Monday, March 29, 2010

Two Horrendous March Madness Commercials

If you've been following the tourney at all, you've seen these two ads. I couldn't find the State Farm commercials featuring The Man With Every Race or the Nissan ones that for some reason have a narrator with a speech impediment. But these two ads will do just fine.

Also, I've heard people are annoyed with the Exxon Mobil nerds and the Coke Zero guy. I don't have a problem with them, even after seeing their commercials over 30 times at least. However, I have a definite problem with the following ads:

They show this ad during EVERY. COMMERCIAL. BREAK. I am not kidding. I will no longer fly Southwest. I don't care if bags fly free, a message conveyed through varying degrees of obesity. Yes, I live 10 minutes from O'Hare and over an hour from Midway. What's your point?

"HAVE YOU EVER DRIVEN A CAR THAT HAS PURE SILVER DUST POLISHED INTO THE WOOD? OF COURSE YOU HAVEN'T." What a smug little shithead. The best thing about this ad is the surrounding landscape. Are they trying to tell me the Infiniti M is an off-road vehicle? Because it would not be a good idea to get dirt on the silver dust.

"I'm sure glad I chose Infiniti over Lexus, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz! Sure, this thing may handle like garbage, but feel that breezy air conditioning!"

Professional Perspective:

For an expert's take on these two brutal ads, let's toss it to news reporter Gordon Boyd, who's live on the scene.

Well said, Gordon! I, too, hurled my poorly-assembled notes in disgust upon viewing these ads.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How I'm Passing the Time

The Jess is in Mexico on Spring Break with her grad school ladies. They're just like Sex and the City!!!

So what do I do in the meantime? I send emails to myself about new guns to try out in Call of Duty. My life is super awesome and slightly sad.

mw2 rpd

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Brackets. Brought to you by various Disney villains.

It's madness time, people! I want your brackets. Email them to me by writing ltrayser at gmail dot com. If you tell me you can't email them, you're lying. Take a screen capture of it and send it my way. If you don't know how to do that, Google it. It's pretty easy and you'll feel like a champ when you do it correctly.

Below are the brackets of entrants so far. If you hover over each bracket you'll be able to see who its author is. Also, clicking on the bracket shows you a picture of each author's cinematic sponsor. They may or may not all be Disney villains. Anyway, let's get it started.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Facebook Comment Ninja Strikes Again

So silent. So deadly. I'm like a two day old fart.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lindsay Lohan is suing eTrade. After you find out why, you'll be even more confused

Two awesome videos:

Today in bullshit news:
Remember that eTrade "milkaholic" Super Bowl ad? Turns out the milk-crazy baby was named Lindsay, and so, eTrade is now being sued for $100 million by Lindsay Lohan. This is a real thing.

Lohan claims she has first name recognition on par with Madonna and Oprah. Remember The Parent Trap? Freaky Friday? Mean Girls? Decent flicks that showcased a budding star's potential. Now she's a complete train wreck. What a jackass.

And finally, here's your perplexing pop-up ad of the day:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Best Picture/Director

Note from Luke: This is Bighead's final Oscar Preview post. To read his past entries, check out the links below.

[Top 10 Snubs]
[Supporting Actress]
[Supporting Actor]

[Best Actress

[Best Actor]

I'm combining the Best Picture and Best Director categories because they happen to fall in the same order. The directors are going to be in parentheses following their respective movies.

10. The Blind Side

Sandra Bullock single handedly carried this movie to the top ten. This feel good summer blockbuster will get more viewers tuning in to the Academy Awards which is the main goal for expanding back to ten nominees. Is it one of the top ten movies of the year? Probably not. However, this is the perfect movie to round off the Best Picture category.

9. Precious (5. Lee Daniels)


8. A Serious Man

I'm pretty sure the Coen brothers can't miss. Especially with the new format of ten Best Picture nominees, they could make one movie every year and it'd be up for an Oscar. They write, produce and direct every time and they seem to never fail. And although this movie isn't even close to the caliber of say...No Country For Old Men, it's quite enjoyable.

