Friday, February 27, 2009

Crush of the Week: Marisa Tomei

This week's Crush is Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei. Have you seen her performance in The Wrestler? Damn!

Too bad she didn't get another statue on Sunday.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let me tell you, that only made the bees *more* agitated.

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." - William Shakespeare

I've been growing my winterbeard out for about three months now and, while I must confess that I look totally bitchin', I realize that I'm a bit too grizzly. See, except for my mustache* and one long, freaky bone-white hair sprouting from my chin, I haven't trimmed my beard at all. It got to the point where it started to curl. Not really wanting the Odysseus look just yet - I'm saving that for when I retire - I decided to clean myself up.

Figuring that it was my patriotic duty to stimulate the economy, I went to Bubba's Barbershop a few days ago and had one of the fine gentlemen who work there give me my first ever professional beard trim. The guy took a lot off, but at least now my face looks nice, neat, and presentable. Like a pair of freshly-pressed slacks.

Usually, I keep my winterbeard until Spring Break (Easter), when I have Fun With Facial Hair Week at the beach. But I think this year I'm going to keep it indefinitely. I'll probably rethink that decision come summertime, when the ungodly Virginia heat and humidity will have me wanting to rip it out at the roots with my bare hands.

In other beard news, right before the big trim I bought a new bottle of beard shampoo (this one by Beardsley) and a sweet tortoiseshell beard comb. Unlike my last bottle of shampoo, this one has a fruity smell to it and I'm not sure if I like that better or not. But it does the job and is a third cheaper yet twice the size of the Bluebeard stuff.

As for the comb, it won't be of much use until my winterbeard soon turns into a springbeard.

*How do people tolerate eating with those things? And having the flu, for that matter?

30 rock tumbler

Tonight's new episode of "30 Rock": "Larry King"

Jack considers taking the next step in his relationship with Elisa. Tracy causes mayhem across New York City after an appearance on Larry King Live. Liz sends Kenneth out to Queens, New York to find her lost cell phone.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oscar wrap-up

Well, I think we've all come down from our Oscar high (heck, the afterparty I was at just now ended) and it's time evaluate the ceremony itself. Going in, the producers said they wanted to shake things up. Did the changes work? My thoughts on those and some other stuff:

  • Hugh Jackman: I thought he did a good job. He wasn't Billy Crystal/Steve Martin-great, but he was funny enough and kept things moving. He certainly wasn't Whoopi-bad.

  • The dance numbers: The first one was pretty good, while the second one was God awful (even with Beyonce present). This night is supposed to salute film, not Broadway.

  • The action/comedy/animation montages: "Hey, here are the movies that actually make us money! Let's recognize them with some clips...but no statues."

  • The death montage: Seriously, they NEED to just cut the audience audio from the World's Most Morbid Popularity Contest. The sporadic bursts of applause are crass and a slap in the face to the lesser-known people who've passed. Queen Latifah's song was fine, but enough with the swaying screens and funky camera angles. Half of the time, you couldn't see who was being honored.

  • The Heath Ledger tribute: A nice moment marred by the fact that Michelle Williams wasn't on stage with the rest of his family. Sure, she's his ex-wife, but she's also the mother to his daughter. Maybe she was invited, but declined, though.

  • The revamped acting category presentations: These were by far the worst changes to the ceremony. Having five previous winners individually praise the five nominees slowed things down incredibly and, as unbelievable as it would seem, made the whole evening an even bigger self-important circle jerk. "Courageous" and "fearless?" Please. These are people who are paid millions to play dress up. I'd much rather see clips of the nominated performances than be told how the nominee changed the world for the better.

  • Political grandstanding: Aside from a few instances, Hollywood showed a great amount of restraint with their soapbox and I applaud them for that.

  • Best song mash-up: Interesting, but I prefer to hear each nominated song performed in its entirety. By concentrating these performances, we miss out on much-needed periodic bathroom breaks and you piss off Peter Gabriel. And that's something you just don't do.

  • Steve Martin and Tina Fey: Their presentation for the screenplay awards was the best part of the ceremony. They should co-host next year.

Unfortunately, the ratings are up this year from last year's lowest-ever rated broadcast, so there's the possibility some of these changes will stick.

