Monday, March 27, 2006

Review: Inside Man

Non-spoiler section:

So I saw Inside Man on Sunday. Overall, I'd give it a thumbs up, I guess, but this is one of those movies that, the more I think about it, the less I like it.

That's the sign of a movie that looks good but doesn't deliver.

Spike Lee does a good job with the aesthetic quality of the film - it looks sleek and it looks cool. But the story and characters fail to live up to the billing and belie the very high rating this movie has gotten on Right now, the fresh rating is sitting at around 90% with an average 7.5/10 rating. That's pretty darn good.

But what was so likeable?

I liked Denzel Washington and his sidekick detective played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity). Clive Owen was pretty interesting in an understated way and even Willem Dafoe puts in a pretty straight-laced performance (and that's saying something) as a police captain, while Christopher Plummer is Christopher Plummer.

Jodie Foster? Well, she sucks. The more I think about it, the more she sucks.

She plays a "problem solver" of sorts and a bit of a bitch, neither of which is done well. Her character is a caricature and obnoxious. Booooring.

Roger Ebert turned in one of the few "rotten" reviews, and after reading it, I feel he hits the nail right on the head, echoing many of my sentiments on the film. His review is here, and while he tries to avoid spoilers, there are a couple in there, so caveat emptor.

While Foster may have been annoying, what gets me about this movie is the resolution. It's...disappointing. A significant portion is tipped off early in the film and I couldn't help but wonder why. Once the payoff of a heist flick is revealed, what's left? Only the characters - and we realize in the 20 minute epilogue that we just don't care that much about them.

Pros: Denzel, look, bit players
Cons: Foster, resolution, motivations
Overall: 7/10 - a couple of rewrites would have helped

Spoiler section (read only if you've seen the movie):

Alright, what the hell was the purpose of having Foster in that movie? Her character was completely useless and she was horrifically miscast. She could have literally ended up on the cutting room floor and I don't think the movie would have been affected in any way. She has the one scene where Owen explains the documents in the envelope (sorta) but we know all that already, sooo? She didn't advance the plot, her character was ridiculously obnoxious, and she has no observable skills that would give her this "problem solver" designation. She tries to buy the guy off. Ooooooo....

And exactly what was the motivation for the heist? For Owen, yeah, he did it for the money. But it's pretty clear that the box was the major target and the envelope in particular. One would assume that the Jewish guy in the back seat of the car was the real catalyst behind the robbery, but who is he and just how did he know what was in the envelope? And why in the hell would Plummer keep those documents and the ring? He says he should have destroyed them long ago...what was the purpose in keeping them after 1945? And surely he could never sell that diamond, so...?

And the means by which they might catch the robbers seemed fairly evident to me: they left the bags of clothes behind - get people to come in and claim their clothes one by one. The robbers, who took off no clothes, will have to grab clothes from the pile. Eventually, someone will not be able to find all of their clothes because the robbers will have taken some. At that point, you've narrowed the field. The robbers have to be either people who have complained that they can't find their clothes, or are wearing clothes those people will claim are theirs. Then, you just have to grill those folks. The field would be limited. But it occurs to me that even that might be unnecessary; the victims were all stripped to their underwear - why was the one girl with the large breasts (there were actually two) still wearing her tank top under the painter's clothes? That should have been a dead give away. Of course, the detectives were busy observing her talents (man, that was funny) so maybe they didn't notice. (did that actress look familiar? She might have if you were unfortunate enough to have watched Blair Witch II)

And why did they tip the fact that the robbers got away and that they were amongst the crowd? I mean, you figure that out as soon as they interview two people in painters outfits and they start questioning people about their involvement. And you know that when Clive Owen says he's gonna walk out the front door that that's exactly what he's gonna do. Once all that is revealed, the rest of the movie has to have enough twists to keep you interested. In the end, I don't think the movie had enough to make the payoff anything but disappointing.

Another pet peeve I have is that the publicity shots included a shot of Foster and Denzel from near the end. Denzel is wearing a very dapper suit and they are sitting in a seemingly prominent place, so you know that things are going to turn out well for Denzel and that they'll have a civilized conversation at the end. This is precisely the sort of thing you don't want to reveal in a thriller. Always leave the ending in doubt.

