Thursday, February 28, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Post Correction - Oops!

I blogged that the charming James McAvoy was Irish, when in fact he is a Scot. Sorry Jamie!

AND, apparently Daniel Day-Lewis is from England, not Ireland. However, in my defense, he has lived in Ireland since 1993, so perhaps he's picked up the accent.

I was tired . . .

Need I say more?

If you know me . . .

Humorous Pictures
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Post Script

Just realized that all four acting awards went to Europeans. Tilda Swinton (Great Britain), Javier Bardem (Spain), Daniel Day-Lewis (Ireland), and Marion Cotillard (France).

Interesting . . . wonder if that's ever happened before.

And one more thing . . . I was disappointed that Keira Knightley wasn't a presenter. I so wanted to see her come out in that glorious emerald green silk dress from Atonement. The scene where she is standing on the terrace in the night breeze in that dress is just gorgeous.

Oscar Time: Part Cinq

Amy Adams is giving the Best Score song. She's just too cute. They are playing familiar phrases from some of the most famous scores. Wow, Ratatouille is nominated. That must be unusual. Atonement won. I recall that having great music, but 3:10 to Yuma, also nominated, had music that stuck with me more. But Atonement was a lyrically beautiful film, so I'm glad it won something finally.

Tom Hanks is up now to give the award for Documentary Short Subject. Tommy is looking good. I am guessing he's one of the best liked men in the biz. Cool, they are having soldiers in Baghdad announce the nominees and winner. Now they are doing the Documentary Feature. Several of these look interesting.

Harrison Ford is up to give the award for Best Original Screenplay. Indy is looking pretty good for 65. I hear he still fits into his costumes. But he's doing something funky with his eyes. I hope Juno wins, but I bet it will be Michael Clayton. Ratatouille is nominated. Wow. That's pretty amazing for an animated movie. And the winner is . . . JUNO!!!!!!! Awesome!!!!! A real success story. Whoooo hooooo!!!!! The little movie that could! Diablo Cody. Love that name. Not a fan of her dress, but I don't do animal prints. But, it kinda suits her.

Must be time for Best Actor - they are showing a montage of past winners. Helen Mirren is giving the award. I guess anyone who watches knows this, but the prior year's winner of the opposite sex always gives the award, and then in Best Director the prior winner gives it. Not sure what they do if one is nominated two years in a row there. If Daniel Day-Lewis does not win this it will be the biggest upset of the night. Yep, he won. Well deserved. Brilliant performance. If you are watching, note how much younger he looks in person than the characters he plays. And how soft spoken he is - just a demonstration of what a great actor he is. He's very humble. I've heard him referred to as an actor's actor. Very gracious speech. Didn't mention Heath. He had just died when the SAG awards were on, so I guess it was more on his mind then.

Time for Best Director. Here's the montage. Quite a few actors have won for directing. Hadn't thought about how many before. Clint Eastwood. Kevin Costner. Robert Redford. Mel Gibson. Warren Beatty. Ron Howard. Martin Scorsese is giving out the award. He's one of my favorite directors. I predict the Coen brothers or Paul Thomas Anderson. Yep, the Coens. Not a surprise. They are some talented guys. They are funny too. Quirky and weird funny.

Here's my man Denzel to give the Best Picture award. This one is an open field. All great movies. I've seen them all this year, loved them all. Overall, I'd say No Country or There Will Be Blood should win, or maybe Atonement. Hard to pick, they are all so different. No Country for Old Men won. Good pick. I had to drag my family to see this - they had never heard of it. Saw it right after it came out and told everyone I know about it. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but a brilliant film. I bow to the genius of little indie movies!

Well, there you have it. This was exhausting. I take my hat off to the professional entertainment bloggers. I barely left my computer all night long. Hope someone enjoys reading this. It was good practice for me either way.

Over all, gotta say, a few surprises, and no really horribly fugly dresses or hair to grouse about. Disappointing . . .

Gotta go pee now . . .

Oscar Time: Part Quatre

Okay, Jon Stewart is playing Wii tennis with the little girl from the song. Silly. Again.

Squeee! Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are singing their song from Once. THIS BETTER WIN! Love that movie, and we saw them in concert in Austin. This is SO cool! LOVE LOVE LOVE that movie and that album. You must get it if you haven't heard it. They were awesome in concert. Oh, Colin Farrell introduced them, and got all emotional talking about the movie being filmed in Dublin.

Jack Nicholson is introducing a montage of former Best Picture nominees. It's too early to do that award unless they are breaking tradition. We shall see. Just a montage. I've seen most of those movies.

Renee Zellwegger is on to give the award for Film Editing. Her hair looks better up close. Bourne Ultimatum won again. Wow, three Oscars for a movie that didn't get any major noms. But a great movie.

Nicole Kidman is giving a special award to Robert Boyle for production design. She's pregnant and looks beautiful and glowing. But, she has had the ole botox in the brow, and some lip stuff done, which she really doesn't need. She's also gained some bosoms with that pregnancy. I'm happy for her. I hope her marriage makes a go - they have a tough road with Keith Urban's drug addiction past. This guy is really old - two women helped him out. He's worked on many movies - they showed a montage.

Penelope Cruz is up to give the award for Foreign Language film. Don't know much about these, have no idea what is favored to win. Penelope looks very pretty though, as usual. A movie from Austria won.

Patrick McDreamy, er Dempsey and his hair are introducing another song from Enchanted. Wonder if they will cancel each other out so Once can win? Bleh. Nothing special. But I hear the movie was really wonderful. Not sure who this guy is singing, but his voice is so breathy. Simon Cowell would blast him. Hehe.

