New Podcast on 2015 Oscars: Our Experts on Birdman, NPH & Hanging Lightbulbs

Following a contest on MyMediaDiary.com, the top three winners guessing the 24 categories from the 2015 Academy Awards, Collin Ward, Melissa Balan and Steve Palizzi, were invited by hosts Kevin Walsh and Kale Davidoff to discuss the following: Best and Worst of the Show Bad Clips Shown for Good Actors Underwhelming Films New Categories such as:Neil Patrick Harris and the Hosting Curse–Too Naughty/Too Nice Best Picture–5 Years from Now Best Trailer Best Stuntwork Best Voice-Over Work Recommended Changes The Academy Voters Country Club/US Senate Snubs Joan Rivers Popularity of Hanging Lightbulbs Birdman and Hollywood’s Love Affair with Itself In the podcast, Melissa shared her project on the Mars mission.  Here’s the link!

Kicking Oscar Out of the Bingo Hall: Creating February Madness for the Academy Awards

I knew last night seemed familiar as the Academy Awards dripped by.  I was once again trapped in the living room of my grandmother’s 1974 Florida mobile home.  The room was stuffy; there was nowhere to go, even shuffleboard or laps on the awesome giant tricycles were forbidden to all under 65–and the pond had gators, reportedly. Last night I watched my 40th consecutive Oscars.  It began when I was in fifth grade with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest sweeping the major awards.  With the advent of cable TV’s 400 more channels, Twitter-feeds and on-demand viewing a lot has changed.  Except for the Oscars. Stuck in Lawrence Welk-Land It still starts at 8:30 pm, still runs past midnight due to the the Death Valley of songs, oddball tributes and eternal commercials somewhere half-past “It’s-gotta-be-over-soon” o’clock.  There is still the same generally awkward monologue/opening number—with a brief 1990s hiatus of Billy Crystal between rotating comedians who all get trashed the next day.  Every year there are minor tweaks—for example, last… Read More…

Pick the Oscar Winners and Become the Next MMD Podcaster!

Predict how tonight’s ceremonies will go! Will it be a laugh-riot or a slow-motion train wreck? At least this year, there’s less certainty of the 1-2 front-runners.  But with John Travolta’s famous mispronunciation last year along with Kim Novak’s awkward moment, there’s always more to watch than the happy and pretending-to-be-happy faces of the nominees. The winner (or winners) will be invited to join us on our post-op podcast this week! Loading…   For some other Oscar-related posts… Kale Davidoff’s review of Whiplash Our 2014 Post-Oscar Podcast–covering the highs, lows and bizarres Steve Palizzi’s fun 2014 Oscar-picks Robert Phillips examines Seth MacFarlane’s 2013 (and only) Oscar hosting gig Kevin Walsh’s Voyeuristic Oscar favorites

So I Didn’t See ‘Em All: Some Oscar Predictions Anyway

Welcome our newest contributor, Steve Palizzi!  You can also hear our podcast with Oscar predictions… And for our dissection after the Oscars, Sheri rejoins us along with Aaron Lebovic and Collin Ward… I have a confession. I haven’t seen all the movie in all the categories.  I haven’t even seen all the movies nominated for Best Picture. Am I embarrassed? Not really. I figure I’m no different from most of the American public who are making predictions, and I’m certainly no different from most of the voting members. Heck, I won the Detroit Free Press Oscar Derby a number of years ago with limited viewing exposure.  If you can forgive me for these transgressions, then read on. Best Picture:  I loved Gravity.  I found it suspenseful, thrilling, creative, and visually stunning.  Surprisingly, I willingly paid an extra $2 to see it in 3D, and I’m glad I did. Throughout the movie,… Read More…

Golden Globes & 2013 Film Trends: What Will Be the Next “Shawshank”?