Also, I'd like to congratulate Kate the Great and KPMD, who placed first and second, respectively, in my Oscar pool (I tied for second, as well). My 20-for-24 ballot was good enough to win srah's pool, though. All hail me!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm pulling for a "Love Guru" sweep

Here we go, folks. It's time for that annual Hollywood circle jerk known as the Oscars. The glitz! The glamour! The nigh-insufferable acceptance speeches! And since this is the first ceremony since the election of President Hope & Change Fear, we'll no doubt be subjected to our celebrity betters telling us how much they now love this country and that it's time they changed their selfish ways (really, what exactly stopped them from being productive members of society during the last eight years?). But I digress.

This year I've only seen three of the fifteen films represented in the Big Six categories: The Wrestler, Tropic Thunder, and The Dark Knight. So I come from a place of indifference and ignorance in regards to most of the nominees. I'd love to see Robert Downey, Jr. win, but Heath Ledger did a fine job as the Joker. And I'm really pulling for Mickey Rourke to win. His performance was phenomenal and if he takes the prize we'd likely get the added bonus of being treated to a highly entertaining speech to liven up the sure to be dull proceedings.

During the lulls in the proceedings, I'll most likely be following the live blogs at Big Hollywood, the A.V. Club, and MTV (only because it's written by David Wain).

Hey, here's an idea: Why don't we have our own live blog right here in the comments section? It's kinda crazy, but it just might work! Here you can predict the winners, talk trash in regards to your Oscar pool, complain about snubs (*cough*Gran Torino*cough*), get catty about the clothes, and bitch about Hugh Jackman.

Flight manifest

Tonight's new episode of "Flight of the Conchords": "Love is a Weapon of Choice"

Bret and Jemaine both fall for a woman whose missing dog has epilepsy, leading to a duel, a canine benefit and a couple of new tunes.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Song to get you through the weekend: "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová

The Oscars are tomorrow, so why not post the greatest Best Original Song winner ever (from the film Once)? Okay, maybe "White Christmas," "Moon River," and "Over the Rainbow" gives it a run for its money. What's your choice?

In related news, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's kinda sweet, kinda creepy relationship is over. Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not going full retard: my Oscar noms

The Oscars are this weekend and there's still some chattering about slights, undeserved nods, and whatnot. So, why not add my voice to the cacophony?

The Academy gives a token nod to the comedy genre every few years. Action movies are almost always relegated to the technical category ghetto. Bah! Not here. Having dwelled on this past year's films for literally minutes, I present the Micah World Alternate Reality Oscar nominations for the big six awards*:

Best Picture
The Wrestler
Gran Torino
Iron Man
The Dark Knight
Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler)
Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)
Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)

Best Actor
Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man)
Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Colin Farrell (In Bruges)
Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

Best Actress
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Elizabeth Banks (Zack and Miri Make a Porno)
Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)
Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Downey, Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
James Franco (Pineapple Express)
Danny McBride (Pineapple Express)
Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges)

Best Supporting Actress
Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler)
Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
Ari Graynor (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist)
Cate Blanchett (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
Julie Benz (Julie Benz)

Of course, this list is all for naught because Bill Brasky would surely end up winning every category.

1. Before panties are bunched, please recognize that this list is compiled only from the '08 movies that I've seen. There are still a bunch on my "to watch" list.
2. Admittedly, some of these nominations are included as category filler, but I shant reveal who they are. I will say that it seems that I watched a lot of dude-heavy movies last year.
3. The Academy always plays around with what's considered a lead performance and what's a supporting one, and so did I.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Requisites: Winter Movies

It's cold. Damn cold. And we still have a few more weeks of winter on tap. Why not hole up and watch a marathon of movies that revel in this dark yet glorious season? These films are especially necessary if you, like me, live in a place that is largely snow-challenged. They'll be the closest to a winter wonderland that you'll get. *sigh*

For this list I removed from consideration movies that deal with Christmas, either explicitly (sorry, A Christmas Story and Trapped in Paradise) or incidentally (my sincerest apologies, Die Hards 1 & 2). No, these films are all set in the icy thick of it.

So, brew a pot of coffee, throw on your Snuggie, and settle in for a long winter's vegging...

The Bourne Identity Who else kicks so much butt while wearing a mock turtleneck? No one, that's who.

Rocky Balboa A story of redemption and perseverance set against a wintry backdrop that makes Philadelphia look almost nice.

