A Month Early and a Day Late . . . The 2014 Emmys

1. Opinions may be divided, but I actually thought Seth Meyers was a fairly decent host. He doesn’t seem to have the natural energy and charisma that some other hosts have, but I actually enjoyed the majority of his opening monologue, which — outside Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — seems rare for me, these days. I liked that the emphasis was more on industry humor than roasting specific celebrities, for once. (Not that making fun of celebrities can’t be a good time — but the material is often several years old, and sometimes, the jokes are just unnecessarily mean.) I laughed especially hard at this: “That’s right, kids. Jesse Pinkman lived, Dexter lived, but your mother didn’t make it. Sleep tight.”

2. Truth be told, I didn’t much care about who won what, since I don’t actually watch the majority of the shows that were nominated. (I even dropped Scandal last season, although I’m considering trying to start fresh in Season Four and see if I can get back into the crazy soap I once loved.) I was surprised about the The Normal Heart, though — I’ve gotta admit, I kind of assumed it would sweep. But the only thing it took home, in the end, was Best TV Movie or Miniseries. (Admittedly, if you’re going to win only one, I suppose that’s the one to win, although I always think it’s weird when a program or movie wins the top prize if they didn’t win a single acting, writing, or direction award. Then again, who knows, maybe The Normal Heart won a whole bunch of Creative Emmys that I’m too lazy to look up right now.)

Anyway, I was happy to see Sherlock take as many awards as it did. Surprised, but happy. I enjoyed last season a lot more than the previous one, and I liked His Last Vow quite a bit. Up until the last thirty seconds anyway.

3. As you may or may not remember, awards shows are rarely ever scheduled for my convenience. Moving it to Monday didn’t help much, unfortunately, so I did my usual ‘tape the earlier broadcast and hastily watch the recorded version before I have to go to work’ method of Emmy-viewing. And by hastily, I mean I fast-forwarded past the commercials and anything else that looked totally boring. Apparently, I fast-forwarded past one of the better parts of the ceremony, actually, which was some pre-taped thing called Billy On the Street? Oh well, my regrets are limited.

Cause, yeah. I gave Weird Al about two songs before I gave up and moved on. It made me a little sad to do it, because Weird Al was my very first concert, but still. Those parody songs seemed almost painfully unfunny. I also skipped the Q&A session with the stars because that seemed pretty painful too.

4. Other Things That Didn’t Work:

4A: Stephen Colbert’s ‘invisible friend’ bit. Which kills me to say because I love Stephen Colbert, and he did, at least, commit to the whole joke. Still. It was awkward.

4B. Singling out Julia Roberts for a special highlight reel when none of the other supporting actress nominees got the same attention? Dude, that’s kind of bullshit. I don’t care if she’s a Big Time Movie Star. Who thought this was a good idea?

4C. The thing about Sofia Vergara . . . look. I didn’t feel particularly offended by the joke, but I also think it was ill-conceived. Like, I don’t mind someone doing a bit about how sex appeal livens up a boring speech. That’s fine. And Sofia Vergara is an incredibly sexy woman who seems totally confident in herself and her body. That’s great. But here’s the thing: I could be wrong, of course, but I’m going to take a stab and say that nobody suggested a man stand up there on a rotating platform and Just Be Sexy. Which is crap. There shouldn’t be a gender default for sex appeal. If you just want someone to stand around and look hot (and do absolutely nothing else), your go-to shouldn’t ALWAYS be a woman. Because that’s the kind of thing that leads people to think that’s all women should be valued for.

Others might feel differently, but I suspect I wouldn’t have minded this joke as much, or possibly at all, if we could just have some equal opportunity. There’s no reason a man and a woman couldn’t have been on stage together looking hot. I, personally, would have been okay with seeing Matt Bomer up there, or plenty of other actors in the audience. But you know if a man had been up there, they’d have made it a joke — like it’d be Sofia Vergara and some frumpy comedian dude making a lot of exaggerated and awful ‘I’m so sexy’ poses. I find that frustrating.

But in general, putting a live woman on a spinning platform like she’s a new car is probably not going to go over well with a lot of people. I’m a little surprised that needs to be said, but there you go.

5. I might have put the bit about Julia Louis-Dreyfuss forgetting that she made out with Bryan Cranston on Seinfeld in the Fail Section, too — just because it was such an obvious joke  — but it paid off pretty well when she won for Best Actress, and he attacked her with his lips, and she reciprocated in kind, basically all, “Yup, he was that guy on Seinfeld.”

Nicely played, you two. Nicely played.

6. I see that, since MORTAL KOMBAT was successfully averted last year, The Amazing Race has started its second shot at winning ten straight tournaments in a row. Let’s all agree to meet back here in a decade and see how they did, okay?

7. Finally, the most important part of the evening: fashion.

Since Mekaela is usually working during the pre-awards stuff, I usually watch the stars arriving on the red carpet without her and send emails every thirty minutes with updates on who’s wearing what godawful looking thing and why would you ever wear that, WHY, that dress should be burned and its ashes should be scattered so it doesn’t spontaneously resurrect.