John Travolta came out and did a little turn with one of the dancers from the Enchanted song. He is giving out the Best Song award. Crossables crossed . . . WHOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!! YAAAAAAAAYYYY. Glen and Market won!!!!! That just made my night. So talented. So humble. Fantastic music. Buy it. Buy the movie! They started the music before Marketa got to speak, but she's very shy so I bet she didn't mind. Wow, Jon Stewart just brought her back out to let her say something. How cool is that! She's encouraging independent musicians to pursue their dreams. She is awesome. Andy has a big ole crush on her. She's only 19. She's his dream girl - plays piano, sings, writes music.

Cameron Diaz is up now. Can't say cinematography apparently. She looks a tad sunburned to me. There Will Be Blood won. Just saw that, it is a deserved win. But, I was rooting for the Assassination of Jesse James. That movie had amazing cinematography, it was just beautiful. The train robbery shot in the early part of the film is pure genius.

Hilary Swank of the classy dress and old lady hair is introducing a montage tribute to those who died this year. There are always a few in these that surprise me because I didn't hear that they passed. Don't know most of these people so far. Wow, I didn't know Ingmar Bergman died this year. Actually, I thought he died a long time ago. Last one was Heath Ledger. Very sad. Wonder if Daniel Day-Lewis will dedicate his Oscar to him if he wins. He did his SAG award.

Time for a break. I think we are getting to the last biggies soon.

Oscar Time: Part Trois

I'm back. Didn't get a cookie yet.

Jessica Alba is on. She gave out the Scientific and Technical Awards, which are given at another event since the show doesn't have room for them. They give awards to people who come up with technological innovations that give us better movies, though we usually don't know about them.

Josh Brolin and James McAvoy are giving out an award together. Two good actors - two great movies. They are quoting great movie lines - must be the screenplay award. James McAvoy's hair needs some work though. Okay, this is Adapted Screenplay. Hope Atonement wins. Reading the book now, and it's a great adaptation so far. But I bet No Country for Old Men wins. I read that book too, so really it's a tossup for me. Yep, the Coen brothers won for No Country for Old Men. Freaky good film. They did change a few details in the book that I think made the story better, but still, it was great. These guys are weird, totally weird, but I love their movies!

The AMPAAS prez is on now to do the usual little pep talk. He's talking about how the process works. Showing a little documentary about it. Actors nominate actors, directors nominate directors, etc. Everyone gets to nominate the best picture, but they must see all the movies. Not clear if they all vote on all the nominees or not.

Miley Cyrus is up. Such a cute girl. Presenting the third nominated song, again from Enchanted. She is very poised and confident for a 15 year old. Yay, Kristin Chenowith is singing. She's AWESOME! She has extensions I think, because her hair was fairly short in Pushing Daisies. Great dress too. Cute number. I'm sure it was cuter in the movie though.

Judi Dench and Halle Berry are up. Haha, it's not really them, it's the guy from Knocked Up (Seth Rogan) and the guy from Accepted (Jonah Hill) giving an award for Best Sound Editing. This is one of those awards where you don't notice the sound editing if it's really good, but you notice it if it's bad. The Bourne Ultimatum won. Cool. Great movie, best of the three if you ask me. No they are giving one for Sound Mixing (my son in law does this, not for movies, but it's very hard and technical). Bourne Ultimatum won again. Cool.

Now a montage of Best Actress winners. I predict Julie Christie for this one, but I'd love to see Ellen Page get it. Julie Christie is so gorgeous, still. I've not seen her movie, Away From Her, yet, but I want to. She's pretty outspoken, so if she wins, she may say something interesting. She doesn't seem to care about stardom at all.

Forrest Whitaker is giving out the award. Boy he's come a long way since Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Another upset! Marion Cotillard won for La Vie En Rose. Wow. Totally unexpected. Never heard of her at all. Wow, guess I need to see that movie. She is overcome and very emotional. Obviously she didn't expect to win. Two upsets out of three of the main acting awards. Those critics must be shaking their heads. I don't know of one who predicted this win. Wonder what other surprises await . . . Maybe Juno will win Best Picture?

Taking another break. Check back for Part Quatre.

Oscar Time: Part Two

Costume Design, given out by Jen Garner (so pretty). And the winner is: Elizabeth, The Golden Age. Haven't seen it. Wanted to, so I need to rent it. The first one was great. Wow, this woman is weird looking. I guess if you are a costume designer you don't have to look good.

BABS* is on! *Barbra to those of you not in the fan club. They are showing a clip of when she won her Oscar. "Hello gorgeous!" She tied with Katharine Hepburn. Wore that groovy see through pantsuit and that angled bob. She was just so fab in those days. Now she's smart and political and very passionate about world issues, and apparently very happily married to James Brolin, after many years of having affairs with nearly all her costars.

Nice montage up now on Oscar moments. I've seen all but a few of them, I'm proud to say.

Steve Carell (LOVE him) and Anne Hathaway are giving out animated feature. Hoping Ratatouille wins. Such a charming and smart movie. My grandson has been inspired to learn to cook (he's only 4) by that movie. YAY, it won!

Katherine Heigl is giving out the Best Makeup award. She's very nervous. But looks just absolutely fabulous. La Vie En Rose won. Meh. They are playing off the lady accepting. That's just rude. They should just let them talk. The show runs long every year anyway, so just let them have their moment, please.

Amy Adams is singing a song from Enchanted. Another one I haven't seen yet, but I wanted too. She is perfect as a Disney-esque princess. I could SO see her as Belle. And she can sing well too. That girl has the whole package. Check out Junebug if you don't believe me.

More Oscar moments. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Sweet. But she hasn't done much lately, wonder why?

The Rock is on, but they used his real name instead. Guess he's trying to get known as a real actor. He's a good looking guy, for sure. He is doing Visual Effects. The Golden Compass won. Don't know if I'll rent that or not. Lots of controversy, and I didn't want to spend my bucks at the theater, but I'd like to be able to dialogue about it intelligently.