So, yeah, I kinda enjoyed the film while I was sitting in the theatre, but I couldn't help but be disappointed by the end and I like the movie less and less the more I think about it. The significant praise the film is getting might just go to show how few and far between great Hollywood flicks are these days.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The snakes just got bigger

From imdb’s news of the day:

Jackson's Snake Film Creates Huge Buzz

Samuel L. Jackson's new mile-high thriller Snakes On A Plane has created such a buzz among internet film fans, movie bosses have called for re-shoots - to give the film a tougher rating.

The film, which stars Jackson as an FBI agent trying to keep a federal witness alive onboard a plane full of snakes, wrapped last September - but went back before the cameras earlier this month for five days of additional shooting. Film bosses at distributor New Line Cinema opted to add new scenes to the film to take the movie from PG-13 into R-rated territory, according to industry magazine The Hollywood Reporter. They claim the second round of filming became necessary after intense and growing fan interest in the film, which is scheduled to be released this summer.

Among the reported additions to the film is a foul-mouthed rant from Jackson in which his agent character bellows, "I want these motherf**king snakes off the motherf**king plane!"

The line is expected to take on cult status.

The film-makers have reportedly added more gore, more deaths, more nudity and more snakes to the finished product.


I ony hope the "more snakes" and "more nudity" are unrelated.

Jules Winnfield: What does Marcellus Wallace look like?
Brett: What?
Jules Winnfield: What country you from?
Brett: What?
Jules Winnfield: What ain't no country I ever heard of. They speak English in What?
Brett: What?

- Sam Jackson gets some answers in Pulp Fiction

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Eagle has (crash) landed

News comes this afternoon that Ed Belfour ("The Eagle") has been shut down for the rest of the season (14 games).

While this may not affect the Leafs' playoff hopes (1. did they have any? 2. Tellqvist is at least as good as Belfour), it certainly means they have to take a serious look at next year's team.

This almost certainly ends Belfour's reign as the #1 goalie in Toronto. The club held an option for next year and it would have been silly to pick it up; now it would be suicidal.

So who will replace Eddie? Tellqvist the back-up? The Leafs might want to develop him, but this is the LEAFS. They should have their pick of players.

See, in today's salary-cap NHL, if a player knows he's only gonna get X dollars from whatever team he plays for, well, he might as well play for the team he wants to play for.

The problem is that there aren't that many star goalies out there. So Tellqvist might be just as good a bet as any.

...But how about Cujo:The Return? Curtis Joseph is a free agent at the end of the year and if he plays next year, it'll only be for a handful of teams - hometown Toronto being one of them.

Would Joseph return to Toronto?

This brings up my next point: who needs to go.

First, Pat Quinn should move on. The players have tuned out whatever message he might have had for them and the product on the ice is clearly suffering. This team cannot play defence. Quinn's departure would also open the door for Joseph, who had a bit of an odd relationship with the boss before signing with Detroit a few years back.

The other people who need to go? In no particular order:

- John Ferguson Jr. (Worst. GM. Ever.)
- Aki "Ice" Berg (somehow "sucks" just doesn't seem to cover it)
- Nik "Goddamn" Antropov (remember how he was supposed to be a star?)
- Jason "I skate like a fat girl named" Allison (disappointing)
- Wade "Out into the ocean and drown yourself" Belak (41 GP, -13...need we say more?)

Why guys like Berg and Belak are still on this team is beyond me. They've stunk so bad for so long I expect the CSI crew to show up to do a bug analysis.

"What I like is we have a guy that holds the puck very well and is very smart in moving it around.”
- Pat Quinn (evidently talking about one of the trainers)

My Encounter With Malena


Guess who I saw on the streets of T.O. yesterday?

Yup, quite possibly the most beautiful woman in the world: Monica Bellucci.


See, this movie crew has taken over the parking lot across the street from work for their trailers, etc. When I left work yesterday, I could see a film crew down the street and I decided to check it out (I did study Radio and Television Arts, after all, and wouldn't mind getting into film production).

...and I knew the raven-haired goddess was in town shooting a film with Clive Owen, who has been seen hanging around the Drake Hotel amongst other hot spots.

I could see the action centred around a single actress near an old green bus marked "Wherever". She was all bundled up so it was hard to tell, but I could see some dark hair. She was about 40 feet away and my eyeglass prescription seems to be a little off, so I couldn't tell for sure.