Michael Stuhlbarg plays a Jewish professor in this dark comedy whose life basically gets dumped on over and over again. His wife hates him, his children don't respect him, and his brother (the only constant in his life) is socially awkward and won't leave his house. I know. Sounds hilarious, right?

It's held back by its unknown status and the fact that most people don't especially like dark comedies, but I highly recommend Netflixing it.

7. Up

People are really stressing the fact that this is only the second animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture and I guess that's an honor, but let me tell you why I have trouble putting Up in the "Best Animated Picture Ever" category.
  1. It's not even close to Beauty and the Beast
    As some of you may know, Beauty and the Beast was the only animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture and that was when there were only five nominees. It was nominated because it was ahead of its time and it's hard to a.) make a good musical, and b.) make a good animated feature. Beauty and the Beast did both.
  2. It's not even close to WALL-E
    WALL-E is the best animated movie ever made. Hands down. And although Up is a masterpiece and Pixar is really learning how to tug at your heart without making it inappropriate for kids, I find it hard to give it the credit that I probably should.

6. An Education

You can come out of this movie with two different mindsets: I hated it because it was creepy, or I loved it because the creepiness didn't seem as creepy as it should have. If I read the script before I saw the movie I would've freaked out and refused to see it.

Plot: A thirty-something man has sex with a sixteen year old. Oh wait, she made him wait until her seventeenth birthday. So it's totally not creepy.

Carey Mulligan owns the whole time, and Peter Sarsgaard somehow makes his character charming, not creepy. Hard to do in a role like the one he played. The supporting cast does exactly that; they support Mulligan to perfection, and there are two dominant and memorable cameos by Emma Thompson and Sally Hawkins that top off the picture.

5. District 9

This movie give me hope for the film industry. Sometimes movies come along where I think, "is this the best Hollywood has to offer?" When I see a movie being remade for the tenth time or Rocky still fighting while he's in a wheelchair, I tend to get a little upset. Can't somebody on earth be creative? But then this sci-fi thriller comes along and my heart feels good.

Like last year's Best Picture winner, Slumdog Millionaire, right after I watched this movie, I was mad that I wasn't the one who thought of it. If you haven't seen D9 yet (and you don't mind some blood and you can stomach your way through it), watch it now.

(And I'm mad at myself for forgetting Sharlto Copley on my 10 snubs list. I would've loved to see him nominated for Best Actor. He deserves it this year more than Morgan Freeman.

4. Inglourious Basterds (4. Quentin Tarantino)

I've heard from a lot of people that Basterds has the best collective acting in the bunch, but it all starts with Tarantino. I wish I could write like he can. He's the best at writing 20 minutes of well-crafted, meaningful dialogue, and then following it up with 3 seconds of mass chaos.

I was hooked on this movie the moment I saw the first trailer. I knew going into it that I was going to see a lot of blood, and that the movie itself was going to feel like Tarantino (ensemble cast, broken up into chapters, strong female lead, etc). It had everything I hoped for, and then some. Listen, I have no sympathy for Nazis. What was shown in that movie was nothing. SPOILER ALERT: How Hitler dies in this movie is not even close to how I wished he died. It was Tarantino saying "Forget facts! I'm making history the way I want to make it!" Awesome.

I think this post might just be my masterpiece.

3. Up In the Air (3. Jason Reitman)

Both Basterds and the film not to be confused with Pixar's Up had scripts that owned. It'll probably win Best Adapted Screenplay, and this might be my favorite acting cast this year, so it feels strange putting it at number 3 on my list with such qualifications, but I have two very big reasons for it (see number 1 and number 2).

Everybody just fits perfectly into their roles in Up in the Air. George Clooney was at the top of his game and Vera Farmiga's quick wit complemented Anna Kendrick's spastic ways to perfection. Even Herny Rowengartner's mom made a great appearance.