Cate Blanchett is very very pregnant. She's even walking pregnant. She's a very good actress, I have liked everything I've seen her in. She's doing Art Direction. I hope Atonement wins. All the details in that movie were wonderful. But I bet Sweeney Todd wins. Yep, I was right. It was great also, I admit. And very unique and hard to bring the musical to the screen I'm sure. I just loved all the period details in Atonement. Yikes, Johnny Depp's wife (or girlfriend, not sure) is French and has a big space between her front teeth, that looks really bad with dark red lipstick. Unfortunate.

Now a montage about former supporting actor winners. Love the montages. Meeeeemmmmmries . . .

Jennifer Hudson is giving out the Best Supporting Actor award. This should be no surprise - Xavier, er, Javier Bardem will win, though Casey Affleck was brilliant also. Yep, he won. Brilliant portrayal. Dedicated it to his mother in Spanish. Sweet.

Writerless Oscars Salute to Binoculars and Periscopes. Bad Dreams - An Oscar Salute. Sorta funny.

Here's Keri Russell to introduce the second nominated song from her movie, August Rush. I have not seen that, but I heard it was great. Just too many movies to get around to this year. Keri's necklace is really pretty and sparkly. The girl singing this song is 11 years old. Wow. How does a kid that young handle singing live on the Oscars? Man.

Owen Wilson is on. He looks good, his hair is even fixed. He was in rehab recently. I wish him well, he seems like a really nice guy. A little trivia here - the Wilson brothers' mom is a successful and talented photographer who lives in Dallas. He is giving out best short subject I think. Sorry, those never interest me because I never see them.

Okay, Jerry Seinfeld's Bee character is giving an award. Didn't see that movie, and I got really tired of the promos. They are showing a montage of clips where people are getting stung by bees. Silly. He's giving Animated Short Film. Another one I don't really care about, though some of them look interesting.

Now a montage of former Best Supporting Actress winners. Alan Arkin is giving it out. He's a great actor who is not in that many movies. I have no idea who will win this one. Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan is just weird, I'm sorry. I don't get it. She doesn't look or sound like him except for the wig. Oops, I made a mistake - I said Saoirse Ronan had an American accent in Atonement, but it was British. Alan Arkin said her name right - good for him! I'd love to see her win. She was riveting in that movie. But Amy Ryan's portrayal of an totally unsympathetic character really stuck with me.

Wow, Tilda Swinton won. First upset of the night. She was never mentioned in any of the favorites. She did a great job, but I'm surprised. Her dress has one sleeve, and the other side sleeveless, and it's basically a black satin sack. She has great bone structure and would probably be beautiful with makeup. And is apparently very witty and funny. She was the White Witch in the first Narnia movie - pale in that one too.

Okay, posting here and starting a new one. Gotta get a cookie!

It's OSCAR Time!

The 80th Oscars! And I've been watching for . . . 48 of those years. Man I'm old.

The opening looks like a video game filled with images from many movies. Kinda silly.

Here's Jon Stewart. He is sometimes really funny. But I miss Ellen. She is never mean, but always funny. Haha, he's commenting on the writer's strike and called it the makeup sex. Hehe. Commented that Vanity Fair cancelled their big Oscar party out of respect for the writers, so he said maybe they should actually INVITE the writers TO their annual Oscar party. That's funny right there, I don't care who you are.

He remarked how many of the Oscar-nominated movies are about psycopathic killers. "Does Hollywood need a hug?" "All I can say is thank God for teen pregnancy." Funny stuff. Just referred to Javier Bardem as Hannibal Lecter with Dorothy Hamill's wedge cut.

Norbit got a nomination for makeup. "Too often, the Academy ignores movies that aren't good." I laughed out loud at that one.

Diablo Cody, nominated for the Juno script, used to be a stripper. Man, that's gotta be an interesting story. She's very pretty, interesting looking, black bob with bangs, and some tats. And that's a cool name. Totally.

Gaydolf Titler. Hahaha. Too long to explain, but it involved a joke about Barak Hussein Obama overcoming his name.

Okay, the awards are starting. On to the next blog.

Hooray for Hollywood: Part Trois

Now for ABC's Oscar Red Carpet coverage. I don't think this is live, but it might be. Not sure. Regis Philbin is the host, which is interesting, since his show is on another network.

They are doing little film bio pieces on the nominees. George Clooney is up now. Yeah. That man is a REAL movie star. He looks a million times better than he did when he was young. And he's so funny. Classic tux, what more do you need? That doubles his appeal for me. He has his girlfriend with him, who looks much younger. She didn't say anything. Boring dress.

Marion Cotillard is up now. Haven't seen that movie. Her dress looks like a mermaid - fish scale designs and all. It's Gaultier. No wonder. He's kinda weird. She's very pretty and French looking. French women have a particular look, hard to describe but it's there.

John Travolta and Kelly Preston. Nice couple. Love him, even if he is a Scientologist. He looks good, very short hair, I like it. And he was great in Hairspray. So funny. Kelly's dress is bright golden yellow. Not so much.

Laura Linney's piece is up. Haven't seen Savages yet but I want to. She and Philip Seymour Hoffman are two of the finest actors around today. She's really got a lot of range, and is very pretty in a "real person you might know" kind of way. Class black satin strapless dress. Nothing special, but looks good on her.

Javier Bardem. Yeah. That man was so scary and creepy in No Country for Old Men, with that icky hair. He's VERY handsome in real life, and very Spanish. Speaking of accents. Yeah. And dimples. Mmmmm hmmm, that's what I'm talkin' about. He should win tonight - I'll be shocked if he doesn't. He's already won several awards. He's dating Penelope Cruz. Can you imagine how beautiful those babies would be?

Here's Miley again. HER ponytail would totally win in a throwdown with Cameron's ponytail. I'm just sayin.

