Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 Oscar Recap: A Disappointing 11-13

Well, back to my losing ways.

Last week...I wrote about how I kicked major ass during last year's Oscar predictions.

This week...I fell flat on my face during this year's picks with an 11-13 record.


Couple notes about my losses:
  • I was very shocked by Hugo's Five Technical Awards including Cinematography!
  • I'm happy and sad that Girl With the Dragon Tattoo won best editing (thus increasing my consecutive losing streak to two)
  • I Screwed up Leading Actor and Leading Actress.
  • I Lost all three 'Shorts' selection.
Movies that I now want/need to see based on watching last night's telecast:
  • The Artist
  • Hugo
  • Undefeated (which won best documentary)
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris (which won best animated short)
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo
  • A Separation (which won best foreign language film)
That's about it. Lots of work to do today at work while I lick my wounds.
Oh by the way, the Oscars were very underwhelming. And, although, I lost a lot of the awards, very predictable. And, like today's editorial in the Washington Post states: I think we need some young blood injected into this select Academy group consisting of old, white men.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eimer's 2012 Academy Award Picks

First off, let me just say that no longer do I vote with my heart for these awards – because judging by past results - here, here and here - I’m always wrong.

However, after reading Freakonomics last year, I decided to take a statistical approach to solve the Oscar’s awards conundrum.

And, judging by last year’s17-7 record, I would say it worked.

So, with heart no longer hanging on my sleeve and tucked firmly behind my rib cage, I give to you – my loyal reader - my picks for the 2012 Academy Awards…

  • War Horse
  • Moneyball
  • The Descendants
  • The Tree of Life
  • Midnight in Paris
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Eimer Note: Haven’t seen The Artist, yet (in all honestly I've only seen five of the best picture nominees). However, it just seems to me this is the one to lose. Personally, I loved Moneyball, The Descendants and Midnight in Paris. But, I’m leaning towards The Artist. And what's with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close being nominated? Where's 50/50!

  • Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Eimer Note: I hear Meryl Streep knocked it out of the park in The Iron Lady. But Viola Davis is getting much deserved praise for her role in The Help. Plus, she won every other award out there including a coveted SAG award.

  • Demian Bichir, A Better Life
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Eimer Note: I’m going for Clooney to upset the favorite Jean Dujardin. Although I thought Pitt did a fantastic job in Moneyball, Clooney did an amazing job. In fact, I can’t wait to see this film again.

  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Eimer Note: Although it would be nice to see Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) pull in the gold, I’m going with Octavia Spencer for The Help. She already pulled in the SAG award, plus The Help is a good, wholesome story. Can’t see anyone else winning this one.

  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill, Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Eimer Note: I’m all for Jonah Hill getting this award. But he won’t. My vote is for Plummer who is a veteran screen actor that managed to get a plum role as an older, dying father who comes out of the closet after his wife dies. Very touching movie by the way.

  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo
  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Eimer Note: In the past 63 years, only six directors who received the Director's Guild's feature film award have NOT won the Academy Award. So, the odds have it for The Artist director.

  • Michel Hazanivicius, The Artist
  • Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids
  • J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
  • Asghar Farhadi, A Separation
Eimer Note: Damn, do I wish 50/50 was on this list. What a pity, because it was a great fucking film with great acting and great direction. Check it out. That said, I’m going with Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris. The reason, it’s a movie that celebrates writing and the writer’s of our past. Plus, it’s well acted and, well, original!

  • Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants
  • John Logan, Hugo
  • George Clooney, Beau Willimon and Grant Heslov, The Ides of March
  • Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin, Moneyball
  • Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Eimer Note: I’m going with The Descendants. Usually, the runner-up best picture candidate gets one of these awards. And, I’m thinking, they’ll honor this Payne’s film with this award rather than best picture (which it probably deserves).

  • Bullhead
  • Footnote
  • In Darkness
  • Monsieur Lazhar
  • A Separation

Eimer Note: Everyone that has seen A Separation, has loved it. Also, it has made almost every film critics 2011 top-ten list. Again, I haven’t seen it, but I feel the wave is riding for A Separation.

