy all day Saturday (running around SF) and Sunday (prepping for our Oscar Party).

I still don't understand why the Academy Awards are happening a month early this year, unless it's Hollywood paranoia about piracy. All I can do is shake my head about that. Jack Valenti, President of the MPAA, thinks if you want to make a backup of a DVD you own, you should buy another copy. This is the same guy who said "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." How is this idiot still allowed to do anything of any consequence in any professional capacity?

I love movies, and I have great respect for the artists who make them, but the people who run the business are seriously brain-damaged. Sadly, I don't think this phenomenon is endemic to the entertainment industry. I've had at least a couple of jobs (and heard about many more from friends and family) where upper management was totally clueless.

Dilbert: it's funny 'cause it's true. Not a new thing, either. Remember the COs from Beetle Bailey or Dagwood Bumstead's crazy boss in Blondie?

But speaking of movies, as I was, anyone who hasn't seen Office Space should. Though I never could get into The Office. Probably for the same reason I can't stand Curb Your Enthusiasm. Schadenfreude's not really my thing.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Posted by CKL @ 01:40 PM PST
You can't argue with Abe:

ba_marriage02 (38k image)

And I freely admit that Mark Morford made me cry:

"It was a situation in which you simply could not imagine anyone hurling gobs of intolerant hate at it. It would have required a serious amount of nasty, inbred ignorance and appalling nerve to march up to any of the passionate and committed [same-sex] couples waiting patiently in line for their marriage ceremony and say, you know, God hates you for this, you immoral disgusting sodomites, and it's intolerable and unacceptable that you wish to love and honor each other till death do you part."

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Monday, February 16, 2004

Fallen Angel
Posted by CKL @ 11:11 AM PST
Perhaps appropriately, The WB announced on Friday (the 13th) that they were cancelling Angel after the current, fifth season. Creator Joss Whedon had a few words for his fans on The Bronze: Beta message board, quoted below in their entirety. All typos and misspellings are lazy-ass Whedon's. (I kid because I love.)
joss says:
(Sat Feb 14 22:31:16 2004)

Some of you may have heard the hilarious news. I thought this would be a good time to weigh in. to answer some obvious questions: No, we had no idea this was coming. Yes, we will finish out the season. No, I don't think the WB is doing the right thing. Yes, I'm grateful they did it early enough for my people to find other jobs.

Yes, my heart is breaking.

When Buffy ended, I was tapped out and ready to send it off. When Firefly got the axe, I went into a state of denial so huge it may very well cause a movie. But Angel... we really were starting to feel like we were on top, hitting our stride -- and then we strode right into the Pit of Snakes 'n' Lava. I'm so into these characters, these actors, the situations we're building... you wanna know how I feel? Watch the first act of "The Body."

As far as TV movies or whatever, I'm not thinking that far ahead. I actually hope my actors and writers are all too busy. We always planned this season finale to be a great capper to the season and the show in general. (And a great platform for a new season, of course.) We'll proceed ahead as planned.

I've never made mainstream TV very well. I like surprises, and TV isn't about surprises, unless the surprise is who gets voted off of something. I've been lucky to sneak this strange, strange show over the airwaves for as long as I have. I don't FEEL lucky, but I understand that I am.

Thanks all for your support, your community, and your perfectly sane devotion. It's meant a lot. I regret nothing (except the string of grisley murders in the 80's -- what was THAT all about?) Remember the words of the poet:

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by and they CANCELLED MY FRIKKIN' SHOW. I totally shoulda took the road that had all those people on it. Damn."

See you soon.

-j.

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Sunday, February 15, 2004

Goin' to the (figurative) chapel
Posted by CKL @ 11:11 AM PST
DeeAnn and I booked the location for our wedding yesterday. No, we didn't do it on Valentine's Day purposefully; it just happened that the woman in charge of renting the place was free in the afternoon and we were able to meet her to draw up all the paperwork. Now we just have to whittle our guest list down to a manageable size without offending too many people.

