Thursday, January 22, 2009

Your pop culture dose of the day

Jesus, did I ever miss the mark on some of my Oscar picks. The complete list is here, but I think I got 20.5 out of 30 pics right. The reason I give myself half a point is that I got Kate Winslet right for Best Actress, but I picked her for Revolutionary Road, when her nomination was for The Reader.

My biggest upsets? The Dark Knight being completely screwed in the Best Picture and Best Director category. As The Dark Knight is widely regarded as kind of The Godfather of super hero movies, the odds of one from that genre ever getting a best picture nod are now officially slim. A comic book movie might get a nod, but it will be more along the lines of A History of Violence, Road To Perdition, that sort of thing.

Pity, really. I rewatched it on the weekend (in Blu-ray goodness) and it's lost none of it's power. It's a great movie and deserved to be in the top five. But as they say, deserve's got nothing to do with the Oscars.

Also figured Clint Eastwood would get a nod for Best Actor. Nobody thinks its his best performance. Then again, no one thought The Untouchables was Sean Connery's. They just knew the man deserved an acting Oscar. Same thing with Clint. He's 79. He's not going to be acting in too many more movies.

Also slighted with Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler" in Best Original Song. It's a beautiful song. I haven't heard the two from Slumdog Billionaire, although "Down to Earth" by Peter Gabriel is a pretty song.

I believe I posted something a ways back talking about how Disney had dumped the Narnia movie franchise. For those of you who care about that sort of thing, this story might interest you. It's a behind the scenes on why Disney dumped a movie franchise that made $1.2 billion for them worldwide.

It also says the franchise is not dead (although it appears to be owned by crazy people) and that Fox will likely pick up and distribute the next movie.

The deeply cynical bastard in me wants to say that the 2010 Junos being held in St. John's will provide some lovely bread and circus at a time when Newfoundland's economy may well and truly be kicked deep into the crapper if some economists predictions pan out (and really, you should not trust economist, especially Wade Locke. In fact, the best use for economists may well be as firewood if your heating bill gets too large this winter. But I digress...).

And hey, $1.5 million in fed, provincial and municipal money being kicked in to bring it here. Nice.

But I do have to curb the cynicism a bit. I was a journalist in town when they were there in 2002 and it was a lot of fun. It was nice to have the media pass and be able to go to pretty much any event you wanted. The city lit up and everybody was so thrilled that something this big and cool was coming to town. Plus, it really did revitalize the Junos. Most people gave up caring or even attending when they were always held in Toronto.

So yeah, we'll see if the sequel is as good as the original.

And finally, because it's been emailed to me twice and I've already seen it up several times on Facebook, here's the video to Colleen Power's "New Townie Man". If you follow this blog at all you know that I'm a huge fan of Colleen's music and I remain completely baffled why she's not a big star. She's got a great voice, is one of the best song writers in Newfoundland and is absolutely charming when performing live. What the hell more do you want?

(I'd also say she's a hell of a good looking woman, which sadly does count in the music industry, but I'm married and not allowed to notice these things anymore.)

This video is...well, odd. Quirky. A touch demented. But it made me laugh. "New Townie Man" isn't my favourite Colleen song - that would be "Newfoundland Weather" - but it is, in many ways, the unofficial theme song to the Townie Bastard blog.

So watch it and enjoy a little slice of Newfoundland fun.

Last Five
1. My best friend - Hot Hot Heat
2. Because - The Beatles
3. Still crazy after all these years - Paul Simon
4. Born to run (live, but a different version than yesterday) - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band*
5. Signal to noise - The Flash Girls


Anonymous said...

I've become quite partial to the "Original Screenplay" category. I was really tickled to see both Wall-e and In Bruges there. I loved In Bruges (and who wouldn't love Wall-e).

Hallett said...

A couple of interesting points:

Re. the Junos - there is a feeling in the music industry that the St. John's Junos Mk. I was one of the last hurrahs for the conventional music industry. Since then, the business as a whole has gone into a massive tailspin. The Canadian branch-plant labels which support the Junos financially have been cut to the bone. CTV, which paid for the telecast, is having a terrible time selling ads or getting paid for the ones they do run (note the death of Canadian Idol). The Canadian stars who created the international buzz which made the St. John's event so amazing have since seen their careers recede, along with the chart success and live business which made that event so spectacular.

In the past you have celebrated the decline of the major record labels. That is all well and good, but those labels did do one thing really well: create rock stars. Without that massive marketing power behind them, good acts emerge, but not ones who can create massive public buzz. Please note what happened when the labels stopped spending money on East Coast bands - watch the ECMA awards last year? No stars = no show = no ratings = no buzz = no sales/gigs, etc. etc.

I love Colleen too, but that wonderful video explains everything you need to know about why she is not a star: her material, while genius, is so local only a relative handful of people get the joke. It reminds me of watching CODCO with mainlanders. I am falling off the couch while they are looking around in incomprehension.

towniebastard said...

You're right on pretty much all fronts here. You make good points about the Junos. Unless things change for the positive in the next year, the Junos could be a real fiasco for the province. We'll see, but I think you're right about the sponsorship problems CTV is going to have with the show. It was neat and cool the first time they took it out of Toronto and brought it here. We'll see how the second time goes around.

I'm not sure if I've wished for the end of major record labels. I think I've wished for them to be smarter to adapt to changing technology and culture. Once they were very good at it; now they seem very slow, muddled and stupid.

I think it's easier to carve out a small niche and have a comfortable life making music these days, if you're good with the internet and marketing. But becoming a big, successful star? Well, that was never easy, but I think it's probably gotten harder.

As for Colleen, I always wondered what would have happened if she had just "sold out" completely like Liz Phair did a few years ago (Colleen reminds me a lot of Liz, actually) for one record, just to get the big hit song and national attention.

Because I think she has the talent to put out a bright, funny, catchy completely neutral (ie, you have no idea where she's from when listening to it) record. I also think it would likely destroy her soul, which is why she hasn't done it.

I got to run into her for a whopping two minutes when I was home last October, but she seems pretty happy these days. It sounds like she got a chunk of any bitterness out in "Rejects" (there's a few anti-label songs in there) so perhaps she's not interested in that anymore.

I just hope she keeps putting out music. And that I get to see her play again one day.