Also, Jason Reitman is officially a director not to mess with. He's here to stay. Thank You For Smoking in 2005, Juno in 2007, Up in the Air in 2009. Very impressive, especially considering the guy's 32 years old. Whatever he makes in 2011, I'm seeing.

2. Avatar (2. James Cameron)

The next two movies are the clear front-runners for both of these categories, and although I feel the Best Picture and Best Director winners should always go to the same movie, that doesn't always happen. This is because only directors in the Academy vote for best director and the entire Academy votes on Best Picture. Most years this doesn't matter, but I think this year it will.

Avatar was unlike anything you will ever see. James Cameron created a whole new world. I felt like Jasmine in Aladdin. Awwwwww SNAP. If they made a 24 hour featurette called "The Making of Avatar," I would watch every second...Twice. I think the Na'Vi are a real species. They sure seemed real to me. Unfortunately, if I had the ability to do what Cameron did, there were a couple things in this movie where I went "I would have done that differently." Sigourney Weaver quickly comes to mind.

Between Best Picture and Best Director, Avatar has the best chance to win Best Picture. Regardless, it will most likely clean up at least 5 of its 9 total nominations. Avatar grossed over a billion dollars and changed film making forever, but as far as Oscar is concerned, this is not Cameron's year.

1. The Hurt Locker (1. Kathryn Bigelow)

There is nothing wrong with this movie. Let's go through it.

Writing: A+
All movies start with the script. Mark Boal went into Iraq and followed a squad of bomb techs around, so he knows his stuff and it shows. He writes about their job and that's it. As a strong conservative, one of the biggest things I can't stand about movies involving Iraq is the bashing of our government. Boal leaves the politics out of it. Hurt Locker isn't pro-war or anti-war. It simply tells a story. It just happens to be an incredibly powerful story, and one that makes you think once it's over.

Acting: A+
Jeremey Renner gives one of the most memorable performances of the year. Hands down. Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty are the everyday soldiers. They are not douchebags like Channing Tatum that because they have huge muscles, that means they belong in a uniform. Wow, do I hate Channing Tatum. Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse were all flawless (and they're collectively on screen for about 10 minutes).

Directing A++
Everything about this movie is perfect. Choosing a cinematographer whose main background is documentaries so you feel like you're in the action with the soldiers was brilliant. Using real explosives instead of the "Hollywood BALLS OF FIRE" was brilliant. Making the movie independently so you could film it on the border of Iraq instead of somewhere like Morocco was brilliant. Making it independently also means you can choose your actors. A studio would have picked Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, and Adrien Brody as there three main characters. That wouldn't have worked here, because:

*HUGE SPOILER ALERT*The two most famous people in this movie die two minutes into their scenes. Brilliant. Katheryn Bigelow, thank you for making this masterpiece. Oh, and you are extremely hot for 58.

The winner of the Director's Guild top award has won the Best Director Oscar 55 out of the last 61 years. Lucky for Katheryn Bigelow, she has already won the DGA Award so I think this is hers to lose.

So there we have it. Bigelow and The Hurt Locker are my pick to bring home the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. The Oscars are tonight. You need to watch them. JUST DO IT. IS IT IN YOU? I'M LOVING IT!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Why My Idiot Friends Hate Me


Maybe this is what Dan was excited for. Thanks to @acegrl for the image.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Best Actor: 2010 Oscar Preview

Note from Luke: This post was written by Bighead, resident film guru at Common Vents. Check out his other Oscar preview posts using the links below.

[Top 10 Snubs]
[Supporting Actress]
[Supporting Actor]

[Best Actress]  

5. Morgan Freeman - Invictus

I know basically as much information about Nelson Mandela as Chris Rock tells in his jokes, so my knowledge is kind of limited. He spent 27 years in a South African prison. He was beaten, he was tortured, and he got divorced from his wife after six months. That's basically all I knew before seeing Invictus.

But here's the problem. Biopics need to give their subject material at least a few decades before a movie can be made about them. Let's look at some recent successful biopics. Both Walk the Line and Ray had subject material from the 1950s. Milk's plot unwound in the 1970s. The events depicted in Invictus took place in the early and mid 1990s. That's not nearly enough time between actual events and theatrical events. Strike 1.