Listen to our second podcast, a further discussion of the 2013 Movie Year-in-Review with contributing writer, Kale Davidoff.  Readers also submitted questions for this section.  Click here for more of our podcasts. I know I’ll remember Christian Bale’s terrible hairpiece years longer than Sandra Bullock dodging space debris. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will remind us, once again, why everyone secretly likes the Golden Globes better. The stars are all having fun. They’re at tables with drinks–there’s not nearly the pressure that falls on Oscar night. It’s more like the PSATs. And when a movie or show wins, everyone gets to run onto the stage–not just Harvey Weinstein who wrote the check. But the Oscars are the Life cereal to the Globe’s Lucky Charms. They honor “films” not “movies.” They’re the popcorn you’re supposed to get at the box office these days, with the natural olive oil and sea salt… Read More…

Seth MacFarlane’s Only Oscar Gig: Can’t we all just lighten up?

  Actors (either gender) are, at their best, magicians. How scary was DeNiro staring into the mirror as Travis Bickle? How sad was it when Brando as Vito Corleone momentarily broke down over the body of his murdered son, Sonny? More obscure: do you recall Melora Walters smile at the end of “Magnolia,” which contained more meaning than entire movies? Their work deserves praise, but let’s put things in perspective.  Every year, they “roll the red carpet out” for themselves. They honor themselves and their work in a gala presentation that lasts about 15 hours. The Oscars this year started two weeks ago, and I think it’s still on. Every now and then, an irreverent host is hired–Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais (OK, Golden Globes), and this year, Seth MacFarlane–who is then sharply criticized for being irreverent.  One of the kinder words used to describe MacFarlane’s appearance this year was “sophomoric,”… Read More…

Deja-Viewing: Jennifer Lawrence, Zombies and the Book of Job

Watching Jennifer Lawrence win her deserved Oscar last Sunday night–and better yet, seeing her respond so humanly to tripping on her crazy dress heading up the slippery stairs, I felt that she was someone that would be pretty great to know.  While she accepted her award, I suddenly flashed-back to another favorite of mine who won in 1989, Geena Davis, for The Accidental Tourist.  She too played a quirky, pushy character who knocks a self-pitying guy out of his funk.  In both cases, you’re siding with her over the guy, yelling at the screen for him, to quote Moonstruck, “Snap out of it!” Plot-patterns are fun to find.  A professor I had once said that every good story is alredy in the Bible somewhere.  The Book of Job is mirrored in Trading Places, as two powerful men bet on how a wealthy person will fare if everything is stripped from him.  Even… Read More…

Oscar Rubber-Necking: Some Favorite Head-Shakers (with New Podcast)

We ran this post last year, but it still holds true today–unfortunately.  Take a listen to a 2014 Podcast with Oscar expert and contributor, Sheri Horwitz. It’s like a family reunion, where the drunk uncle always shows up and upsets everyone’s big plans.  You all look forward to the event, then drive home wondering what happened.   And somehow, you can’t imagine having a reunion without that drunk uncle. Here’s my list of favorite Oscar night annoyances. 1. Red Carpet Silly Questions:  Beyond the usual “Who are you wearing?” this slow train-wreck involving screaming bleachers and limousines moving at 3 miles per week is spear-headed by pretty people who seem so over-the-top enthused to be talking to the celebrities that if Robert Downey, Jr. would actually do what his eye-rolling indicates and invoke Bobby Knight’s “Any more stupid questions?” I’d consider the evening a triumph, even before we get to…… Read More…

Oscar Shorts: Worth the Trip to See “Asad”

See the trailer or click on the link below. http://www.imdb.com/rg/s/4/title/tt2136747/#lb-vi2136908569 It was always enough of a challenge for me to see the five nominated films for Best Picture.  The Oscars like their films all delivered around Christmas and just dribbling out into theatres slowly  until the nominations then hoping for the big bump in attendance once the nominees are announced.  Now there are 9-10 nominees, depending on their initial votes, so it makes it that much harder to catch them all before the end of February.  (The show used to be at the end of March, but the Golden Globes, Director’s Guild, Joe’s Bar and Grill Favorites, combined to steal much of the Oscar thunder so they cut a month off my window.) Oddly enough, they haven’t expanded the Best Director nominees, keeping them at five.  Thus, Argo, is the latest favorite–not necessarily because it’s the best (which I won’t… Read More…