People seem to have all sorts of strange expectations for a wedding that they wouldn't have for any other kind of party or event. Hopefully we've already established ourselves well enough as iconoclasts that nobody will be too surprised at our non-traditional plans. In any case, they'll just have to deal with it. Whose wedding is it anyway?

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Friday, February 13, 2004

Answer: Orkut.com
Posted by CKL @ 06:52 PM PST
Question: "Wil Wheaton isn't my friend, because he's a dick. What kind of cruel social network would bring me such news?" -- Annalee Newitz, sfbg.com
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Thursday, February 12, 2004

cat picture
Posted by CKL @ 08:54 AM PST
Of course, the funniest thing about this "Swiss paper faces furor over cat obit" story is that it's running with a randomly selected file photo of a cat. Not any of the cats mentioned in the article, mind you. Just some cat. In case you didn't know what a cat looked like, I guess.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Analyze This
Posted by CKL @ 10:25 PM PST
Got a standing ovation in Script Analysis tonight... and then immediately turned around and flubbed the next script. Just wasn't feeling the character, and got a little carried away doing funny voices. Have to remember not to get ahead of myself: don't do something that the script doesn't call for. It's like translation. Yeah, that's it. Pretend the script is in Latin. Or Greek.

I know why there isn't more direction written into these commercial scripts. It's because the client wants to see what I, the actor, can do with it that they haven't already thought of. What do I bring to the party? A lot, but first, I have to start at the same place they ended up with the script.

Acting is hard work. Don't let anybody tell you different.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Remembering Columbia
Posted by CKL @ 05:45 PM PST
It's been just over a year since the Space Shuttle Columbia died, taking all seven crew members with her. A new book, Comm Check... : The Final Flight of Shuttle Columbia, claims to examine the tragedy in detail. An excerpt, as published on Newsday.com:
Just before telemetry stopped, data from the backup flight system computer indicated one of the two cockpit "joysticks," used to manually fly the spacecraft on final approach to the runway, was moved beyond its normal position. That's one way for a pilot to deactivate the autopilot. But investigators do not believe Husband or McCool was attempting to take over manual control. More likely, one of the pilots inadvertently bumped his hand controller during those horrifying final few seconds. The shuttle's digital autopilot remained engaged through the final loss of signal.
Is it just me, or does that account seem incomplete? Why do investigators not believe one of the pilots was trying to disengage the autopilot? Maybe I'm more technical than most of the intended audience, but when you spend over three thousand words describing precisely how superheated air flowed through the left wing and melted the aluminum spar inside, I think you could spend more than one paragraph on the people in the spacecraft.

Maybe the excerpt is incomplete. Whether the writers or editors are to blame, it seems awfully disrespectful. Especially when you end by telling how "[o]ne of the crew members came to rest beside a country road near Hemphill [in Texas]. The remains were found by a 59-year-old chemical engineer and Vietnam veteran named Roger Coday, who called the sheriff and then watched from the porch of his mobile home as a funeral director drove by to collect them."

They're pandering to the public's morbid fascination with the gruesome details of death, I'm sure, just like the shameless rubberneck-o-rama that is CSI.

I hope I will rate a slightly more respectful obituary.

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Kaba Kick
Posted by CKL @ 09:38 AM PST
"Worst toy ever" was the subject of the email linking to this product photo. I have to agree. I mean, really, a pink hippo?

kaba-kick (122k image)

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I tawt I taw a pierced nipple
Posted by CKL @ 08:15 AM PST
"On Sunday, TiVo subscribers hit rewind on the Jackson-Timberlake [halftime show] incident nearly three times more than they did on any other moment during the broadcast. That makes the moment the most rewatched ever during a broadcast in three years of measuring audience reactions, a TiVo representative said. The findings were based on an anonymous sampling of 20,000 TiVo subscribers who watched the Super Bowl." -- CNET
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