Then I saw the chair: "Monica Bellucci"

I was supposed to meet a friend a few blocks away in about 20 minutes, but I'd be damned if I was gonna move without getting a decent look at the beauty from Malena, The Matrix Reloaded, Brotherhood of the Wolf, The Brothers Grimm, Tears of the Sun, The Passion of the Christ and Irreversible. My friend would have to wait.

The action required her to stop at the bus door, look around as if to say goodbye, and then board the bus. They did this a few times. Each time, she looked in my erection..I mean direction (down boy!) before boarding the bus. Yeah, my prescription blows, but you are not going to convince me that she was looking right at me and using me as a reference point each time.


The scene wrapped and they were going to move the camera, so Monica (yes, we're on a first name basis now) made her way with a couple of people to a nearby van 'cause it was pretty darn chilly out. As it happened, I had to go in the same direction, so for a moment, we were within about 10 feet of each other.


Yeah, I gotta say she's starting to show her age (41, apparently), especially around her eyes, but it was still a thrill to see Malena in the flesh.

Haven't seen Malena? Rent it. If you're a man with an ounce of blood running through your veins, you'll understand.


I have sampled every language, French is my favourite - fantastic language, especially to curse with. Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d'enculé de ta mère! You see, it's like wiping your arse with silk, I love it.
- Merovingian, in Matrix Reloaded

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Review: Million Dollar Baby

Alright, I'm not gonna start posting about every movie I see on dvd 'cause, well, that'll take forever, but I will post for ones I find noteworthy.

I really, really liked Million Dollar Baby.

Maybe I'm going soft (I hear they have pills for that now). I'm not what you would call a Hilary Swank fan, but I still liked this one. To be honest, though, this is really Clint Eastwood's movie and it is his best work - far better than Unforgiven, which won its share of awards as well. (Too bad Eastwood was the only one not to get recognized for his acting work - but he had tough competition that Oscar year)

I've spoken to a few folks about this one, and I've come to realize that this movie is a bit like Big Fish; it's a story told from the male perspective and therefore it's a drama that will probably resonate more with that sex.

But as much as I liked it, I had a couple of major beefs with it:

**spoiler alert***

First of all, the family sucked. It was kinda hard to imagine Maggie came from that family to begin with, but the relationship was just a little too unbelievable. The actors played their parts like caricatures of trailer park trash which made their last scene in the hospital seem silly.

Second (and this is the bigger one since it affects the plot), I have a hard time believing anyone involved in the writing of this script knew anything about boxing. For all their talk about hand speed, footwork and fight psychology, the rules seem to have escaped them.


If you so much as touch a fighter who is on a knee and they cannot continue, guess what: YOU get disqualified, and THEY win the fight. I've seen it happen (to Roy Jones Jr. , I think). The tough champ chick does this TWICE. Yes, we understand she's a dirty fighter, but you don't become champ by doing these sort of blatant things and you would have certainly lost more than few fights along the way to the belt. So I found it annoying when they kept talking about how Maggie lost that last fight. The other chick would have been disqualified for that blatant punch after the bell, whether the ref saw it or not. That's why they have boxing commissions.

I thought the hospital storyline dragged on a little, but I guess they had to sell the hopelessness of Maggie's situation to set up Frankie's choice. Those last few scenes were some of Clint's best work ever as an actor.

Who knew Clint could get a guy choked up?

Usually his performances just make people gag.

What do you know: "Dirty Harry" made my day.

"I saw your last fight, Shawrelle. Spent so much time face down I thought the canvas had titties."
- Hilary Swank as Maggie

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oh my god! Isaac Hayes killed Chef! You bastard!

Yup, it would appear chef is dead. At least, the one we knew.

Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef on South Park has quit the show, saying the can no longer be part of a show that mocks religion.

South Park of course has been lampooning various religions (including Judaism and Christianity) since it's beginnings, but it would seem a recent episode on Scientology was the deal breaker.

Here's what Hayes had to say (from the Toronto Star):

"There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins. (..) Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honoured. (..) As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices."

Um...hypocrite much?

Props to South Park co-creator Matt Stone who called out Hayes on his bullshit stance:

"This is 100 per cent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of cheques — with our show making fun of Christians. (We) never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin."

Someone ought to roshambo some sense into Hayes.

