Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pop Culture Round Up

NOTE: I got back from NYC a few days ago and it was an awesome trip full of joy, bitterness, melancholy, and drinking weird Korean liquor out of hollowed-out fruit. So not feeling like talking about anything real right now, so let me nerd all over you with the pop culture ephemera that I've been cramming into my various head holes. Enjoy! Or don't.


The Wire - Okay, so I finally finished watching the whole series. Best show ever? Mostly. It's five seasons and four of them are quite simply some of the most outstanding television I've ever seen in terms of character, narrative, and overall scope. And then there's the fifth season, where the show sort of went off the rails. Not badly; it was still miles better than, say, NCIS: Los Angeles. But it really wasn't up the to standard set by seasons 1-4. However, don't take that like I'm telling you to not watch. WATCH IT. It's a phenomenal show.

C-dog's Rating: Five out of Five Spot-On Bawlmor Accents


Paranormal Activity - Creepy! I know I'm a little late to this party, but yeah... the hype was fairly accurate. It's a damn unsettling movie, though I wouldn't call it "scary" in the traditional sense. It did a number on me, though, but a large part of that could be because I'm deathly afraid of the paranormal and activities. Combining the two is a recipe for me sleeping with the lights on, clutching in fear the pillow that I pretend is a girlfriend like in The Lonely Guy.

C-dog's Rating: Four out of Five Caspers

The House of the Devil - Also creepy! This is a little indie flick about babysitting and Satan worshipers that was shot last year, but looks like it was made in the 80's. And I don't mean like Wedding Singer, lame Flock of Seagulls haircut jokes 80's... I mean it looks like a horror movie from the 80's, with all the washed-out film stock and fuzzy synth score that that implies. It quite frankly kicked my ass. Be warned, though... it's a teensy bit on the slow side; I consider this a good thing (it builds the tension and lets us get to know the characters), but it might also put some people (ADD pussies) to sleep.

C-dog's Rating: Five out of Five Pentagrams

Crazy Heart - Given all the Oscar buzz that Jeff Bridges has gotten from this thing, I was surprised at how... you know... not good it was. He was great, don't get me wrong... said Oscar is totally in the bag, and deserved... but the movie itself was very mediocre, Lifetime Original-ish, and not really that much about outlaw country (as was my initial understanding). If you saw The Wrestler, it was kind of like that but with less Ram Jams and Marisa Tomei boobage.

C-dog's Rating: Two out of Five Drunk Musicians


Love is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield - I made the mistake of reading this cover-to-cover on my flight back from New York. It is quite possibly one of the saddest books I've ever read and when I got off the plane, I went straight to a bar and got cop-punching drunk. The book is Sheffield telling the story of how he got married young to an amazing girl who, one day, just DIED. Like, embolism out of nowhere... that kind of death. It deals with him being a widower at 30 and all that, plus it weaves their mutual passion for music (he's a writer for Rolling Stone and Spin) throughout. Seriously excellent book, but man does it make you kind of want to shoot yourself in the face. Highly recommend for those too happy with their lives!!!

C-dog's Rating: Four out of Five Horrible Tragedies

The Catcher in the Rye - Can you believe I made it nearly 30 years as an American male without reading this? I think I've been telling people for years that I'd read it, but that's all bunk. I finally got it done while in NYC, reading it on the subway, which was if we're being honest a bit rich. I felt like "that guy" who'd just moved there and was trying to do New York-y things. If I'd been listening to Velvet Underground on my iPod while reading Catcher in the Rye on the subway, I'm pretty sure I'd have turned into an Empire State Building replica souvenir. Oh, anyway, the book was good; felt very true to life, and it made me want to read more of his stuff (what little is out there).

C-dog's Rating: Five out of Five Crumby Phonies

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I'm in New York all this week on vacation and won't be posting anything until I get back.

Except this.

Which is late and unhelpful and you all just assumed I was dead, didn't you?

You bastards.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Rebuttal From Cupid

What Valentine's Day Means To Me, or, "Fuck You, Cupid!"