The whole point of finding actors to play bio roles is that the actual people (Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Harvey Milk) are either dead or too old to play the part. But Freeman played Nelson Mandela in Invictus while the actual Nelson Mandela could have easily played the same role. That takes away from Freeman's credibility right off the bat. Strike 2.

Also, Morgan Freeman IS Ellis Redding. All of his other characters are wannabes. So, hearing Morgan Freeman do a perfectly respectable Mandela impression was not enjoyable. During the whole movie I was saying to myself, "why is Red talking all funny?" Strike 3.

It seems like a great idea to cast one of the best actors of this generation as one of the most famous political leaders of our time, but that's exactly what takes away from the performance.

4. Colin Firth - A Single Man

I didn't get A Single Man. What I mean by that is I don't understand the accolades it's getting.

The movie is about a man struggling to keep living life and find meaning in it after the death of his longtime partner. If you were bored by that sentence, you're going to be bored by the movie. It's a 90 minute long snoozefest.

Still, Firth performed well. In particular, two scenes in the film were fantastic, which was enough to elevate Firth over Morgan Freeman in my book.

Wow, I'm boring myself by writing this. Let's move on.

3. Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart

Most people will be mad at me for putting Bridges in the middle of the pack.

He'll most likely win come March 7th and I have no problem with that. It will be nice to finally not have to mention the words "The Dude" and "underrated" in the same sentence. He was fantastic in Crazy Heart. He sang and played guitar like he was a veteran musician. His chemistry with Maggie Gyllenhaal was phenomenal. Still, if I had a vote for Best Actor, Bridges wouldn't get it. Here's why.

I went into Crazy Heart with very high expectations, and when the movie itself didn't fully live up to those expectations, his spot on my list fell. I know my judgment of an individual's performance shouldn't be linked to how much I liked the movie, or what I intially expected, but I can't help it. Sometimes I do that.

It's like having a bologna sandwich for dinner, only it has a juicy piece of steak in the center. That one bite of steak should be delicious, but it's not, because it's surrounded by the bologna sandwich. And I'm not saying Crazy Heart is a bologna sandwich to Jeff Bridges' steak (Crazy Heart is actually a good movie), but you get what I'm saying.

2. Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker

If you haven't seen The Hurt Locker, stop everything you're doing and see it right now. If you have seen it, you know that the movie kicks ass and Jeremy Renner kicks ass in it. If you don't agree with me, you're wrong. That's right, your opinion is wrong. I'm watching it again right now. It's probably my 25th time watching it. It's that good.

There was a point in the movie where I kind of thought that Jeremy Renner was not an actor, but an actual bomb technician in Iraq. You believe he knows what he's doing. You believe he needs war just as much as war needs him. You believe that even though some of his tactics are not "by the book," he cares about his men. Before this movie, I knew Jeremy Renner as the bad guy in S.W.A.T and that's about it. Something tells me I won't be forgetting his name any time soon.

I'm assuming all of you were up at 7:30 on February 2nd watching Anne Hathaway announce the nominations. I mean, why wouldn't you be?? And if you were lucky enough to be watching the Today Show, Jeremy Renner's reaction was priceless. He was so happy that his performance got recognized. It was impossible not to be anything but happy for him. When I saw his reaction, I smiled, laughed and clapped for him. And I was by myself, literally cheering for no one to hear. I'm pretty cool.

I just tracked down that video. Enjoy.

I had Jeremy Renner in the #1 spot about 10 minutes ago. Let's just call this position 1-A.

1. George Clooney - Up In the Air

In the first half of the movie, Clooney plays a witty, smooth talking playboy who only cares about numero uno. Then his character completely changes, and he pulls off both sides to perfection. And there are very few actors that can pull off a comedic character in a drama as well as Clooney can. However, some may view this performance as effortless, which hurts Clooney's overall chances to bring home Oscar.