  • A Cat in Paris
  • Chico & Rita
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango

Eimer Note: I’m still going to have to go with Rango on this one. Puss in Boots was good, not great. Kung Fu Panda 2 was also entertaining, but not best animated feature worthy. Like I said, in my review, I thought Rango was just so damn original. Plus, how can you go wrong with a hark back to the man, they myth Hunter S. Thompson.

  • The Artist
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • War Horse

Eimer Note: Although I’m sure Hollywood will probably eat up The Artist’s art direction, I’m going to have to go with Hugo on this one. By the looks of the film (which, again, I haven’t seen) it just seems to exude fantastic art direction. However, truth be told, Harry Potter was pretty damn interesting as well. I could see the Academy honoring the final Harry Potter film as well. But my heart is going with Hugo.

  • The Artist
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Eimer Note: Although I have mixed feelings about Tree of Life, I thought it was a beautifully shot film. Also, Emmanuel Lubezki (who shot Children of Men, The New World and Sleep Hollow) won the ASC (American Society of Cinematographer’s) award a couple weeks ago. My personal favorite would be for Dragon Tattoo to win. However, I’m sticking to the statistics this year.

  • Anonymous
  • The Artist
  • Hugo
  • Jane Eyre
  • W.E.

Eimer Note: I think period pieces W.E., Jane Eyre and Anonymous will knock each other out of the competition. Which leaves us with HUGO and THE ARTIST. I'll probably have to go with The Artist. However, HUGO did have a great call-back scene to George Melies' A Trip to The Moon, which had pretty spectacular costumes. Shit, I just changed my own mind. I'm going with HUGO.

  • Hell and Back Again
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
  • Pina
  • Undefeated

Eimer Note: So, one of my favorite documentaries of all time, Afghanistan-military doc Restrepo, failed to win best documentary last year. To make up for this injustice, I’m hoping that the Academy chooses Hell and Back Again. However, I’m also hearing that Undefeated and If A Tree Falls are pretty good as well. That said, I’m sticking with Afghanistan over football and the Earth Liberation Front.

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
  • God Is the Bigger Elvis
  • Incident in New Baghdad
  • Saving Face
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Eimer Note: With The Help being nominated this year, I’m going with another civil rights short film, The Barber of Birmingham, to win an award as well. Haven’t seen any of the nominees, I’m just going with my gut.

  • Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Kevin Tent, The Descendants
  • Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Thelma Schoonmaker, Hugo
  • Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball
Eimer Note: Film editing is a toughie. Before last year, I had picked every film-editing Academy Award winner since I've been picking Academy award winners. This year I’m going to have to go with Thelma Schoonmaker for Hugo. It just feels like Scorcese’s long-time editing collaborator is going to win for some reason. Again, would like to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo pick up something. But, alas, I don't see it happening.

  • Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle, Albert Nobbs
  • Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, The Iron Lady
Eimer Note: Period British pieces Nobbs and The Iron Lady will equal each other out. Thus, another Brit film, Harry Potter will win.

  • John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin
  • Ludovic Bource, The Artist
  • Howard Shore, Hugo
  • Alberto Iglesias, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • John Williams, War Horse
Eimer Note: Sadly John Williams' two(!) nominations will equal each other out. So, I’m going with The Artist on this. Sure, everyone wants to vote for Williams. But, for a film that relies a lot on music and less on talk not to mention has been garnering such great reviews, how can you not go with Ludovic Bource?

  • "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets, Bret McKenzie
  • "Real in Rio" from Rio, Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett
Eimer Note: My stone-cold lock pick is Man or Muppet. I thought it was funny, entertaining and, since there are only two nominees, there can be only one! Check it out here.

  • Drive
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon
  • War Horse
Eimer Note: Fincher is a known perfectionist, even when it comes to his sound, special effects and cinematography, so I’m going with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Truth be told, any of these could win. Don’t believe me? Check out this little GWTDT sound editing snippet I found on youtube.
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
  • Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon
  • War Horse

Eimer Note: Again, going with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on this one as well. But, again, any of these could legitimately win. Although Transformers could sweep both categories as well.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Real Steel
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

Eimer Note: I'm going to have to go with one of my fave films of last year Rise of the Planet of the Apes…although the dragon in Harry Potter was pretty freaking cool. Check out this ROTPOTA SFX snippet on YouTube

  • Dimanche/Sunday
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
  • La Luna
  • A Morning Stroll
  • Wild Life

Eimer Note: I'm going with Pixar’s La Luna since this has been the first time in a while that a Pixar film hasn’t been nominated for Best Animated Feature Film. I’m thinking the Academy will toss Pixar a bone in this category. Plus, judging by the little snippet found onYouTube (it will air before their Summer movie Brave), it looks cute, fun and interesting.