It's that time of year again, where everyone shoves heart-shaped boxes of love up our asses for a few weeks, bludgeoning us over the head with a dead baby Cupid, reminding us that NOW is the time FOR LOVE and if you DON'T HAVE LOVE you are LESS THAN!!! I seriously spend most of February dry-heaving, so close to vomiting but not actually vomiting, white-knuckling it until March. Which is a whole other thing, because I have major issues with St. Patrick's Day too, but that's another post for another time (specifically March).
Anyway, I hate Valentines. I hate it when I'm in a relationship, I hate it when I'm not in a relationship. It is the single worst holiday on the planet with the possible exception of Easter (where we celebrate fictional events with chocolate, though I do like the chocolate part) or that one holiday they have in the Middle East where they all get together and hate our freedom. It's the very necessary-ness of it all that stirs within me so much chalky conversation hearts-flavored bile. The YOU HAVE TO part of it, even though we don't really have to (this isn't one of those countries where they make you join the army or give thanks to large oil paintings of "our fearless leader"). There's a social contract, especially between men and women who are getting freaky all over each other, that on Feb. 14th, the man will put on a tie, the woman a dress, and they will go to an overpriced restaurant and eat expensive food and then have really forced, unpleasant, kinda cold sex even though they don't feel like it (all that rich, pricey food) because it's VALENTINE'S DAY. It has to be memorable or you've failed at the fantasy that life is like it is in the movies/TV/songs by Taylor Swift.
It's just all so gross. And the gifts? God, this is who the holiday is actually for. The people that shit out stuffed animals for 30 cents a pop and sell them for $25 bucks. Have you seen these Vermont Teddy Bear abortions? Hang on, I've got pictures...
It's a "Knight in Shining Armor" Bear. Which is just fucked up because that's a bullshit concept that's sold to little girls who grow up to be women that expect their boyfriends/husbands to be this thing that they're not. Superhuman, fighting metaphorical dragons, etc. The men feel weak when their weakness is exposed... and it ALWAYS is... and the women are heartbroken because they feel like there IS a Knight in Shining Armor out there and they just chose wrong. It's what causes a healthy chunk of the divorce rate and now it's REPRESENTED IN A BEAR. God, you might as well give your significant other a glimpse into her own sad future via a mystical fortune teller or a Magic 8-Ball painted pink (for the holiday).
And then there's this god damned thing...
It's a bandit. Because "you stole my heart, so here's a cheap visual gag to explain that." Plus it's got candy. I don't know, I guess this one isn't as bad as the other one, but still. Thief Bear is only a desperate situation away from Double-Homicide Bear, don't ever forget it.
Look, I know I'm being a bit of a pill here. I know a large part of it comes from the fact that I'm lonely and kind of miserable and living in a town that wish was a city, but... I don't know... I think it's also because I've learned a lot about what it is to really love someone in the last couple of years. REALLY really love them. It's not fake red hearts and it's not buying candy and it's not "I'm your little devil" or a thousand other cutesy sayings.
It's letting someone sob into your shoulder when their mom dies. It's going out to the store to get a bottle of Tylenol because your girl/boyfriend is too hungover to move. It's being so comfortable around each other that farting is a hilarious contest and the sleep grit in your eyes doesn't stop the other one from thinking you're the most attractive thing on the planet. Love is a REAL thing, more so than religion or knowledge or the fact that every kiss begins with Kay (fact: most kisses begin with a third margarita). Love can never be expressed through a pre-fab greeting card; in my life, it never will be. However...
I'll keep your hair out of your face when you're vomiting from the flu.
I'll make you a sandwich when you're too busy studying for your Masters to feed yourself.
I'll keep you warm when the heat stops working. I'm fat, and basically a Tauntaun.
THAT is love. Fuck Valentines Day and everything it stands for. Cheapening love shouldn't be celebrated.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Seven Beastie Boys Lyrics That Do Not Apply to My Life

"Gotta castle in Brooklyn, that's where I dwell"

This used to be true, at least in the sense that I lived in Brooklyn. I didn't have a castle though; far from it. It was a very modest railroad apartment that I shared with a girlfriend. Sadly, those days are in the wind. As it stands now, I dwell in Arlington, TX; a city that the Beastie Boys have never written about in a rap song.

"Listen all y'all, this is sabotage"

Just not true. I spilled mustard on my nice hoodie because I'm generally a messy eater and, in this particular instance, I was distracted by the television (King of Queens reruns hold up surprisingly well). It would be foolish to think that there was any sort of foul play at large here. Sometimes mustard just falls.

"I did it like this, I did it like that, I did it with a Wiffle Ball bat"

I haven't had sex in a while. Not my longest dry spell, but it's getting up there. And ladies, for the record, if you and I were to make sweet, sweet love, I promise you that I would not bring a piece of children's sporting equipment into the mix. That's just rude and unseemly.

"I like my sugar with coffee and cream"

No thanks. I take my coffee black, though lately I've been drinking a lot more green tea (for the antioxidants).

"We're thrashing hotels like it's going out of style"

I'm actually a very thoughtful and courteous guest when staying at any major hotel/motel chain. I realize that, should I make a mess, someone will have to clean up after me. Leaving them a "thrashed" room would just be wrong. I should mention, for honesty's sake and all, that I did once steal a can of ginger ale from a Sheraton honor bar. Thug life!

"Aw mom, you're just jealous, it's the Beastie Boys"

My mother is not a fan of rap music, even if it happens to be old-school 80's rhymes with a funky-fresh beat that still holds up today. She would much rather listen to George Strait.

"I can always make them smile/From White Castle to the Nile"

When I go to White Castle, it is to get a large sack of burgers for not a lot of money. I am usually not focused on making girls smile. Also, I have never been to Egypt. And truth be told, I don't even LIVE in an area that has White Castles (as previously mentioned), so this whole argument is really an intellectual one rather than anything grounded in reality. Ah, but it's fun to debate, isn't it. Fo shizzle.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Outrage on Park Place

Parker Brothers, in an effort to be hip, edgy, down with the cool kids, and... apparently... a Phillip K. Dick spank dream come to life, has updated our most beloved of board games, Monopoly. They have taken it from its humble roots... a square, boring game about real estate that ends up hurting more people's feelings than junior high... and turned it into some kind of space-age clusterfuck that even Captain Picard thinks is, "a bit much."

There's no money anymore! You use an ATM card and it's all digital like that's something that's fun. You know what using an ATM card reminds me of? How much money I don't have. At least with the old Monopoly, I could play around with all the different colored money and pretend I was in Europe for an hour. But no... NOOOOO... it has to be all realistic now. All "true" and a better reflection of our society, but in a board game that everyone secretly hates, even though we love it, which makes it basically like a member of our family.

Whatever, sci-fi Monopoly... whatever. You've killed our childhoods dead with your changes. Boardwalk runs forever red with the blood of our souls. You bastards... you heartless bastards...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

You Stay Classy, Taco Bell

When I die, I hope someone can digitally render a mournful Fire Sauce packet in MY honor. Because, really, what better way to express your sorrow than with anthropomorphic condiments? Although personally, I think they should have Photoshopped a grief-stricken burrito throwing itself on top of his casket. Might as well go all the way with it, ya know?