Unfortunately, I slept through the majority of the red carpet yesterday — I needed the sleep to make up for the absolute ZERO sleep I’m currently getting right now — so I couldn’t fulfill my usual email commentary tradition, which made me sad. Thankfully, I could still look at the various internet galleries to get a good look at all the dresses I missed.

I think my Best Dressed would have to go to Lizzy Caplan, whose black and white dress I really liked. Honorable mentions, though, go to Sofia Vergara, Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Robin Wright, and Christine Baranski.

But I’ll be honest, I wasn’t particularly overwhelmed by the vast majority of dresses this year. Ugly ass dresses, though, were everywhere to be found. I’m afraid Worst Dressed would have to go to Sarah Paulson because what. The. HELL. But other contenders were Lena Dunham, Laura PreponAllison WilliamsClaire Danes, and Amanda Peet.

And let’s be clear, Lena Dunham. I don’t care that you’re almost certainly doing this on purpose — I would still put you as Worst Dressed if I didn’t hate Sarah Paulson’s dress so damn much that I’d like to attack it with garden shears.

Well, that’s it for the Emmys this year, folks. Return next year to see if John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight gets nominated for the first time, if Tatiana Maslany gets nominated ever, and who turns out to be the new Drama darling now that Breaking Bad is over.

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“And You Have What We in the Trade Call a Crazy Ass Murderer Wall. It’s a Technical Term.”

I didn’t find my way to Veronica Mars until after the television show ended, unfortunately, but I’ve been a fan for years. Naturally, I was ecstatic when I heard about the Kickstarter project to make it into a movie, and over the weekend, I finally got around to watching it.

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It’s not perfect — there’s actually a surprising amount that I’d like to change — but I had a pretty good time watching it anyway.

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While We’re on the Subject of Alfred Hitchcock . . .

While working on my review for Rebecca, I found myself looking up the entire filmography of Alfred Hitchcock, wondering how many of his movies I’d actually seen. The answer: not that many, at least, not in comparison to how many movies that guy actually made. But I decided to post a list anyway, color-coded for my your convenience. As with my AFI list, purple means yay, red means boo, green means meh-okay, and black means I haven’t actually seen the movie. Also, I think I’ll add a new color: blue, for movies I’m actively interested in. (Not just ‘yeah, yeah, it’s a classic, I’ll get to it eventually,’ but, ‘hey, that sounds kind of fun.’)

And if the first half of the list seems considerably less colorful than the second, well, I should probably mention that the first eight movies are silent films, and the first 25 were all made prior to Hitchcock’s arrival in Hollywood. Still. I can do better. Dammit, Carlie.

The Alfred Hitchcock Filmography

The Pleasure Garden
The Mountain Eagle
The Lodger: a Story of the London Fog
Downhill
Easy Virtue
The Ring
The Manxman
The Farmer’s Wife
Champagne
Blackmail
Juno and the Peacock
Murder!
The Skin Game
Number Seventeen
Rich and Strange
Waltzes from Vienna
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
The 39 Steps
Sabotage
Young and Innocent
The Lady Vanishes
Jamaica Inn
Rebecca
Foreign Correspondent
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Suspicion
Saboteur
Shadow of a Doubt
Lifeboat
Spellbound
Notorious
The Paradine Case
Rope
Under Capricorn
Stage Fright
Strangers on a Train
I Confess
Dial M for Murder
Rear Window
To Catch a Thief
The Trouble with Harry
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Wrong Man
Vertigo
North by Northwest
Psycho
The Birds
Marnie
Torn Curtain
Topaz
Frenzy
Family Plot

Favorite Hitchock films? Least favorite Hitchcock films? The many directors you think are superior to that overrated Hitchcock guy? Let me know in the comments.

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“Last Night I Dreamt I Went to Manderley Again.”

I assigned myself a few books at the beginning of the year, Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca being one of them. It was . . . how shall I put this? A challenging read.

But I knew I wanted to watch the 1940 adaptation, anyway.

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Rebecca won for both Best Picture and Best Cinematography. It is, unfortunately, not one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies.

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Coming Soon-Ish: Fairy Tales, Walruses, and Fifty Shades of Grey

Into the Woods

Interesting. I do plan to see this, although I kind of wish I could watch the actual play before the movie comes out, as I’ve never seen it before, and I absolutely want to be one of the people who goes, “That’s not how it happens!” (Also, cause it looks awesome.) I literally only just found out that it’s been playing in SF all summer, but the likelihood of my getting to see it before it closes on September 6th is not high, fuck it all.)

This trailer doesn’t show you much, but it does give you fairy tales without machine guns or CGI werewolves. So, you know. Things are looking up, right? Admittedly, even I think it’s a little weird to have a trailer for a musical where no one sings, but they’re probably saving that for the next trailer. Like when everyone watched the first preview for The Giver and were like, “Uh, what’s with all this color bullshit?”