Ooooh, Dr. McDreamy's hair. Nuff said.

Jennifer Garner is on again. Wow, her boobs (which aren't that big)are about to pop out the top of that black dress. Hope we don't have a wardrobe malfunction.

Daniel Day-Lewis and his wife (who is a playwright) are on. I am always amazed when I see him in person - he's very softspoken and modest, completely and totally different from the larger-than-life characters he tends to play. Very handsome in a rugged sort of way. His wife has on a hideous black dress with some weird red straps. Big ole black broach looking thing in the middle. Ick.

Ellen Page is up now. Juno is a fantastic movie - everyone should see it. She looks very pretty. Simple updo, nice makeup. She's not a glam girl, so I'm glad to see she's dressed up for the occasion. She just turned 21. Very smart. Black dress, kinda plain and simple.

Oh my gosh. Regis just said "Xavier Bardem." What an idiot. Jack Nicholson is on the front row. In his dark dark glasses. As usual. WHY is he on the front row? He's not nominated. I think they just like to get his facial expressions.

Okay, that's it. The show's about to start!

Hooray for Hollywood: Part Deux

I'm back. Helen Mirren is talking to Ryan. What a class act. So funny and very un-Hollywood. Looks great, simple blonde bob, lovely red dress. Red seems to be the major color tonight.

Don't blog about guys much - I mean a tux is a tux, just notice the weird ones. But Sean Combs is on and looks good. He was on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun, and then they made a TV movie out of it. I would not be surprised if this guy has a successful movie career. People make fun of him, but he is a savvy businessman.

Here's Cameron again. Yeah, that hair is a mess. She keeps having to brush it out of her eyes. But the dress is pretty. Blondes look so good in pink. Very simple, blush colored makeup too. Someone will say it's bland I'm sure, but I like it. She has the greatest smile.

Ew, Hilary Swank has an old-lady French twist. What the heck? She usually looks great! Haven't seen her dress yet. Okay, still don't like the hair, but the earrings are great and the dress is nice. One shoulder black Versace.

Good Lord! Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) is not particularly attractive anyway, and she has bright red hair and pretty much NO makeup, that I can see. And a severe, ugly black dress. Is she TRYING to look blah? Like, "I'm a SERIOUS THESPIAN, therefore I don't NEED to look glamorous." Meh. Her hair is nice, but that's it. Great actress, nominated for Best Supporting Actress and well-deserved (a creepy part), but sheesh. Every barn needs some paint, especially the pale red-headed ones.

In contrast, Anne Hathaway, another pale girl with very dark hair, is wearing a bright red dress (more with the red) and dark eye makeup and red lipstick. Very striking on her. It's workin'.

Jennifer Hudson, white dress is okay, but it just emphasizes her large bosom. Not really doing anything for her if you ask me.

Wow, Colin Farrell is there with his mother, who is just beautiful. Man, I wonder how old she is. She looks about 40, but that's not possible. Dang. And again with the gorgeous Irish accents. My friend Julie is loving this, I can bet! Colin's hair is a bit long but he looks very handsome, as usual.

Casey Affleck was so great in The Assassination of Jesse James and Gone Baby Gone. He is married to Joaquin and River Phoenix's sister, Summer. I'd forgotten that. She's quite pretty. He's a great actor, but not the most attractive man.

Hmm. Renee Zellwegger has really short, very blonde hair. Not sure how I feel about it - need to see it some more. Just got a glimpse. Silver dress. Too little color for her pale self. She needs some color on her face and body. The hair is just not right for her, though I like the style.

Katherine Heigl is totally working the Marilyn Monroe Old Hollywood glamour look. Again with another red dress, off the shoulder, looks fabulous with her platinum hair. Red lips, minimal eye makeup, 40s hair. She looks fabulous.

Viggo Mortenson has a nasty looking beard, but he's there with his daughter. She looks ethnic, wonder if she is. Very cute. He's another great actor who is not great looking but sometimes looks good.

I think the preshow is almost over. Gonna stop here and tend to a couple of things, and I'll be back for my Oscar blog(s).

Feel free to comment if I missed anything of note.

Oh, a disclaimer. I usually pride myself on my spelling and grammar. However, I'm blogging this in real time so I'm not going back and checking. Feel free to point out errors.

Hooray for Hollywood

IT'S OSCAR NIGHT! FINALLY! Didn't think it would happen, and now it's here. I look forward to this night every year. I LOVE THE MOVIES! And I love those awards show blogs that give a blow by blow, so here's my version. I won't blog about every single person, just the ones who strike me for one reason or another, either gorgeous or fugly.

I have watched the Academy Awards EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. since 1960! Top that! I was worried when the writer's strike seemed to be threatening the Oscars going on this year. I cannot imagine a year without this annual ritual for me, the biggest movieholic I know. I was raised on Silver Screen and other movie magazines (precursors to the tabloids of today, with more pictures and less scandal). I love movies, I love movie stars. I don't love all the trashy stuff of Hollywood, don't get me wrong, but I love the wonderful universe of film, for the same reason I love books.

I was at a theater last night watching There Will Be Blood. I HAD to see it, it was the only Best Picture nominee I had not seen. First time in forever I've seen them all. I was sitting there in the dark, thinking to myself, "This is absolutely one of my favorite places to be - in a dark theater watching a great movie." Watching them at home is nice and comfy, but nothing takes the place of the anticipation as a film starts up in a darkened theater and you are transported for that couple of hours. There's something about that environment that allows me to completely escape into the film.

So, here goes. This is just for me, and my few readers, cuz I LOVE THE MOVIES!

