Sally: Like last year, this year's hosts are somewhat controversial: Anne Hathaway and James Franco. What do you two think -- how will they do? I am not sure what to think, but I am guessing there will be some musical numbers involved! It'll be interesting for sure, and I'm all for the Academy skewing young. After his Golden Globes hosting/razzing, I am sure the Academy is breathing a sigh of relief they didn't pick Ricky Gervais!
Brad: I love both James Franco and Anne Hathaway so I am pretty excited. It sure is much different then the years of Steve Martin or Billy Crystal. It was very common for them to have 2 or 3 hosts in the 50's & 70's. I am excited they are going back to that format. There really is nobody like Bob Hope or Billy Crystal that can really do what they did, and Franco and Hathaway are not comics so it will be interesting, but they are funny. It will be interesting to see how they play off each other and how it all works out. I do love Ricky Gervais but he was a bit too mean for an awards show. It is ok to make fun of Tom Cruise but you shouldn't make fun of Johnny Depp & Angelina Jolie. But everything he said [while hosting the Golden Globes] was basically true! It was a bit ridiculous to have The Tourist nominated as best comedy! I am hoping for a Freaks and Geeks reunion on stage at the Oscars. I would love to see Linda Cardellini, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, Martin Starr, & Busy Phillips all on stage!
Was it really almost 13 years ago that Bill Clinton came clean about all that randy behavior in the White House with Monica? Time flies in a land of dropped flies. I don’t remember what I was doing at the moment—as people are wont to do in times of cataclysm—but I’ll never forget the lesson: Politicians have libidos. I could have learned it a hundred different times (Gary Hart tried to inform me), but it’s the type of thing that doesn’t easily register. I remember thinking that it’s not all powdered wigs and sturgeon roe; there were stiffies going on under big official desks. Even still, it doesn’t seem all that possible.
Anyway, this obviously got me to thinking about Winter’s Bone. The movie, not the Daniel Woodrell book. Pardon the Freudian pun, but the film is set in the Ozark Mountain range, which extends right through the heart of Arkansas, with the slick gray dourness of Clinton’s hair. The austerity of the setting and small budget no-nonsense comes off like an Oscar caught in the headlights (one assumes purposefully). The casting—aside from maybe Jennifer Lawrence, who is the unmade-up, unsmiling teen heroine of sorts—is realistic to the point of distraction. Many of the cast members just have that look of a dog’s chewed-up ear. Many of them aren’t actors at all, but real people in their real way of going about life in shotgun dwellings. There’s plenty of good fancy hatred in their eyes, too, the kind that comes from smalltown distrustfulness and aggravating proximity.
I remember the first time I caught sight of the glowing, blacklit neon appeal of TRON. The boxy upright console outshone the others in my hometown Putt-Putt arcade and I couldn't help desiring to bask in its purple hazed portal though I'd always considered Centipede to be my one and only love. Let's be honest, playing TRON was about as exciting as the saccharin in a can of Tab, no matter how romanced I was by that Starlight Express meets Pinball Wizard of a design story. It's a silly game popularized a silly movie and it seems the good folks down at Disney completely understand that. TRON may never be taken seriously for its dramatic narrative and that's exactly right-on, but it is bursting with cinematic content. For me, re-viewing the 1982 classic TRON flick and the recently reimagineered TRON: Legacy was pure pop Sci-Fi pleasure the likes of which anyone this side of the Logan's Run Carousel knows better than to over-analyze.
Anyway, what better way to punctuate sweet freedom of another semester completed and celebrate the spirit of the season than seeing TRON: Legacy in IMAX 3D over Christmas vacation? Disney's new take on the ambitious yet sketchy Rotoscoped, post modern, science-fantasy arcade-gaming jam delivers a not very smart but sometimes clever cross-section of tired sci-fi/fantasy genre clichés, slickly redesigned to diamond-cut, mind-blowing visual perfection, ever flying the promotional gaming flag and still driven (literally!) by a pre-Lebowski albeit CG'd Jeff Bridges (which raises questions about the ethical treatment of dead actors' imminent bodies of possible future work) as well as the more popular (and less obviously plasti-complexioned) post "Dude" Jeff Bridges. Aesthetically, TRON went from this: