What is it about Bill Murray that inspires filmmakers to make sluggish arty movies revolving around his close ups and facial expressions? Last night I rented Broken Flowers. I believe I’ve seen this movie before – it was called Lost in Translation. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of independent film. But lately so many indies have been painstakingly slow, and a few appealing characters sprinkled within do not make up for two lackluster hours of my life at a snail’s pace. I never understood the Lost in Translation hype, regardless of my affinity for Murray or Scarlett Johansson. (Aside: I recently watched The Godfather Part III, which reminded me that Sophia Coppola made the right decision by not becoming an actress. As for directing – besides being aesthetically pleasing, both Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides did not impress me at all.) Bill Murray has played a variation on the same role for several years now, but at least Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums made me laugh and held my interest for the duration of the film. Be warned: Broken Flowers is a serious yawner, almost on par with The Life Aquatic.

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I used to watch ER religiously. The episode where Noah Wyle and Kellie Martin got stabbed stands out in my mind as one of the most dramatic and compelling moments in the show’s history. I’m not sure when I lost interest, but it was probably when Friends ended, making Thursday a not-so-Must See TV night. I shouldn’t be surprised by how much I love Grey’s Anatomy, considering my affection for Scrubs. I was sure that an hour-long ‘dramedy’ wouldn’t work well in a hospital setting, but clearly I was wrong. It is a guilty pleasure Sunday night soap opera; Nip/Tuck without the gore, ER with a sense of humor. When the interns christened the love triangle arrival of Dr. Sloan as McSteamy last night, it was perfect. And any ambivalence you had about Meredith will soon transform into anger, as we watch her lead on and absolutely demolish poor lovesick George, one of the most likeable characters on television in years 

Does anyone else feel that Desperate Housewives is heading downhill this season? Is it a simple sophomore slump or is their reign over?  Frankly, it seems like the show can’t decide if it is a comedy or drama. We can only take so many of Susan’s pratfalls, of Andrew’s is-he-or-isn’t-he an evil son, and of Gabriella’s doses of double-standard jealously. The only highlight each week remains the interaction of the Scavo family, led by Felicity Huffman’s fabulously real Lynette and Doug Savant’s seemingly emasculated Tom.

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There is serious momentum behind Crash, especially now that it is a Best Picture contender. I am flummoxed by its popularity. Am I the only one who thinks it is overrated?! Fans of the film will argue that it ends realistically, that race relations continue to be unresolved and the discomfort is tangible. While I agree, in my opinion too many layers were rushed and force fed into two hours. Crash marked the big screen directorial debut of screenwriter Paul Haggis, who also wrote and received an Oscar nod for Million Dollar Baby. And to me, it seems obvious that a writer directed his own script for the first time.  


Sidenote: In the late 70’s, Haggis was a writer on One Day at a Time, The Love Boat, Diff’rent StrokesThe Facts of Life. He later and created Walker, Texas Ranger and wrote for primetime dramas such as thirtysomething and L.A. Law.

I continue to stand strongly behind Brokeback Mountain as the most deserving candidate for Best Picture of 2005, and one of the best of this decade thus far.

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First Impressions (may be subject to editing later, after sleep)


Worst Names for Celebrity Offspring

Gwyneth Paltrow is apparently naming her second child Capone. So fruit and notorious mobsters are strong influences in the Paltrow-Martin household. Apple and Capone Martin have no chance. I prefer to add an ‘i’ and call her daughter Apple Martini.


Pure Vanity: Best Looking

George Clooney. Muy handsome.

Scarlett Johansson. Wow.

Natalie Portman.

Keira Knightly.

Charlize Theron.

Hilary Swank.


One Word: Yikes

Mariah Carey.

Drew Barrymore. Bra much?

Adrien Brody.

Melanie Griffith.

Pamela Anderson. Is that a Baby Bjorn up top?


Needs a Sandwich

Renee Zellweger. Still.


Alanis Morrissette went blond. Not sure that was a good idea.


Felicity Huffman should win for Transamerica and I hope she steals the thunder once again from her Desperate Housewives cohorts. This is her year.


Best Supporting Actor. Clooney. Wow. Good for him. I thought Giamatti might slip in and win this one. George behaved himself and disappointed Republicans everywhere with his simple speech.


Best Supporting Actress. Please be Michelle Williams. Okay, random – Rachel Weisz won for The Constant Gardener. Fine. Be that way.


Go Piven! Of course anyone going against Paul Newman has little chance. But Entourage is Jeremy Piven’s show. As predicted, Newman won. Yawn.