The Shining Cabin fever cranked to 11.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno Pittsburgh winters are rough. Why not, uh, huddle together for heat. And I've said it before: the glow from Elizabeth Banks' O-face should keep you warm well past these dark months.

The Thing Kurt Russell sports the mother of all winterbeards. And I imagine that this is where Wilford Brimley first recognized why a warm bowl of oatmeal is the cornerstone of a nutritious diet.

Wonder Boys Another wintertime Pittsburgh movie, but this one features Michael Douglas killing a dog and Robert Downey, Jr. wooing a tranny!

Groundhog Day For the pessimists: "I'll give you a winter prediction. It's gonna be cold. It's gonna be gray. And it's gonna last you for the rest of your life." For the optimists: "When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter." You make the call. Bing!

It just so happens that, while I've been working on this post here and there for a few days now, it snowed this morning. 'Tis kismet!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Micah World Top 25

Here they are, the top 25 songs burning up my iPod (as of 2.16.09):

1. "Passing Afternoon" - Iron & Wine
2. "Librarian" - My Morning Jacket
3. "Yardwork in November" - Actual Tigers
4. "Sellout" - Emmet Swimming
5. "Where Is My Mind?" - Pixies
6. "(Nothing But) Flowers" - Talking Heads
7. "Chewing Gum" - Annie
8. "Song Without a Chorus" - Butch Walker
9. "All Green" - Clem Snide
10. "I’m Walking This Road Because You Stole My Car (Don't Go)" - Fascinoma
11. "Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night" - The Fratellis
12. "Open Doors" - Josh Ritter
13. "Everybody But Me" - Lykke Li
14. "Sucked Out" - Superdrag
15. "Long Island" - That Dog
16. "Fists Up" - The Blow
17. "I Wasn't Really Drunk" - Eef Barzelay
18. "Bowie" - Flight of the Conchords
19. "Survival Car" - Fountains of Wayne
20. "Safe Within Your Arms" - Greg Garing
21. "Private Eyes" - Hall & Oates
22. "Enemy" - Jack Johnson
23. "The Temptation of Adam" - Josh Ritter
24. "Dangerous and Sweet" - Lenka
25. "It Had To Be You" - Motion City Soundtrack

Lots of shake-ups from the last list. Part of this is due to time (I haven't posted one of these since October) and part is due to technological tomfoolery. For some reason, my iPod's playcounts seem to reset willy-nilly. For instance, the last chart's #1 song - MGMT's "Time to Pretend" - is back to 1 play. Weird. Fix it, Steve Jobs.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Flight manifest

Tonight's Michel Gondry-directed new episode of "Flight of the Conchords": "Unnatural Love"

Jemaine starts dating an Australian, to Bret's dismay and inconvenience.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Song to get you through the weekend: "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds

I had lofty plans of throwing out my usual Valentine's Day cynicism and making yet another mixtape for you folks, but that fell through. Sorry.

Instead, I'm just going to post one of my all-time favorite ooey-gooey love songs: "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds. This is one of the few songs out there that makes me get all misty. I plan on standing strong and convincing my future-wife that this should be our wedding song*.

Happy Valentine's Day, young lovers.

*Never mind the fact that it was my cousin's wedding song and he's now divorced.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Crush of the Week: Naomi Watts

This week's Crush is actress Naomi Watts, lately of this weekend's The International.

I've only seen her in King Kong, The Ring, and I Heart Huckabee's and, in addition to some high quality actin', she looked fine in all of those (well, except for the part in that last one when she intentionally uglied herself up). I haven't seen Mulholland Dr., but I hear that she gives a great performance.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

30 rock tumbler

Tonight's new episode of "30 Rock": "St. Valentine's Day"

Not realizing it's going to be the ultimate lovers holiday, Liz insists her and Drew have their first official date on Valentine's Day; while Jack prepares himself for an unconventional Valentine's Day spent at church with girlfriend Elisa. Tracy tries to help Kenneth win the affections of a new staffer.


Office chatter

Tonight's new episode of "The Office": "Lecture Circuit (Part Two)"

Michael and Pam continue their tour of the branches with Michael taking a lesson from their visit to Utica. Dwight and Jim struggle to fulfill their new party planning duties with a grumpy staff. Angela's new cat causes a stir.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The poetry of Tony, Junior, Paulie, and the rest of the gang

the sopranos, uncensored. from victor solomon on Vimeo.