image via The A.V. Club

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Anywhere But Here

It's pouring down rain and gloomier than a Goth with diarrhea today, and in Arlington, TX, that's kind of a double whammy seeing as how Arlington is a town that induces mild depression and vague feelings of unease in its citizens regardless of the weather. It's days like this that make me think about getting my hands on a lot of money... robbing 7-11s comes immediately to mind... and hitting the road like a 60's biker cliche. Born to be wild, or at the very least born to drive for a while until I get sleepy and need a Red Bull. The destination? Anywhere, my man... somewhere exotic, somewhere fun and alive, a place where the action never stops and neither do the bartenders when you accidentally puke into your pint glass.
Of course, before these daydreams take a firm hold on my brain and talk me into doing terribly foolish things (leather pants and a tattoo of my cultural hero, John Daly), I have to take a step back, splash some cold water on my face and my junk, and remind myself that... out there... in the big bad world... things are not all that. Other places, they're a hassle too. Sure Arlington sucks, but at least you've got family here, friends, a job that makes you want to kill yourself with a table saw but still it's A JOB...
Things are never quite as perfect as they seem. That grass isn't greener, it's just glinting in the sun because a hobo peed on it.
With that in mind, and in an effort to talk myself out of buying a Harley (which I would name "Lil' Stinker"), here's a breakdown of supposedly fantastical places and the reasons why they're as soul-deadening as everywhere else. Enjoy!
Earth is a Hell On Earth: A Travelogue
Perception - A tropical paradise where the rum flows out of the bathroom taps and sweet, sweet native girls are ready and willing to hula your dong at a moments notice. The beaches! The wonderful weather! You might meet Lilo AND Stitch!!!
Reality - You really want to see yourself in a bathing suit, you fat sack of taco farts? Well neither do the people of Hawaii, ESPECIALLY the native girls. They're going to go bone a hot surfer while you do a Sudoku puzzle on the beach and get a sunburn so bad it looks like you've been pan-fried. Plus, there are hurricanes, Smoke Monsters, ritual sacrifices, you're allergic to flowers (and they've got A LOT of flowers), real estate costs a million dollars because HELLO it's on an island, and eventually one day whatever volcano is sitting underneath all of that mess is going to blow its top. Try to enjoy your tropical paradise with a natural disaster's worth of hot magma rammed up your ass.
Los Angeles
Perception - You're going to be a star!!!
Reality - You're going to star in a movie that mainly features deep, introspective shots of your anatomy getting worked over by a failed college lacrosse player who the box art will call "Meat-Man Max."
New York
Perception - Oooh, I can be all Beat Poet funky, living in the East Village and putting on plays THAT TELL THE TRUTH, man... yeah or I'll join a band and we'll be big on the underground scene and get a positive mention from Vice Magazine. The hustle and bustle of the Big Apple will sustain me! I'll be at the center of the world, which is exactly where I already am in my own mind. The internal becomes external! I'm a creative soul exploding it's man-cage! I can make it there!!!
Reality - If you want to live in the East Village, one of two things have to happen: You have to pay a not-very-nice Middle Eastern man several thousand dollars every month or get evicted (if not fitted for a cement overcoat and tossed with little ceremony into the East River) OR you'll share a one-bedroom, sixth-floor walk-up with nine other people, four of which are hardcore heroin addicts, two of which are on the run from the law, one of which talks to the lamps, and the other two are friends of friends who will eventually give you HIV and/or steal everything you own (including the fillings out of your teeth). And you won't do anything creative. You'll be too busy working double-shifts at a grocery store, trying to save up enough money to just maybe go out to a bar for one... ONE... beer (which costs $12). You won't be hip. You'll never listen to music for fear of getting robbed on the subway. You'll be cold all the time. And THAT'S when you get bedbugs.
Perception - You love skiing and you're darn good at it, too! Time to put those skills to work; ski instructor by day, lover of ski bunnies by night!
Reality - Running those double-black diamonds was punching above your weight, you know that now. Sure didn't see that drop off. You guess they'll probably find your frozen corpse eventually, after the first thaw. Maybe.
Perception - The romance of it all! So much history and art, it's like living in a textbook on the Renaissance. You'll drink rich coffees at quaint cafes and red wine at bistros, you'll nibble a pain au chocolat as you discuss Victor Hugo with a mysterious stranger who just may be the love of your life. You'll become one of the twinkling lights in a city known for how they shine!
Reality - You don't speak French, you hillbilly, and you've never lived outside your county, much less in a foreign country. Tell me this: What's a Euro? Where are you going to go when that "mysterious stranger" takes your passport while you're showering off his B.O.? And that's enough thing... have you ever smelled the French? It's like an armpit learned a romance language. You'll hate every minute over there and you won't be able to stop thinking about that one Waffle House back home where you and all your friends used to hang out, God, I be they're there RIGHT NOW. You'll force yourself to go out and try to find some modeling work... that's what they do in Paris, right?... and because you're not anorexic and all dead inside (yet), you'll end up in a seedy part of the XVIII Arrondissement where you're told that all models must remove their clothes and get in a van. And that's your introduction to the terrifying world of white slavery. Enjoy your tour of the many brothels around the Baltic Sea!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Award Winning Commentary: Your 2010 Oscar Nominees

Why they announce the Oscar nominees at the butt crack of dawn every goddamned year, I'll never know. Whatever, though... I'm totally gaybones for "the big announcement," so I'm here, I'm reasonably awake, and let's discuss:

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz - Nine
Vera Farmiga - Up in the Air
Maggie Gyllenhal - Crazy Heart
Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
Mo'Nique - Precious

Every time I write Mo'Nique's name, I want to put the apostrophe in a different place. Anyway, this category is pretty much her and then, about eleven miles back, the other nominees. She's had this one locked up since last year's Sundance, so... you know... good for her. Sister is a LOOOONG way from Soul Plane. Also, it bears mentioning that I would like to arrange a big naked pig pile between myself and all these ladies (Mo'Nique included, as C-dog has jungle fever). I'll bring the beer, y'all bring the scented oils and the number of a quality grief counselor! Women find it helpful to talk to someone after sleeping with me...