E! Red Carpet Show:

Saoirse (sur-sha) Ronan, the young Irish actress from Atonement (fabulously romantic and tragic film - reading the book now), and nominated for Best Supporting Actress, is on. She had a blonde bob in the film, has her dishwater blondish hair in a severe ponytail. Not a good look, though she's quite lovely and fresh - barely any makeup, as is appropriate for a young girl. But her dress, though it's Alberta Ferretti, looks like it's made of green nylon and reminds me of my mother's 60s nightgowns that I used to play dress-up in. Too bad. On the plus side, Ryan Seacrest just interviewed her and she's quite poised and has a beautiful, strong Irish accent. She had an American accent in the movie, and there's some serious talent there.

Another young one - Miley Cyrus. Looking very lovely with subtle age-appropriate makeup and her dark hair pulled back in a low ponytail, very elegant, and a smashing red Valentino column dress. She often sports too-long extensions, but this look is very understated, a little sophisticated for a 15 year old, but nevertheless she looks beautiful. Except for the huge chandelier earrings that are half the size of her head. Yuk. One of the few young ones left who is setting a good example for our teenage girls. So far. Hang in there Miley, don't let 'em change you. Love this -her mom is there with her, and telling a story that she was grounded last time Ryan interviewed her because she had a shirt that was too short and she didn't change it right when her mom said to. You go, Mom! What a great example and keeping it real!

James McAvoy (Atonement). Another lovely Irish accent. Love me some accents. He's very short. Shorter than Ryan, and that's pretty darn short. Good actor.

Jessica Alba, pregnant, in a gorgeous burgundy strapless empire waist gown, simple makeup and hair. I just love it when stars put their hair up in a very simple, almost careless updo. Very sexy. Wish my hair would do that. Of course it's short. . .

Amy Adams, from Enchanted, Talladega Nights, Junebug, The Office. Delightul, hilarious comedienne. Very pretty redhead. Dress - meh. Not bad, just not memorable. But so pretty and sweet. I predict a big future for her.

Ruby Dee, from American Gangster. She's 80-someodd years old! Sheesh! I don't look that good now! Her salt and pepper hair is stylishly short and tousled, and she's very slim, and wearing a beautiful tomato red sheath dress. So elegant. That woman is class embodied. Her part in the film was small but very powerful. She's a favorite to win, as a sentimental favorite for her body of work. I'm actually rooting for Amy Ryan from Gone Baby Gone, but I would not be surprised if Miss Ruby wins.

Jennifer Garner just glows. That girl has the most glorious complexion, and dimples. Haha, Gary Busey just stepped in to speak to Laura Linney (also looking very lovely), who's standing with Jennifer, and Ryan asked him if he knew Jennifer, and he said oh no, how are you and gave her a huge, awkward hug. Wow that was WEIRD. But Gary Busey is weird, always has been. Anyway, Jen's hair. Another sexy, almost like I just threw it up there cuz I just don't care hairdo, but a little too in the face. And the nude lipstick kinda looks like she put the foundation on and then forgot the lipstick. Dark strapless dress, mermaid bottom, not feeling it.

Keri Russell is wearing a nude strapless dress. Very pretty, matches her coloring well. Another updo. Loved her in Felicity, and in Waitress. Lovely girl.

Kristin Chenowith from Wicked and Pushing Daisies - that girl has an impressive rack for such a tiny person. She's not quite five feet tall, but she has on a strapless dress and the girls are on display (but not in a tacky way). So cute and hilarious.

Cameron Diaz in a beautiful pink dress. But the hair - oh Cammie, a messy ponytail and bangs in your face? Sorry, casual updo is one thing, but this looks like you were running late and skipped the hair chair. But I love her anyway.

Commercial Time. Posting this. Putting cookies in oven. Be back for Part Deux.

Shameless Book Plug

Here's a shameless plug for a new book by one of my favorite new authors, coming out this month. I am entering a contest by posting this, and I might win a signed copy of this wonderful book, OR possibly an AUDIO book (my favorite kind). I guess it's not totally shameless, though. I mean, yes, I might win something, BUT I'm also helping spread the word to my two or three readers (one of which already knows about Joshilyn, but I digress) about this wonderful author who, by the way, writes the funniest blog ever. I just got done laughing out loud to her latest post about the non-dessert banana bread. See a link to her blog, Faster than Kudzu, to the left. So, BUY THIS BOOK when it comes out. You will be glad you did!

Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the very literal family skeleton stays buried or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neat and on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 14-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne.

The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair. Shinin', gleamin', streamin', flaxen, waxen . . .

And if you don't recognize that song, you are NOT as old as ME!

In an odd coincidence (Jules?), I was contemplating what I might blog about, and I thought I might blog about my hair. Then, while awaiting a work-related email reply, I was skimming blogs, which is my favorite way to kill a few minutes (or hours). I read Elizabeth Berg's blog about her bad-haircut-related bad mood. May I just say, madame, I second that emotion! (Another song for OLD people - though I prefer "ripened" - or does that sound like almost stinky fruit?)

Let me begin by saying that I think my hair is probably my best feature. Not that I have tons of good features, but I have always had pretty good looking hair (except for a few unfortunate forays into perm-land in the 70s-80s and that one mulletish do which I believe they called a "bi-level" at the time). It's pretty thick, has quite a bit of body, and is sort of straight but has a little bit of wave. And the last few years, I decided to let my gray go free, and the result has been a really nice salt and pepper shade, a little more in the front, that I really love. It gets me lots of compliments, and some people even ask if I have it done that way. I just smile and tell them it's all God's handiwork. It is flattering to my complexion, and I now wear different colors than I used to, to go with my hair. Gray is the new blonde, or hadn't you heard?