Stan: Hey, do you know where I can find the clitoris?
Cartman: What is that like finding Jesus or something?
Cartman: Shut up - you fucking jew!!
Mr. Garrison: Eric, did you just say the 'f word?'
Cartman: ...Jew??
Scientology President: Wait a minute, whoa, whoa! You don't actually believe this crap, do you? Dummy! Brainwashed alien souls? E-meters and thetan levels? Those people out there buy that crap and I thought you were smart enough to see what was really going on!
Stan: But you said that there were -
Scientology President: What's better than telling people a stupid story and having them believe you? Having them pay you for it, stupid!
Cartman (singing): I want to get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus. I want to feel his salvation all over my face.
Cartman: The poor kid passes it to the Jew, the Jew shoots. He misses! Proving once and for all that Jews cannot play hockey!
Kyle: Shut up Cartman! Your body is bigger than the goal!
Cartman: No, I just have a sweet hockey body.
Stan: Look, is this a religion? Because my family is like, Catholic or something.
Brian: Oh, that's not a problem at all. Scientology is more of an alternitive to psychology than a religion.
Stan: Then how come that sign says "Church of Scientology"?
Brian: Oh, that's just a thing. [changes subject] What's the Denver Broncos' record now? Six and two?
Teacher: Kyle, concentrate!!!
Cartman: Maybe he should be sent to a concentration camp.
Chef: Hello there, children.
Stan: Chef! What would a priest want to stick up my butt?
Chef: Goodbye.

This is the dwarf invasion!!!!

I actually recommend just listening to it the first time and ignoring the video.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tim Horton's Roll Up the Rim to Fight

It was bound to happen, eh?

Seems some moron threw out his coffee cup without rolling up the rim. D'oh!

(* For you non-Canadians, Tim Horton's is a coffee house chain that has a contest where you roll up the paper rim to find a potential prize underneath)

So some 10-year old girl comes along and picks it out of the trash, enlists the help of her 12-year old friend and together they discover that the cup is a winner...of a new SUV.

The original owner, with significantly less hair now one imagines, files a lawsuit claiming that the cup is his even though he threw it out. He wants DNA tests done on the cup.

You can imagine that people accidentally throw out their unrolled cups all the time. And if they remember later on, they'll always wonder "what if...", but when does the cup cease to be theirs (if ever)? Does the guy forfeit ownership once he throws it in the trash?

What if he came back within a minute? Or ten seconds? Or what if the girl caught it in mid-air before it even hit the trash? When does his cup become her cup?

Is the winner the person who buys the cup or the person who rolls the rim?

Does someone need to be the "bigger person" in this scenario and just say "oh well, the SUV was free anyways", or offer to split the cash value?

Where's Solomon when you need him?

"A person does not seek luck; luck seeks the person"
-Turkish proverb

Monday, March 13, 2006

Eurotrip, Jarhead, the Island (no spoilers)

It's 11:30am, I'm bored at work and I just realized I left my headphones at home.


Oh well, let me tell you about the flicks I saw this weekend, then. That oughta kill 10 minutes or so.

First was Europtrip. It was actually pretty funny at first and I liked it overall, but the second half dragged a little. I watched the dvd's special features too, and all I can say is that I'm glad they didn't use the alternate ending. I've noticed a few movies have alternate endings thrown into the special features these days and that, more often than not, the theatrical ending is better. Watching the alternate version is gonna mess me up, I think, since I won't remember what was actually in the movie, and what was just a bonus feature scene. I'm stupid that way.

Next up was Jarhead. It wasn't bad. Kind of a mood movie, since not much happens. Sometimes Jake Gyllenhaal gets on my nerves, but he was alright in this one.

Finally, The Island. I'd heard mostly bad things about this flick, but they were kind of the predictable Michael Bay knocks: looks good, story kinda sucks. What did I think? Well, it looked good, but the story kind of sucked. Bay knows how to make a shot look good, but there were quite a few plot holes and some of the character motivation was off - usually the sign of poor writing or too much editing.

So thumbs up for the first two, thumbs down to The Island.

Looking forward to taking in V for Vendetta and maybe Inside Man this weekend.

11:39. Craaaaaaaaaaaaaap.

"Welcome to the suck."
- Peter Sarsgaard as Troy in Jarhead

Friday, March 10, 2006

Maple Leafs: "Trade? huh?"

Friday afternoon and Billy Idol's version of "L.A. Woman" is playing in my headphones (yes, at work).

So the trade deadline came and went. I waited to see what the Leafs were going to do before ripping into the current bane of Hockeytown, Earth: John Ferguson Junior.

The article in today's Star pretty much sums it up.

What did the Leafs do? Nothing.

At least nothing of any significance.

When the smoke had cleared on a busy (but unspectacular) trade deadline day, the Leafs had dumped one relatively ineffective blueliner (Ken Klee) and acquired another (Luke Richardson). Pretty much a wash. Oh yeah, and they lost their bench-warming sniper, Mariusz Czerkawski, who was claimed off waivers by Boston.

Um...but what was the point of dumping Czerkawski if they weren't trying to make room for someone? Basically, they just lost a potential skater should one of their regular players go down to injury.

And if you listen to JFjr or Pat Quinn, it's a long season yet to go. They're telling anyone who will listen that this team will make the playoffs.

...or maybe they're just trying to convince themselves.

At the moment, the Leafs are 8 points behind the eighth-place Montreal Canadiens (who did get their hands dirty yesterday - buh-bye Jose Theodore). Assuming Montreal goes .500 the rest of the way, that means the Leafs would have to go something like 15-6.

...yeah, right.

Yesterday should have been a turning point for the Leafs (and every other team with a head on its shoulders). Either bulk up for a serious run at the playoffs or unload some high-priced or useless talent and build for next year and beyond.

The Leafs were clearly screwed by the salary cap implemented this year. They had Ed Belfour's contract weighing them down (not to mention Sundin's absurd price, given the new market). I for one would have forgiven the GM for writing off this first year and going for gold in the second. Rather, it appears that the Leafs are happy to have bums in the seats (not to be confused with the bums on the ice....Jason Allison...I'm looking in your direction...) and no new banners hanging from the rafters.

I could go on and on about the arrogance of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) and their obsession with the bottom line (being owned by the teacher's pension plan certainly doesn't help), but I don't have the energy.

It would be impossible to have fans boycott games to voice their displeasure. So what can a lowly fan do to get MLSE's attention? Well, for one thing I can promise you this: the day all Leafs games are only available through Leafs TV is the day I stop watching and start cheering for another team. I shit you not. That day is coming, folks. The template has been set by Manchester United and Sky Sports in the UK. Sure, they may throw us a bone by keeping Hockey Night in Canada on CBC Saturday nights, but there's enough money to be made through specialty channels that MLSE and their investors won't dare pass it up.

Anyone know where I can buy a Sabres jersey for a decent price?

"We've seen a number of teams the last few years, Calgary the latest example, which just get into the playoffs, then get hot, receive tremendous goaltending and solid two-way play from the team and turn it into something special."
- Moron General Manager John Ferguson jr., forgetting that his team has neither hot goaltending nor the capacity for two-way play (that requires defence, you idiot)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Music and Memories: or Why I Hate Celine Dion

So I'm bored again at work and, believe it or not, listening to music with headphones on.

They pay me for this?!

Anyhoo, I have a bunch of CDs here that I brought from home. The one playing now is a collection of "memory" songs. Each song is associated with a particular period in my life. Sappy, yes, but every time I throw this CD in it gets me strolling down Memory Lane.

It's mostly cheesey 80's tunes, so I won't make the list of songs public here.

Something else I tend to do when I'm bored at work is come up with a blog subject. Magically, I've been able to combine the two.

Which brings me to Celine Dion.

Let me give you a little history. Many moons ago, I was a young lad at a concert celebrating Saint Jean Baptiste Day at Harbourfront in Toronto. Every year, some big name French-Canadian singer would belt out some tunes for the appreciative crowd on that late June evening. It was an excuse to go downtown and hang out with a couple of friends (who happened to be the sons of my mom's friends) from my French elementary school in Brampton.

One year, Celine Dion was the singer. She had been a star in Quebec since her early teens, but at this point she was starting to break into the English market in Canada and the U.S. I used to even think she was kinda hot.

I was a bit of a shit disturber back then (go figure) and being my mother's son, one opinionated s.o.b. So, when Celine Dion started singing some English tunes at this French-Canadian celebration, I started to chant "En français! En français!" Well, it didn't take long for the chorus to get picked up by numerous people in the crowd.

It got so loud that she actually stopped the conert and explained to the crowd that she was proud of her bilingualism and that's why she was singing English tunes.

I didn't buy that argument then and I certainly didn't buy it about a year or so later when she appeared at the Gemini Awards (I think). She had just been named English Singer of the Year and had the nerve to refuse the award because she was French-Canadian at heart and thus a francophone singer.

What a hypocrite.

Ever since then, I've hated that skinny bitch.

And it got worse. Forget the fact she married her grampa manager who met her when she was, like, 13 or something, I continue to despise Celine Dion the same way I despise Paris Hilton: she is beyond overrated.

Here's how I see it: had Celine Dion not done songs for Titanic and Beauty and the Beast (amongst other flicks), would she be the "megastar" she is today? (despite the fact she's done dick all in the last how many years?)

See, we often associate music with events. In the case of films, we associate soundtracks with films. How often do you hear a song and picture the movie or music video that goes with it?

Well, Titanic was essentially a $100 million music video for "My Heart Will Go On" (a terrible, terrible tune, but one heckuva blockbuster flick seen by millions). Titanic was the film of the year and that song rode that wave (where's an iceberg when you need it?). Does the song's success mean the singer is "great"? Hell no!

To this day, I can not hear a single note of any of her songs without lunging for the dial.

In fact, I despise her so much I refuse to put a picture of her in this blog. Ditto for Titanic.

So, instead, I offer a pic from the terrific (and seldom seen) music video for "Don't Answer Me" from the Alan Parson's Project which is playing in my headphones (at work!) right now.

If you believe in the power of magic,
I can change your mind
And if you need to believe in someone,
Turn and look behind
When we were living in a dream world,
Clouds got in the way
We gave it up in a moment of madness
And threw it all away
Don't answer me, don't break the silence
Don't let me win
Don't answer me, stay on your island
Don't let me in
Run away and hide from everyone
Can you change the things we've said and done?
If you believe in the power of magic,
It's all a fantasy
So if you need to believe in someone,
Just pretend it's me
It ain't enough that we meet as strangers
I can't set you free
So will you turn your back forever on what you mean to me?
Don't answer me, don't break the silence
Don't let me win
Don't answer me, stay on your island
Don't let me in
Run away and hide from everyone
Can you change the things we've said and done?

-"Don't Answer Me" Alan Parson's Project
Ammonia Avenue -1984

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar party Crashed!!


What the hell happened last night?

I was watching the Oscars with a friend of mine and as Jack Nicholson stepped up to announce the Best Picture winner, I turned to her and said, "Can you imagine if Brokeback Mountain didn't win? I'd crap my pants."

Needless to say, seconds later, I had vacated my bowels.

Unbelievable. That one was a shocker, not only because Brokeback was so heavily favoured going in, but because it beat Crash for the tell-tale Director award as well.

Let's sum up:

- Picture
- Film Editing
- Original Screenplay

- Director
- Score
- Adapted Screenplay

Now I'm a guy who usually likes it when they spread the wealth. See, just because a movie is the picture of the year, doesn't mean it had the best cinematography or sound editing. So when movies like Titanic (burn in hell you piece of crap) win a record number of awards, I think it's a sad day.

That being said, you should be able to compare a few of the categories to find out which movie was swingin' the big meat. Crash won Best Picture despite only having one actor nominated (Matt Dillon for Best Supporting) compared to Brokeback's three. The two went head-to-head for Director, and Brokeback won. And if you figure that original and adapted screenplay cancel each other out, then I gotta believe Director and Score are much bigger factors in determining the value of a movie than Film Editing.

And yet Crash won Best Picture.

Seriously, for a second there, I thought Jack was kidding. He clearly couldn't believe it himself.

Now I guess I'll have to actually rent both flicks to give my own opinion on who should have won.

Oh, and just one other note: despite the fact that I like the wealth being spread so that the awards actually go to the best in each category, I find it mildly disturbing that we see more and more flicks winning Best Picture despite getting shut out of the acting categories. If Crash is an ensemble piece, shouldn't it have had a bunch of Supporting nominations?

Biggest shock ending to an Oscars I've seen in a long time.

Other Oscar notes:

- Jon Stewart did a fine job (killer opening), but a) I don't think he has the energy for that kind of show, b) he's way too smart for that show.