  • Pentecost
  • Raju
  • The Shore
  • Time Freak
  • Tuba Atlantic

Eimer Note: So, haven’t seen any of these either. However, I checked out this little snippet on YouTube and it seems like Tuba Atlantic is the way to go. It’s a bit quirky, a bit fun and a bit on the strange side with interesting enough cinematography. I’m going with this one with The Shore a strong second.

Well, there you have it. I'll post a re-cap on Monday to see how many categories I correctly picked.

See you then...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stories from Ghetto Kroger #9: The Book of Crazies

As I've discussed in past Stories from Ghetto Kroger...I came across a wide assortment of crazy people during my tenure as a bagger and a meat department clerk in, quite possibly, the worst Kroger in Columbus, Ohio (at the time).

Some people were, undeniably, insane. Others were simply by-products of tough times in the hood.

Crackheads, bums, poor, rich (not really), old, young, pretty, ugly big-headed, little-headed, white, black, yellow, racist, non-racist and everything in between...on any given day I had the opportunity to view the entire spectrum of humanity during my tour of duty at the Ghetto Kroger.

So, it was no surprise that I decided to highlight some of the most colorful people in my early bagging experiment: The Book of Crazies, which I found lying at the bottom of my collection of crap that I keep downstairs in my basement.

So without further adieu, I'd like to share the list from beginning to end (with no editing):
  1. The guy with the shopping cart with the flag strapped on it.
  2. The guy who clicks when he walks.
  3. The woman with the purple tobaggon (i.e. winter cap) and neon green jacket that wandered around the parking lot for 8 hours non stop.
  4. The crazy guy with big bags under his eyes who criticizes all of the cops and says 'I didn't do nothing' over and over again.
  5. The guy with the humungous head. MASK disease.
  6. The man who was talking about his penis and prostrate for two hours.
  7. Blind guy who couldn't find his way out of the store. Blind in one eye. Half blind in the other.
  8. Crazy guy with headphones who jigs and dances at the bus stop.
  9. Lady that talks to herself, wears a neon miniskirt, buys weird rings from the kid's vending machines and then proceeds to show everyone her 'pretty' rings.
  10. The bum who told me he witnessed multiple rapes and then said 'Every once in a while, I'm not ashamed to say that I use goldilocks and her four little friends for a good time. 
  11. The old man who showed me the sack on his leg filled with piss that drained from his kidney.
  12. The black guy who wears cut-off football pants, every day, even in the middle of winter.
  13. Maniac-looking guy who has pieces of his hair missing and stares at guy's asses as they walk into the store.
  14. The 12-year old kid with the headphones and glassess who walks around the store in a counter-clockwise direction.
  15. The guy with the Michigan jacket who makes the dog noises. 
I wish I could say that I remember all of this crazies. But, alas, I have forgotten most of these colorful characters. However, I have talked about Big-head and the bum in previous Ghetto Kroger Stories (links above and below)

That said, if I had a time machine, I would go back to Ghetto Kroger and tell College Brad to keep up with this interesting book a little longer. Because, I'm 100% sure that I came into contact with a lot more crazies then the 15 highlighted in this book - and that includes some of my co-workers.

However, I probably just lost interest in my little experiment, what with all the studying, banging of chicks and drinking of booze. (I kid!)

Well, that's it for now. Next story will be my first day on the job in the meat department. Stay tuned.

Other Stories from Ghetto Kroger:
Story #1: Intro
Story #2: Magic
Story #3: Big Head
Story #4: Goldilocks
Story #5: Jonas
Story #6: The Restroom
Story #7: Cowboy
Story #8: Lucky Strikes