So, I have worn my hair pretty short (think Sharon Stone or Winona Ryder's short cuts) for a number of years. This year, I decided I was a little bored with the shorty short cut, but I don't want LONG hair either, as I just think women of a certain age can't pull it off unless they are models or movie stars. I just wanted a bob sort of like Katie Holmes has been sporting (without new scary bangs). Her hair is a little curlier than mine, but her bob was sort of natural looking and went with some of her waves. My hair won't do the stick straight, slick and smooth bobs that you see, without the application of a lot of work with the flat iron, and I don't have time for that. That's the reason I had short hair all those years - I'm lazy. I want GREAT, FABULOUS, people think you just came from the salon hair, but I don't want to spend more than 15 minutes or less on it.

I have managed to survive the dreaded period when you are growing out short hair and can only manage matronly looking styles or looking like a teenage boy. My hair is now in a shortish bob shape, but the layers are in need of attention, because, as anyone who has done this knows, you don't want to cut ANY off while you are growing it out, so it's been quite a while. I have been trimming the nape myself, just to keep it in check. And I trim my bangs myself, as I just have learned how to do them the way I like them.

You know how it is when you get to that place where one day, your hair looks pretty good, and the very next morning, you suddenly need a haircut and your hair won't do a thing? Well, I reached that place about a week ago. But I was in search of WHAT exactly I wanted to do with it next, before I go to my daughter for a trim (Lindsay has gone to hair school, but does not work in a salon). She prefers that I have a picture so I can tell her EXACTLY what I want. I have, on a few occasions, gone to a stylist and just told them to do something interesting that they thought would look good on me, and the results were usually good. I'm pretty adventurous with styles. But that's a dangerous route to take with your kin . . . so we go with specifics. Works out better for both of us, believe me.

I bought a hairstyle magazine (I have a bunch, but I wanted something new) and found a style that I think will work with my hair. Basically all I need is to get the layers trimmed and texturized pretty heavily so they are choppy (I like funky, choppy hair, rather than a smooth, too-styled look - again, another reason why I kept it short), and the picture had some shorter angled bangs. I did the bangs this morning, tried a new way of drying it, since I was not happy with the way the round brush thing was making it look (it was faster too, bonus!). Also used a different combo of product (I am a TOTAL hair product junkie, so I have all sorts of concoctions in my cabinet, but that's a whole different blog).

Pretty happy with the results, but I know I need that trim for sure now. It's a little round-head looking at the moment. Not a good look if you already have the round, I've gained weight and my face is sagging, look going for you. Going tomorrow, and praying that with the trim I can get my hair to at least sort of look like the photo, which is pretty cool. I wish I could find the pic online so I could post it here.

I will update tomorrow after the trim and we will see if I'm in a GOOD mood or a BAD mood! Elizabeth is totally right, a bad haircut can really bum you out, especially if it's your best feature. I mean, what else do you have to work with after that? I can't exactly put the girls on display (my hubby would say *they* are my best feature, but they are for his eyes only . . . hehe). So my hair's gotta be workin' it for me. I refuse to have old lady hair. If I was younger, I'd have freaky colored streaks or something.

BUT, as Elizabeth also pointed out, there is so much happening in the world that really puts anything to do with personal appearance squarely where it belongs - in the NOT REALLY IMPORTANT column. In this election year, it is exciting to see that so many people are actually talking about issues, talking about change, talking about where we might go from here. It's about time. We can't go on the way we have been, no question about that. Maybe I'll blog about that next.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Two Films and a Confession

Hey, this is my 100th POST!! An actual milestone . . . yay me!

I watched two very, very different films over the weekend, and each of them affected me in very different ways. I loved them both, a lot, and they both resonated in my mind long after the credits rolled. I guess that's really what any filmmaker strives for - that elusive thing that makes a movie memorable, that makes people want to watch it more than once and tell their friends they just HAVE TO see this movie.

The first was Across the Universe. I did NOT want to see this movie. I had seen the previews numerous times, and it just looked too trippy dippy for me. AND, most important, I LOVE the Beatles, and I am a Beatles purist. I really don't want to hear ANYONE sing a Beatles song other than the original Beatles recordings. The Beatles were the soundtrack of my youth - I watched them on the Ed Sullivan show when I was 9 years old and fell in love. Their albums and their films A Hard Day's Night and Help are burned into my memory. Just hearing a few lines can conjure up scenes, people, moments. I remember what I was doing when I heard that John Lennon had been murdered. So, needless to say, the Beatles are on a pretty big pedestal for me, and I don't like anyone messing with their genius.

But, Andy (my 17 year old) saw it, loved it, and had been bugging me incessantly to watch it with him, promising, swearing, that I would love it. Then Lindsay (my 27 year old) started in on me about it, and she had been a huge Beatles fan since she was a young teen. I could not get away from this movie. So finally, I bargained with Andy that I'd watch it with him if he would watch Hairspray with me (a movie I had been bugging HIM about, promising, swearing, that he would love it). Plus, he had finally watched Lonesome Dove with me after many years of refusing (and he liked it - hah!).

I am here to confess - I WAS WRONG. Boy, was I wrong. I was prepared to dislike the music and think the story was silly and cheesy. But from the opening scene where Jim Sturgess sings "Girl," sitting on a lonely, windswept beach, and looking straight into the camera in a closeup, I was hooked. Julie Taymor (the director) has somehow managed to craft a story, weaving in and around many Beatles songs, using the songs to advance or illustrate the story, just like in any musical. She has managed to find amazing singers and has worked with music directors to help her singers interpret these oh so familiar songs in new, fresh, and completely wonderful ways, so that they are not imitations of Beatles tunes, but a whole new vision of them. I was mesmerized, delighted, and awed at the visionary film she created, at turns cute and funny and melancholy and tragic and deep and heartbreaking and joyful. It's a love story at its heart, set in the mid- to late-60s - MY time, a time that shaped who I am.