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon - Invictus
Woody Harrelson - The Messenger
Christopher Plummer - The Last Station
Stanley Tucci - The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz - Inglorious Basterds

I still think that Matt Damon should have won the Oscar way back in the day for The Talented Mr. Ripley. Very underrated flick, and the dude's never really done anything acting-wise as nimble and exciting since. I mean, he was Jason Bourne and for that he will always smell pleasant and pleasing, but you know what I mean. Anyway, he's not going to win for Invictus because literally no one cares about that movie at all, even Nelson Mandela and it's ABOUT him. Also, rugby is full of toothless Aussies that smell like balls. Big ups to Harrelson and Tucci, though; I like both of them and it's nice to see them get a little industry love (although Harrelson is a bit tiresome with the whole vegan/hippie/let's wrap the world in a hemp poncho thing). The bottom line on this category, though, is Christoph Waltz being the scariest motherfucker in the room in Inglourious Basterds. He's this year's Anton Chigur.

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side
Hellen Mirren - The Last Station
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious
Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia

Betting against Meryl Streep in an Oscar race is like betting against the black guy in a boxing match, however I really don't think this is her year (because Julie & Julia sucked nards). Personally, I'd like to see it go to Sidibe, if only because it couldn't have been fun to have your big break come because you look gross and that's what's required for the part. Not that I'm one to talk, of course... if anyone's casting for a feature-length biopic of Fatty Arbuckle, please contact me in the comments section. I'll bring my own Coke bottle! (obscure 1920's scandal joke!) Sandra Bullock will probably win this one though, based on the near-toxic levels of sass that she emitted through most of The Blind Side. Which... okay, technically, I haven't seen, but that's SO not the point. I'm a pretty good judge of things I know nothing about, and I deem her performance... based entirely on the trailer... hammy, bad dye job-ish, and an attempt to pass of moxie as acting. HOWEVER... she was good in Speed and, to a lesser extent, Demolition Man (which is still the greatest Taco Bell commercial ever made), so I'll allow her to win with only a small hissyfit.

Best Actor

Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
George Clooney - Up in the Air
Colin Firth - A Single Man
Morgan Freeman - Invictus
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker

The big deal about this category... for me, anyway, which is what this along with everything else is really all about... is Jeremy Renner. I remember watching his performance as our nation's favorite gay cannibal serial killer in Dahmer and thinking, "This kid is going places. As soon as he stops eating that guy." Sure enough, after a detour fighting LL Cool J in S.W.A.T. (it happens), here he is getting his Oscar nomination on like a total swinging dick. The Hurt Locker is an excellent flick, don't get me wrong, but a lot of why it was good was homeboy's performance. He owned, plain as day. But he's not going to win, as Jeff Bridges hasn't EVER won (not even for Starman) and that's a debt Hollywood intends to pay this year. Not that I mind, of course... Jeff Bridges is an old-school bad ass and, from what I hear, he's really fantastic in Crazy Heart. So next year, Renner... next year. The C-dog abides.

Screenplay - Original

The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man

I've been on a Tarantino kick lately, for whatever reason... Death Proof, by the by, is just a solid fucking picture; it kind of got overshadowed by the whole Grindhouse thing, but it really is one of his best (and, for the record, I am still the only person in the world who thought Kill Bill sucked)... but yeah, it would be cool if Tarantino won for Basterds. He's won before, but he had to share the credit with Roger "I Killed A Guy With My Car" Avery. This one would be all his. And the Coen brothers are always good, too, even though I didn't see this particular one. However, it'll probably be The Hurt Locker because, well, the movie was awesome and awesomeness deserves a bounty of riches. Oh, and P.S., if Up wins I'll be totally pissed; great movie, but that opening sequence was pure, uncut, not-even-trying-to-be-subtle sadness porn and it made me cry like an Italian woman at her husband's funeral. MAKING ME CRY SHOULD NOT BE REWARDED!!!