So clever. Pairing the new Superman with Teri Hatcher to present. Yawn.


Best Supporting Actress. Yeah – Sandra Oh! Yeah – Elizabeth Perkins from Weeds! Winner? Sandra Oh!!! Sweet. She makes Grey’s Anatomy. Great speech! Very happy and sincere.


Best Actress – TV Series Drama. Crossing my fingers for Medium, Patricia Arquette. But…Geena Davis. No surprise. Everyone digs a successful first season and a female President. She’s no Hilary. Too tall. At least she was funny during her acceptance speech.


Ian McShane is a badass. Deadwood rules.


Best Actor – TV Series Drama. Dr. McDreamy. Foxy from Lost. Dr. House. Prison Break boy. Kiefer. Lots of Doctors. And one of them won. Another Brit. Hugh Laurie. No trophies for my Grey’s and Lost boys.


Penelope Cruz kind of looks like a drag queen. Seriously, her hair need its own zip code.


Has anyone actually seen The Producers?


Queen Latifah looks pretty good. Matt Dillon has not aged at all. He looks exactly like he did in The Outsiders.


Best Mini-Series. I thought that Empire Falls was very overrated. I know Newman & Woodward make it a sentimental favorite, but we were kind of bored watching it. And…it won. Again, no surprise. An ensemble cast does not guarantee the highest quality, and this series proves it.


Best Actor – TV Series (Comedy). Go Scrubs, Go Zach! Go Steve Carrell! Go Larry David! Go Jason Lee! Not so much, Charlie Sheen. Cool – The Office scores a victory! More people should watch this show.


Do you think that every time Tim Robbins appears on an awards show, there is a censor with a quick trigger-finger hovering above the red delay button?


I’m already over Jamie Foxx.


Best Actress – Movie or Musical/Comedy. Judi Dench, always a good bet. Hmm..Foxx mispronounced Laura Linney’s name. Geez. Reese will probably win for Walk the Line. And she did! She was the best part of that movie. She is darling.


Best Actress – TV Comedy. All 4 Desperate Housewives plus Mary Louise Parker. Chris Rock makes a Snoop Dogg joke about Weeds. Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, and Eva Longoria. And the winner is…Mary Louise Parker! That is a great show and I’m glad she beat out the ladies of Wisteria Lane.  


I love Emma Thompson.


Best Actor – Mini Series. Ed Harris, Kenneth Branaugh, Bill Nighy (so great in Love Actually), Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Donald Sutherland. Tough category. Winner? The youth – Meyers. Good casting as Elvis. Very thick Irish accept.


Best Actress – Mini Series. Halle Berry, Kelly Macdonald, S Epatha Merkerson, Cynthia Nixon, and Mira Sorvino (where has she been?). Merkerson won. She’s mainly known for her 16 years on the original Law & Order.  She’s 53 years old and this was her lead role (in Lackawanna Blues).


We’re almost to the halfway point in the show, and at least it’s been rolling along at a good pace.


Colin Firth. Sporting the scruff. Which is trendy right now. What, now all men wish they were Lost?


Harrison Ford and Virginia Madsen. In a new movie together. If they ever make Indiana Jones 4, Ford will clearly need a wheelchair.


Best Screenplay. Match Point, Good Night and Good Luck, Crash, Munich, Brokeback Mountain. Please be Brokeback…yes!! So beautiful. They deserve it for taking a 30 page story and translating it into an amazing film. Co-writer Larry McMurty clearly doesn’t get out much. He thanked his typewriter and his shirt collar was hanging out of his tux. But he’s one hell of a writer so all can be forgiven.


Best TV Series – Comedy. Curb! Desperate Housewives – not really a comedy. Entourage! Everybody Hates Chris. My Name is Earl. Weeds. Housewives win. I love how the male cast members had to make their way from the back of the room, whereas the lovely ladies jumped right up from their front table.


Best Foreign Language Film. Didn’t see any of them. I lacked culture this year. Paradise Now, from Palestine, won.


Best Original Score. Syriana. Chronicles of Narnia. King Kong. Brokeback Mountain. Memoirs of a Geisha. Winning score – Geisha. I haven’t seen any of these films besides Brokeback, and it was a haunting, beautiful score.


Why on earth is Mariah Carey presenting at the Globes? Oh, Best Original Song. Yes! Another victory for Brokeback. Song performed by Emmylou Harris. Written by Bernie Taupin.