Cast almost entirely with unknowns (at least to film), except the female lead, Evan Rachel Wood (who has only really done teen roles before now), this film should launch several careers. Most notable is Jim Sturgess, a charming Brit with smiling eyes and a beautiful, pure voice and great acting skills; and Dana Fuchs, who plays a Janis Joplinesque character and just blows off the screen with her larger than life presence and huge bluesy voice. She just tears it up. And Evan Rachel Wood has a gorgeous voice that seems to meld perfectly with the beautiful melodies of Lennon and McCartney, from early pop tunes to the sad Blackbird. There are cameos by Joe Cocker (didn't recognize him but for that voice), Eddie Izzard in a crazy, Monty Python-like musical number, Salma Hayek, and Bono, who also looks pretty different but again, has that familiar voice. If you watch it, be sure to watch the special features about the casting and how Julie Taymor brought her vision to life. This movie was such a delightful surprise, I will be buying a copy, and we've ordered the soundtrack. Who knew? I was wrong. Now to get Andy to watch Hairspray . . .

The second film was Gone Baby Gone. I had wanted to see this in the theaters, but it was only showing in far North Dallas in a couple of theaters. I bought it unseen, which I rarely do, but I had read enough about it to know it was a movie I wanted to own. Ben Affleck directed the movie, and Casey Affleck is the star. He has had a great year in movies, between this and the Jesse James movie (for which he received an Oscar nom, well-deserved in my opinion). It is a melancholy story about a missing little girl, and Casey plays a private eye called in by the family (along with his girlfriend/partner) to help find her. The girl's mother is a woman of questionable moral character - well really, bluntly, she's a really crappy mother. So, though her daughter is missing, it's hard to be sympathetic for her pain, and you even wonder if it's real.

Brilliantly brittle and harsh performance by Amy Ryan (also Oscar-nominated for this film). Morgan Freeman (anything he does is informed by his innate dignity), Ed Harris (one of my personal favorites), and a number of other lesser known actors are all wonderful, but in this movie, the story is the thing. The film is raw and real and populated not only with actors but with some real people from the Boston neighborhood where it's filmed. The Affleck boys grew up in the Boston area, so they know how to make it real on film. The story takes a number of twists and turns, and I won't say much more so I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it. It presents, at the end, a really thought-provoking moral dilemma about which "right" is really the best "right" choice. Does a bad mother feel the same pain of loss as a good one? The choices we make, right and wrong, make us who we are. Not a happy feel-good movie, but a gritty, real film with a complicated story and no easy resolution.

Two very, very different films, but both dealing with choices that, once made, can take life in a different direction, and with stories and characters that will get inside your head and heart. One will make you sing and smile and cry, and one will make you think about what you might do if confronted with a similar dilemma. I'd recommend them both.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Beauty of Words

Just finished watching A River Runs Through It, which is on my top 20 list of favorite movies of all time. It is breathtakingly photographed, brilliantly cast and acted, and is by turns melancholy, tragic, eloquent, joyful, and deeply true - a story about the bonds of family and the meaning of love, love of family, and the love of God, and our spiritual connection with nature, illustrated through the use of fly fishing as both sport and metaphor. The score (by the incomparable Mark Isham) is simple and beautiful, particularly "The Moment That Could Not Last" and "In the Half Light of the Canyon," played at key moments in the film, makes my throat and heart squeeze with emotion.

The story is taken from a semi-autobiographical novella by author Norman Maclean, about his life growing up in Montana. The narration by Robert Redford (also the director) is perfection. This is the final bit of narration of the film, taken directly from the book. Every single time I get to this point in the movie, I am brought to tears by the beauty of these words, the beauty and tragedy of the film, and the wonder and mystery of our humanity and God's creation.

But when I am alone in the half light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul, and memories. And the sounds of the Big Black Foot River, and a four count rhythm, and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Identity Crisis

So, my friend Julie had these little personality tests on her blog, and I decided to follow her advice and take them. I am one of those people who has a lot of trouble with personality tests, because either (a) I don't really know who I am, or (b) who I am is subject to change depending on my mood. I say this because there are almost ALWAYS at least two, if not more, answers that I feel equally apply. Sometimes I go with my first instinct, but usually as I read down the list, I go "yeah,that one;" "okay, no, THAT one;" and so on. Sooooo, I took these two tests a couple of times each, with the various answers I liked. The first time on the superhero one I came up with the same as Julie, and we are very different, so I tried again and came up with this answer. I have NO IDEA which one really reflects me, but I like this one, so I'm going with it. I think it is more me than the other one. As far as the puppy one, well, frankly, I didn't care for the first two puppies, and basically by choosing the various answers that all were right for me, I came up with three different breeds. Maybe I have a multiple personality? (BTW, the other dogs were Boston Terrier, and chihuahua [whaaaa?]) You be the judge. . .

Your Superpower Should Be Manipulating Electricity

You're highly reactive, energetic, and super charged.
If the occasion calls for it, you can go from 0 to 60 in a split second.
But you don't harness your energy unless you truly need to.
And because of this, people are often surprised by what you are capable of.

Why you would be a good superhero: You have the stamina to fight enemies for days

Your biggest problem as a superhero: As with your normal life, people would continue to underestimate you

You Are a Beagle Puppy

Cheerful, energetic, and happy go lucky.
And you're sense of smell is absolutely amazing!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Click Here to LOL

If you love cats, or even if you don't, you MUST go to I Can Has Cheezburger, which is the most hilarious collection of pictures, mostly of cats, EVER. Good for a belly laugh, I promise, or your money back.

Here's my favorite for today:
sup cat
moar funny pictures

Just go to if you need a quick lift for the day, or just want to laugh your . . . whatever off!

Frakkin genius!

Just when you think they are total monkeys . . .

