Wednesday, February 11, 2009

All the news that’s fit to stack up

I finally finished going through a pile of both Newsweek and Time magazines that got together around Christmas and decided to build a tower on my kitchen table as a tribute to themselves. The good thing about both periodicals is that you can skip through a majority of the articles because most of it is “old news” and not worth rehashing anyway. But on occasion, I’ll catch something of interest that will allow me to fill up a post because I’ve been slacking off on my movie watching as of late.

Daniel Lyons has an amusing column in the latest edition of Newsweek entitled “Time to Hang Up the Pajamas” whose moral can be stated thusly: “I also came away with a sneaking suspicion that while blogs can do many wonderful things, generating huge amounts of money isn't one of them.” Well, that kind of puts the kibosh on my plans to build a financial empire, I guess.

But with Oscar season upon us, many blogs and magazines will succumb to the craziness and fill their space with Academy Awards content—Newsweek, of course, being no exception. This photo essay might be of some interest to TDOY readers, covering a variety of “Oscar snubs”: performers who should have been seriously considered for the little gold statuettes but were either overlooked when the nominations came out or lost out when the Oscars were being passed out. Of the ones listed here, I thought #2 was particularly risible; the authors of the article complain that Katharine Hepburn’s turn in Bringing Up Baby was snubbed in favor of Bette Davis’ performance (a consolation prize for losing the casting race in Gone With the Wind) in 1938’s Jezebel. Keep in mind that Hepburn ended up with a total of four of the damn things, so I don’t know what they’re bellyaching about. (Also, the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio was not nominated for 1997’s Gigantic Titanic is probably one of the reasons for my persistent insomnia, he noted sarcastically.) The #1 snub goes to Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz (the film, the authors note, “helped establish the movie as Lesson One in film school”) and even though I’ve seen Oz many, many more times than Gone With the Wind it’s hard to argue that Vivian Leigh wasn’t the better actress that year. (Garland had a stronger case in 1954 when she lost out to Grace Kelly, a robbery that Groucho Marx once described as “bigger than Brink’s.”)

Speaking of Oscar contests, Vertigo’s Psycho at And Your Little Blog, Too is running a “For the Heck of It 2009 Oscar Contest,” a competition in which contestants pick the Oscar winners for 2009 and in so doing, have a chance to win fabulous prizes. There’s no entry fee, and the only thing you have to lose is a few minutes of your copious free time…which you’d probably spend surfing the Net anyway.

Couldn’t find much on TCM last night that I really wanted to watch—though I did enjoy a Joe McDoakes short, So You Want to Be in Pictures (1947), that came on around 11:45pm in between Enchanted April (1991) and Tunes of Glory (1960). This one was a lot of fun: McDoakes has aspirations of being an ac-TOR and does funny impressions of Charles Boyer (“Hedy…hedy…”), Ronald Colman and Lionel Barrymore. But there are two laugh-out moments—one where “McDoakes” meets his alter-ego, actor George Hanlon…who pooh-poohs his director when the director notes the resemblance between Hanlon and “McDoakes.” (“That guy is clearly a lot older,” snaps Hanlon…and then gives a look to the camera that’s worth the price of admission.) The other is a surprise cameo from Self-Styled Siren fave Jack Carson, who tries to give Joe instructions in getting around the studio, failing miserably. I also watched a trio of movies via TCM on Demand: The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Naked City (1948) and Chinatown (1974; they finally got the freezing problem worked out)—but since I’ve covered all three of these films previously in older blog posts I’ll just note that they were most entertaining and thus ends my sermon for today.


Vertigo's Psycho said...

Thanks for mentioning my contest, Ivan, and please enter it if you get a few free minutes.

The Derelict said...

I wonder if whoever put together that Newsweek Oscar Snubs thing knows that Judy Garland actually got a special Oscar for Wizard of Oz as best juvenile performer of the year. Yeah, it wasn't the same as a *real* Oscar, but the Academy didn't exactly ignore her efforts either.

I'm mean, seriously, if there's ever been a no-brainer as far as acting awards go, Vivien Leigh in GWTW would be it. The movie's four hours long and she's in practically every scene. She wins for stamina alone! ;)