- What was with the old folks? Robert Altman looked like he'd forgotten his meds and I thought Lauren Bacall was gonna bolt. Cringe.

- The only thing that I find interesting about the red carpet is seeing actors you won't see later in the broadcast. Otherwise, that whole thing is beyond ridiculous. Shallow, shallow, shallow. And who the fuck is Isaac Mizrahi? I think that's the dope I saw asking Eric Bana how long it took him to do his hair! Can we get some real interviewers please? How about asking an actor about the movie they were in instead of "who" they're wearing? And don't get me started on the eTalk version. Sad, sad, sad. The only thing worse than watching shallow red carpet douchebags is watching someone aspiring to be a shallow red carpet douchebag. The whole thing was only tolerable with the volume off.

- Speaking of wardrobe, what was Naomi Watts wearing? Mummy chic?

- Were those really the three best songs of the year? Yikes. Well, at least the low number (thanks to new eligibility rules) kept the show short. Used to be that the songs were the highlight of the telecast. Now I just find them annoying. Like Jon Stewart said, "Three 6 Mafia : 1, Martin Scorsese: 0"

"I think I speak for all Jews when I say I can't wait to see what happens to us next."
- Jon Stewart to Steven Spielberg re: Munich and Schindler's List

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bryan McCabe: spring bud or dud?

Is it my birthday already?

(speaking of which, I didn't realize I knew so many Pisces: my uncle's birthday was yesterday, my buddy Jake's was last weekend, today is my Spanish friend Esther's, tomorrow is my lovely friend Astrid's, Saturday's is my old friend Andrew's, Sunday is my charming friend Gina's...oh, yeah, and then there's my sister's on the Ides of March (...Beware the Ides of March? Julius Caesar? Shakespeare? Read a book!!). And more I'm sure later in the month, but I don't have my calendar in front of me.)

In today's Toronto Star (sorry I keep referring to articles there as registration is required, but it's a simple process and worth it for the news convenience) there is an article that suggests Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe could be on the move if contract talks don't get resolved soon.

Look, I used to really like McCabe. I thought he was a pretty good pick up at the time, but his play has really started to tank this season.

What's that you say? I'm crazy? He's scoring more goals than ever and is a leading candidate for the Norris Trophy?

Anyone who thinks McCabe is having a great year has never played defence. Let's look at the stats, shall we?

With a couple dozen games to go in the season, McCabe has already recorded the highest number of points in his career. Way to go. Can I have your autograph?

But wait. What's this little stat over here in the corner? +/-? What's that?

I'll tell you what that is: that's the most important stat in hockey. Forget goals, forget assists, forget penalty minutes. +/- refers to the ratio of goals you're on the ice for versus goals you are on the ice against. This is the one hockey stat defencemen should take the greatest pride in. McCabe has been all over the map during his career in terms of +/-, going from an atrocious -24 in his rookie year to as high as a very respectable +22 last year.

What's he at this banner year? The year he's racking up all these points? The year he is being mentioned as a candidate for defenceman of the year?


Thats' right: he has been on for the exact same number of goals for as against. Which means, that as a defenceman, he's no better than a wash. A team is as likely to win with him as without him. It also means that while he's busy scoring at the other end, he's neglecting his defensive zone responsibilities (and taking a ton of penalties). Did you see the highlights (I use that term loosely) of the game against Washington the other night? In just about every clip where you saw a Capital celebrating a goal, you could see McCabe in the background.

Now I don't want to rip on McCabe too much. He's a good player, I just think he's overrated and if the Leafs even think of giving him a contract in the $5M range, it just proves GM John Ferguson is a moron. McCabe plays on a team where the leading +/- player is, get this, Kyle Wellwood (+6).

Who are the Leafs with the worst +/- ratings? No surprises here: Jeff O'Neill (-19), Jason Allison (-11) and Wade Belak (-11). Right now, Mats Sundin is at -2 and Darcy Tucker at -6.

No wonder the Leafs are falling.

If I had to pay McCabe $5M/year I'd not only trade him, I'd pack his bags and drive him to the airport.

Let the other teams be the suckers. We've sucked long enough.

When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, 'It's in the script.' If he says, 'But what's my motivation?, ' I say, 'Your salary.'
-Alfred Hitchcock