Screenplay - Adapted

District 9
An Education
In the Loop
Up in the Air

Wooo!!! District 9!!! That movie just kicked so much ass all over the place, it was like watching Jackie Chan in his prime, back before he decided he was the Asian Buster Keaton (which, for the record, he isn't) and started only making ass-tastic comedies with kids and/or sassy black men. I would love to see it win, but it has NO shot against Up in the Air. Don't get me wrong, I liked Up in the Air quite a bit; it just had more to do with George Clooney's raw charisma and devilish charm than the screenplay. No biggie, though... District 9 getting a nomination here AND for Best Picture is a victory in and of itself for genre fans everywhere.


Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
James Cameron - Avatar
Lee Daniels - Precious
Jason Reitman - Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds

Again, Tarantino's my boy, so it'd be cool to see Bigelow and Cameron split the vote so much that he sneaks in all back-door style... but that's not going to happen. It's going to be either our first ever lady Best Director (who also directed Point Break, let's not forget) or James Cameron again. Honestly... both would be acceptable. The Hurt Locker is without a doubt the better movie; that's not even an opinion, that's just fact that can be proved on a home computer or with graph paper and a pencil. Avatar, though... James Cameron quite simply directed the shit out of that movie. I mean, when he discovered that the camera he needed for certain scenes didn't exist, he invented it!!! How many of the other nominees can say that? Plus, the movie looked amazing, represented the future of movie-making, the whole "blue aliens" thing wasn't as dorky as we all thought it would be, etc. etc. So I don't know. It'll be one of them, but who's to say which? Although Bigelow did win the DGA award the other night, so... you know... that might be a tip of the hand.

Best Picture

Since they decided to open up the category to ten slots this year, let's look at each movie individually as a way to honor the inaugural "We'll Let Anybody In" class.

Avatar - As I said in my earlier review: Visually the most impressive movie I've ever seen. But visuals alone do not a Best Picture make, or at least they shouldn't. The screenplay specifically, and the plot in general, were pretty sub-par when you get right down to it; you'll notice its lack of a nomination in that category. But it DID make a kajillion dollars and even made desperately sad people suicidal for a hot minute, so... a big maybe for Avatar. By all means, though, firehose this bad boy with technical Oscars. It does deserve them.

The Blind Side - Really? I mean, like I said, I didn't technically see it or anything, but I also don't need to drink a gallon of Karo syrup blended with melted cream cheese frosting to know it's going to give me diabetes so severe that both my feet will explode. While I'm sure watching The Blind Side makes one feel good and warm n' fuzzy and like they've helped out "the ethnics" for a little bit, it really probably doesn't deserve the Best Picture Nominee title. That kind of cornpone should be happy with raking in the cash and that's it. Also, the Ravens flamed out in the playoffs, so HAW HAW.

District 9 - WHEEEEEE!!! My nerd boner dreams involve this pulling the from-nowhere upset and beating everyone and becoming President, but that's nothing but a wish farted out the ass of a magical trickster leprechaun, so never mind.

An Education - Didn't see it, don't care.

The Hurt Locker - Seems like the momentum is swinging its way, so I'd say this is your best bet for a win. As far as all the nominated movies go, this was my 2nd favorite...

Inglourious Basterds - ...And this was my 1st. Tarantino created a new, classic epic, and he did it all without sacrificing his own unique style and vision. A masterpiece, truly, and one that will stand the test of time better than anything else on this list.

Precious - Didn't see it; looks depressing. Will probably see it before the Oscars broadcast, though.

A Serious Man - I'm usually the first in line to see pretty much anything the Coen brothers put out, but I'm fairly certain this didn't play in Arlington, TX on account of it being too "jewey" for our North Texan palates. I'll catch it on DVD.

Up - Great movie, no doubt, but if a Pixar flick was going to win the big prize, it should have been Wall-E. That was some next-level shit.

Up in the Air - Depressingly modern and of-the-moment, I think everyone thought this was a lock for a while. Then they realized that other movies happened and they didn't have to settle for merely "very good." Which is not to take away from Up in the Air; it's a small movie with a lot of deep-running emotions and it deserves the love it gets. When you put it next to Avatar, The Hurt Locker, and, Inglourious Basterds, though, it kinda gets blown off the screen.