Anthony Hopkins is going to get a Cecil B. DeMille Award. Personal favorites: The Silence of the Lambs, Shadowlands, The Remains of the Day.


Aside: I went to Cecil B. DeMille elementary school.


Gwynnie is delivering the tribute to Hopkins. Why, why, why must she refer to him as Antony? Where is Cleopatra? She bothers me to no end, on almost every level.


Best Director. Woody Allen. George Clooney. Peter Jackson. Ang Lee. Fernando Merielles. Steven Spielberg. Tough category. Globe goes to Ang Lee!


Awkward opening statement by presenter John Travolta – he thanked the male actors for raising the bar. Crickets. The audience didn’t know what to do with that.


Best Actor – Comedy or Musical. Pierce Brosnan. Jeff Daniels. Johnny Depp. Nathan Lane. Cillian Murphy. Jeff Daniels. Joaquin Phoenix. He wins! Phoenix needs to smile, or at least pretend he’s happy to be there and win. A nice pair of statues for Witherspoon and Phoenix for Walk the Line.


Best Film – Comedy or Musical. Mrs. Henderson Presents. The Producers. Pride & Prejudice (a comedy? really?). The Squid & the Whale. Walk the Line. A triple crown for Walk the Line! This bodes well for Oscar nominations.


Ah, the cast of Will & Grace. One last time. Debra Messing has fabulous red hair.


Best TV Series – Drama. Commander in Chief. Grey’s Anatomy. Lost. Prison Break. Rome. SWEET VICTORY! Lost wins!! The best show in years.


Best Actress – Drama. Felicity Huffman. Maria Bello. Charlize Theron. Zhia Zang. Gwyneth Paltrow. Another great win – Huffman!! She was unbelievable in Transamerica. She is so real and likeable. What a great speech.


Best Actor – Drama. Russell Crowe. Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Terrence Howard. Heath Ledger. David Straitharn. Capote wins! Well, as much as I loved Ledger in Brokeback, Hoffman is spectacular in just about everything he touches. Damn, I wish I would have seen this film!


Best Film – Drama. Brokeback Mountain. The Constant Gardener. Good Night and Good Luck. A History of Violence. Match Point. We all know who I’m rooting for. The Globe goes to Brokeback!!! I haven’t loved a film this much and wished for an Oscar for any movie for many, many years. Ang Lee is a genius. How does a man from Taiwan make a heart wrenching love story about two cowboys in the 60′s? He is just that talented and has an amazing eye.


Overall, a giant step in the right direction for gay characters on the big screen (Brokeback Mountain, Transamerica, Capote) and not too many surprise wins.


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Let me start out by stating that 2005 was not a strong year in film. The Academy Award nominations were not surprising, given the outcome of both the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Walk the Line is the most glaring omission in the Best Picture category. And while I appreciated Crash for the stellar performances of an impressive ensemble cast, in my opinion it is not Best Picture caliber. A History of Violence was a superior film from controversial director David Cronenberg, and Viggo Mortensen should have been a Best Actor nominee. Along the same lines, although Terrence Howard gives a career-altering performance in Hustle & Flow, it did not strike me as Oscar-worthy.  I am rooting for Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, but I realize that the Best Actor trophy is all but in the hands of Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote. Until now, Jake Gyllenhaal was snubbed for Best Supporting Actor nods, but he rightfully scored one for the big dance. Kiera Knightly is at the polar opposite spectrum of her career to Dame Judi Dench, who seems to get nominated for everything she does. Knightly’s first nomination is a throwaway, much as Renee Zellweger’s was for Bridget Jones a few years ago. Speaking of Judi Dench…it looks like William Hurt is this year’s Dench – a Best Supporting Actor nomination for about 10 minutes of scene-stealing screentime. Will voters reward Paul Giamatti with an Oscar in this category because he’s a sentimental favorite after losing two years in a row? I don’t know the answer, but I will tell you that Cinderella Man isn’t even on my rental radar. It’s a shame that more people didn’t see Transamerica, because Felicity Huffman is amazing, unrecognizable and mezmerising in this little indie gem. But Reese Witherspoon has transplanted Julia Roberts as America’s Sweetheart, and will probably take home the Best Actress Oscar, the first of many in her career. All bets are on Rachel Weisz for Best Supporting Actress, but there would be no Junebug without Amy Adams, and Brokeback would have been an entirely different movie without the intense emotional resonance of Michelle Williams. My vote for Best Director goes to Ang Lee for his small but beautiful and haunting film.

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