Today I was shopping at Target with Lindsay and both of my grandkids, Sam (4 1/2) and Jillian (19 mos). Lindsay has been sick for several days and just feeling pretty lousy, and not getting much rest, as you can imagine. We were heading to checkout, and passing the endcap with all the flower bunches, Sam plucked one out and began carrying it toward the front. I told him he needed to put it back, to which he replied "But these are for MOM!" I asked if he wanted to buy those for Mommy, and he said "Yes, they will make her feel better." He ran over to tell her he was getting her some flowers to make her feel better, and of course we both nearly lost it right there.

We got in another line, paid for the flowers (not the most fragrant in the display, but he chose them - purple mums), and he went back over to Mommy, who was checking out her groceries. He made a little bow, and then got down on one knee and presented the flowers to his mother. She nearly started crying again, as did I, and probably the cashier too. (I knew all those Disney movies would pay off . . .)

What a sweet and touching gesture. Just when we think our boys are a lost cause of rowdy, uncouth behavior and loud, inappropriate outbursts, they go and melt our hearts with a tender moment. Maybe this will buy him some grace next time he decides to break all the eggs in a bowl, practicing to be Ratatouille . . . but that's another story . . .

I've Got a Crush on You, DVR . . .

So yeah, we finally broke down and got a new service for our Internet and TV, and got a DVR, and I'm in luuurrrrrvve. Wanna record your favorite show? Why certainly ma'am, just push this little button here, find your show, push this other little button here, then push it again and you're all set! No more putting in the start and finish time, making sure it's on the right channel, making sure it's on SLP so you don't run out of tape, wondering after you are gone from home if you put in the right times, trying to figure out what show is on which tape and making sure you don't tape over something you haven't watched . . . WELCOME TO THE 21ST CENTURY, BABY GIRL!

We have been faithful cable TV customers for many years, and have always been happy enough with that, though over the years as the company changed hands and they jacked with my available channels, I have had Bravo taken away and given back, same with TCM, and had AMC taken away, just about the time it started actually have great TV series on (well, maybe that was the reason it became a premium channel, but you get my drift). We looked into digital cable, but just never made the switch. Our cable provider charges a monthly fee for DVR usage, and that just sorta sat wrong with me.

So a couple of weeks ago, I called AT&T to inquire about an error on my bill, and a very professional and polite young man helped me and then asked if he could tell me about their new service, U-Verse. I said sure, what the heck, and of course it was very appealing to me and the price was right, especially with all of the rebates and free stuff they are offering right now, including a DVR with no fee. Also, no contract, meaning if we don't like it, we can just switch back to cable or whatever. No fuss, no muss. Tryyyyy it, you'll LIIIKE it! I must say this guy's professional and helpful demeanor played a BIG part in my deciding to try out this service.

During the two weeks that passed between that conversation and my installation appointment, I waffled a bit, worrying about whether everything would work the same (I am really a creature of habit), and whether I could learn to work the DVR so I can record my shows (if you know me, you know I am a TVholic and so I JUST MUST see my shows). And right now, I'm trying not to watch online in support of the WGA strike, since they don't get any residuals from programs watched online, which is just plain WRONG! And cross your crossables (thanks, Joss Jackson) that the strike is about to be over, according to the scuttlebut. But I digress . . .

Monday, a very nice installation guy showed up at my house. They had told me between 5 and 8 hours for installation, which seemed really long to me, but when I saw all he had to do, I could see why. Won't go into all that here except to say that we have five TVs, and three of them are on a splitter since our house didn't have enough cable outlets, and so this big (well over 6 feet) man had to crawl around on the floor and in my attic getting this stuff all hooked up correctly, as well as do a bunch of stuff outside. He asked me several questions I could not answer, and had to call Hubby to find out, and he was consistently polite and patient and, again, very professional. Even wore SHOE COVERS on his shoes! Wow. I told him he didn't have to, as we have DOGS, and our floor is NEVER clean, but he said they are required to as some customers are picky about that stuff.

This poor man was trying so hard to complete my installation, which was complicated somewhat beyond the usual, to say the least, and his supervisors kept CALLING him, I mean like at least 10 times during the 7 hours he was here, wanting to know how far along he was. I wanted to grab the phone and tell them he would be done sooner if they'd JUST STOP CALLING. I guess I can see why they want to have fast installation times, but he was more interested in installing it CORRECTLY, so our service would be good, and I for one really appreciated that. I'm thinking of calling their customer service line just to praise his good work and great attitude.

So, he showed me the features on the TV service and DVR, and I just kept saying "Cool!" to everything he showed me. Just so simple. AND, BONUSSSSSSSSS! I can program the DVR to record something FROM MY COMPUTER! WHEN I'M NOT THERE! And Jay can do it from his FREAKING PHONE (which gets Internet). That's just so COOOOOOLLL! "Oh honey, could you set the DVR to record Lost?" says me while we are at the mall . . . Oh yeah, I'm in love.

I can record up to four shows at once. And, if I need to record more than that - well, it COULD happen - once the writer's strike is settled, I can always watch some of my shows online (they are not all available). The only small catch is that we have to program our other devices (VCRS, DVD players) ourselves, but I think we'll be able to do that - it looks pretty simple. Ooh, ooh, AND, we can create a FAVORITES list of channels so we don't have to scroll through channels we don't have or don't ever watch. AND, I have the Independent Film Channel, which just rocks the house. Whooo, take a breath Gail. It's only TV. We also have new and faster Internet service. All for a little less than what we've been paying for cable and Internet that often gives me slow or nonexistent service just when I need it most.

Don't think I'm clueless that I may be the last, or nearly last, of my friends to GET a DVR, and maybe the only person I know still taping stuff on a VCR (except for my BFF Julie), so this is new to me and old hat to most of you, but anyways I'm excited. So don't rain on my parade!

So, me and my DVR are in love. I'm thinking of giving it a name . . . Any suggestions?