This guy made a compilation of every single swear word used during the entire run of "The Sopranos." It's surreal. After a while it becomes downright hypnotic.

Needless to say, this video is not safe for work.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quick movie reviews

The Wrestler: Quite simply, this is Mickey Rourke's triumph. His performance was excellent, eliciting much sympathy with his failure to let go of his glory days. And Marisa Tomei goes above and beyond as an aging stripper. I can't recommend this extremely moving film enough.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop: It's not high art. Heck, it's not even all that hilarious. But it's harmless and sometimes you just want to see Fatty make a funny AND land the cute girl, you know?

In Bruges: I really enjoyed this story of two hitmen laying low in Belgium, awaiting their next job. Colin Farrell was surprisingly emotive (this may be his best work; Sorry, Daredevil), Ralph Fiennes was humorously menacing, and Brendan Gleeson once again fails to disappoint. It's up for Best Screenplay at this year's Oscars. It's a shame that it has no chance.

Dan in Real Life: Based on the trailer, I wasn't expecting much, but this movie ended up surprising me. It's much more of a drama with some funny parts than a straight-up comedy. Maybe I'm just a big softie, but the scene with Steve Carell singing "Let My Love Open the Door" (especially the slowed-down last verse) to his brother's girlfriend really got me. Nobody plays the sad sack better than Carell.


Monday, February 09, 2009

If stimulus persists for longer than 4 hours, consult your physician

I feel bad for Jewish, Muslim, and other pork-averse Americans, as we're all about to be force fed a heaping helping of it. Sorry, future-grandkids!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Flight manifest

Tonight's new episode of "Flight of the Conchords": "Murray Takes It To The Next Level"

Murray tries to elevate Bret and Jemaine on his friendship graph, bringing his questioning pal Jim in on the plan; Mel demands an apology from Bret for inappropriate dream behavior.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Song to get you through the weekend: "Move You" by Anya Marina

The most recent CD that I've bought is Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II by Anya Marina and I'm really digging it. It's quite a departure from her previous (excellent) album; much less singer-songwritery and more alt-rocky (are those even real words?). An early contender for Album of the Year? Though such speculation is admittedly premature...yes.

Love the sweetly creepy vibe to the video.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Crush of the Week: Jayma Mays

This week's Crush is actress Jayma Mays, seen most recently in Paul Blart: Mall Cop. But I first took notice of her from her guest spot on "Heroes." She's just unbelievably cute.

It's always nice to see a fine woman from the Commonwealth hit the big time. The people of Grundy, VA, and Radford University must be proud.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

30 rock tumbler

Tonight's new episode of "30 Rock": "Generalissimo"

Liz meets her newly single, handsome neighbor, Dr. Drew Baird, after receiving his mail by mistake. Elisa's grandmother disapproves of her granddaughter's relationship with Jack due to his striking resemblance to a telenovela villain. Tracy goes partying with the new TGS interns, but he refuses to admit that he cannot keep up with them.


Office chatter

Tonight's new episode of "The Office": "Lecture Circuit (Part One)"

Michael goes on a speaking tour of the other branches to explain Scranton's relative success, accompanied by his driver, Pam. Karen is back with quite a surprise. Back at the office, Dwight and Jim - now the heads of the party planning committee - forget a birthday, with severe consequences. Meanwhile, Andy falls for someone he should not.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Well, it's about freakin' time

Even though we only got a slight dusting, it was still nice to wake up and see snow this morning. So nice that I made it a self-imposed snow day. Well, that and I'm still recovering from when I fell ill on Sunday night.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Flight manifest

Tonight's new episode of "Flight of the Conchords": "The Tough Brets"

After disparaging rappers in a song, Bret starts a gang when he fears for his safety; Murray endures a series of degrading encounters with members of the Australian consulate.


Office chatter

Tonight's new post-Super Bowl episode of "The Office": "Stress Relief"

After Dwight's fire safety seminar goes awry, he must make amends to the stressed-out office. Michael tries a number of ways to get his employees to relax before discovering that he is the number one stressor at work. So that people won't feel afraid of him, he insists on a no-holds-barred roast of himself. Also, while watching a pirated movie, Andy is convinced that Jim and Pam are film gurus.