Fingers crossed, people. I want an awesome live-action fairy tale movie. Or even just a decent one, at this point.

Interstellar

I know as a good nerd, I’m supposed to be super excited about this movie, but . . . I’m kind of not. I mean, I’ll see it. I’ve seen pretty much all of Christopher Nolan’s films. (Except The Prestige and something I’ve never heard of called Following.) And it might be totally, completely awesome, but at this point, the trailer isn’t fully winning me over. I like my Dylan Thomas used pretty sparingly, you know? And I’m just not really feeling this story, at least not yet. The cinematography looks gorgeous, but that’s usually not enough to push my Holy Shit I Need To See That button.

Fifty Shades of Grey

The fact that this is coming out on Valentine’s Day is continuing to bring me all the giggles.

I have not read this book. My mother has read this book, but not me, to yet. Sometimes, I feel like I should, just so I know for myself what it’s like, but then I look at the stack of books I actually am interested in, and it seems unlikely that I’m ever going to get there. As for the trailer itself . . . I’ve got to say, this looks a lot better than I would’ve thought. Which, admittedly, is a far cry from, “I’ll be there with bells on for V-Day,” but still. I thought it would look a lot worse. Then again, I had a pretty huge crush on Jamie Dornan when he was in Once Upon a Time, so, you know. That helps. (Probably not enough, though. Maybe if he had his Irish on.)

I can’t pretend to know a lot about dom/sub culture that I didn’t pick up from Secretary and fanfiction, but I will say, I’m a little concerned that this girl’s all, ‘oh, I’m nobody, look at me, what a shy, timid flower I am’. I get that she’s the sexual submissive in the relationship, but it doesn’t seem to me like that should necessarily translate to deep insecurity in her everyday life. Or maybe the idea of watching a man dominate a weak-willed woman for two hours just sounds kind of horrifying to me.

If I do watch this movie, it will be in the privacy of my own home, where I can pause the film for extended temper tantrums and stuffed animal abuse if need be.

Houdini

I’ve never been much of a History Channel person (I failed to watch either Hatfields & McCoys OR The Bible), but I’ll admit, I’m intrigued by this particular trailer. Intrigued enough to actually watch Houdini? Haven’t decided yet. You know, I have a fair idea how it ends. But it looks pretty cool, and that’s worth something. Also, I was kind of feeling that song. Think I might need to look up this Jake Bugg fellow now.

Tusk

Um. I don’t even . . . yeah. Yeah, okay, this appears to be a Canadian horror comedy where Michael Parks tries to turn Justin Long and his ridiculously bad mustache into a walrus. Grown up Haley Joel Osment costars.

Really, I don’t even know what to say to that. Except that I’m probably going to have to see this movie because holy shit, somebody made this movie. And not just anybody — Kevin Fucking Smith. I’m just . . . blinking at my screen right now. Repeatedly, because maybe that will make what I’ve just witnessed make sense.

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“A Half-Finished Book, After All, is a Half-Finished Love Affair.”

I never had much interest in watching Cloud Atlas. I didn’t read the book, and while the trailer looked somewhat intriguing, everything I heard about the story itself kind of made the movie sound like a convoluted nightmare. And if it had been a convoluted nightmare starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tatiana Maslany, I’m sure I wouldn’t have hesitated, but Tom Hanks and Halle Berry aren’t particularly big draws for me, and what little interest I did have quickly dwindled after the film left theaters.

But recently my sister struggled through Cloud Atlas (the book) and wanted to watch the movie to compare. And I had just finished struggling through Rebecca (the book) and wanted to watch that movie to compare.

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A compromise was arranged and a review was born. (A review for Rebecca may come next week.)

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RIP: Robin Williams

Man, this doesn’t even seem like it can be real. Robin Williams has died in what was apparently a suicide at the age of 63.

It’s hard to remember the first thing I saw Robin Williams in. He’s one of those actors that have always just been there. I was probably six or seven when I saw Aladdin for the first time, although I’m not sure how long it took me to associate the voice of the Genie with an actual, living person. Mrs. Doubtfire is probably the first live-action movie I ever saw him in. Although I did watch a few Mork & Mindy reruns when I was a kid, too. And Toys is also a possibility — that came out the same year as Aladdin. Oh, and Hook actually came out the year before, when I was five or six. It’s weird to imagine a world without Robin Williams in it, making children laugh.

I’m not sure I can pick a favorite or best role. I’m primarily familiar with Williams’s work from comedy, not drama — I’ve never seen Good Morning, Vietnam, for example, or Dead Poet’s Society. I really do like him in Good Will Hunting, though, for which he won an Academy Award. I also have a special place in my heart for Jumanji. It’s a silly movie, I know, but I still love it. (About half the time, when one of us gets home from wherever, Mekaela or I will come through the front door and yell, “It’s me! It’s me, Alan!” I . . . don’t really have a good explanation for this, but we’ve done it for years.)

Rest in peace, Mr. Williams. My sympathy with you and your family both.

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