I really, really wish that he didn't win the Best Supporting Oscar four years ago for Syriana. I'm convinced that if he didn't, he would be winning this year.

That may sound confusing. Clooney isn't winning this year? Isn't he in my #1 spot? Yes, but my rankings go by who deserves it most, not who's going to win. I'm fairly certain Jeff Bridges is taking home Best Actor this year.

It breaks my heart a little when somebody wins an Oscar for a piece of work that isn't their best. Seriously, I cry. A lot. When Martin Scorsese finally won for The Departed in 2007, it was great that he finally won, but it's probably his third or fourth best film. Very bittersweet. That's how I feel about Clooney's performance in Up In the Air. I'm pretty sure he gave a career performance, but he'll win Best Actor for a future role that's not nearly as memorable as this one.

The Oscars are March 7th, THIS SUNDAY! Until then read my other previews, and look for the Best Picture preview tomorrow.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Creeps, Casimir Pulaski and Controversial Islam Leaders

Happy Monday, everyone. To all my unemployed peeps, you have the greatest life ever. Enjoy it while you can. Let's get right to the random.

#1: The Drive-By Creep

The Jess and I did some errand-running on Saturday. After dropping off a package at FedEx, we were walking back to the car when a guy drove past us, spotted The Jess and held his glance for a good three seconds as he drove by. Now, I can completely understand this. The Jess is a good-looking lady. And to all you feminists: Yes, this could very well be objectification at its finest and downright creepy as well, but from a guy's perspective, this behavior is understandable. So I'm not going to knock this mystery creep's behavior. I will, however, knock his technique.
Dear Idiot who creeped on The Jess,

You were wearing dark sunglasses on Saturday. It might have been the most overcast day in the history of everything. You obviously didn't need sunglasses to ensure you drove safely. Thus, I must conclude that you were wearing dark sunglasses because of the other benefit: Creeping on chicks.

Good work, Dr. Douche! You've realized that you're able to creep on women without them knowing thanks to the glance-clouding power of your knockoff Oakleys. One thing you forgot, though: In order to keep a low profile, it's important that you DON'T TURN YOUR HEAD. I mean, shit. Your double take was so emphatic I'm surprised you didn't give yourself whiplash.

So, to you and all other wannabe sunglasses creepers: Only move the direction of your glance when you creep. Do not turn your head or you will be busted.

#2: The Greatest Pole

The first Monday every March marks Casimir Pulaski Day. We all know about his heroics in the American Revolution, but the real question is still unanswered: WHERE IS PULASKI BURIED?

According to several witnesses, Pulaski was buried at sea. *WARNING* POLISH JOKE IMMINENT.

Three men drowned digging his grave. Ohhhhhhhh SNAP!

But a grave site was recently examined on a Savannah plantation, where it was alleged Pulaski was buried. Then, after an EIGHT YEAR INVESTIGATION, the results were inconclusive.

Gah! Eight years of looking at a corpse and you still can't tell who it is? Who was running that operation? He spent two presidential terms examining a corpse, and because of that, he gets to answer the question "Was that really Pulaski?" with a resounding "DURRRRRR, I dunno!" What a waste of time.

That'd be the worst episode of Bones EVER.

#3: Farrakhan and Flying Saucers

Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan predicted yesterday that America will face its own imminent disaster and must prepare. This prediction comes on the heels of the Haiti and Chile earthquakes.

Farrakhan has been called a racist and anti-Semitic more than once. I don't know about all that. However, I'm fairly certain that using a premonition about an ascension into a flying saucer to predict future events is slightly iffy.

From Chicago Breaking News:

"Farrakhan described a spiritual experience in 1981 in which he ascended into a flying saucer and heard the voice of Elijah Muhammad predicting historical events that did come to pass."

This is how I imagine things playing out:

FARRAKHAN: I had a vision aboard a flying object in the sky! I now know that bad things will happen! And also good things! Basically, big events will sometimes occur!

Berlin Wall falls

FARRAKHAN: I totally called it!