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29 February, 2004

My Oscar predictions: ... yeah, I know, I know, a little late. I thought it was next week. I've been out in LA the last couple of weeks, battling food poisoning and advising on a documentary on wharf rats. But there's four hours yet before the ceremony. So yeah, my predictions.

Best Adapted Screenplay: City of God or American Spendor would be nice, but my money's on Mystic River, the late-career high-point by Clint Eastwood.
Best Original Screeplay: I'm guessing Lost in Translation. It was surely a light one, but it laid the delicate framework of this film that gets better with every viewing.
Best Film Editing: If City of God doesn't win, the voters are idiots. None of the other films on the list come close in technical mastery, although.... oh, crap, never mind LOTR's on the list. Well, yeah, some really smart editing there too. Ok, LOTR will win.
Best Visual Effects: Duh. LOTR again. It's Peter Jackson's year, everybody knows it.
Best Documentary Feature: Hmmm... Well, Capturing the Friendmans got a lot of critical buzz and then just disappeared. Possibly because it's so disturbing. Actually, I'm not done talking about this movie. Expect a blog on it soon, because I have some strong misgivings about the filmmakers. I've heard My Architect is terrif, but... Either CtF or Fog of War, Erroll Morris' new documentary. I'm going to shoot for the moon, Capturing the Friedmans.
Best Documentary Short Subject: I haven't seen any of these. I'll give you a hint though. The movie Chernobyl Heart has the word Chernobyl in its title.
Best Costume Design: I'm gonna play it safe and go with LOTR. But Master and Commander could be a good bet too. Or the Last Samurai.
Best Sound Mixing: Oooohhh... Well, LOTR is the obvious bet, but let's be crazy and bet on Seabiscuit. .... Actually, no, let's not. LOTR.
Best Sound Editing: Finding Nemo. That was a good film. But then nautical war movies (especially submarine movies) are the safe bet. So Master and Commander.
Best Live Action Short Film: The Red Jacket. Films about an inanimate object going on an adventure are always hot.
Best Animated Short Film: My money's on Destino. Roy Disney's on it. Right now we're pro-Roy Disney, anti-Eisner. (regarding that topic: heh heh. Good riddance. Give them a month)
Best Makeup: LOTR. yawn.
Best Music: Cold Mountain. That stuff actually at least had some personality. They'd be fools to give it to LOTR.
Best Music (song): Again, Cold Mountain
Best Art Direction: Meh. Who knows. Let's say Girl With a Pearl Earring, just for fun.
Best Animated Feature Film: Brother Bear. Ha ha. Just kidding. Finding Nemo.
Best Directing: Peter Jackson, for LOTR. Should be Fernando Mereilles though. Not that Peter doesn't deserve it... those movies were a hell of an accomplishment.
Best Cinematography: I'm betting on City of God this time. I have an unusual faith in the voters to give at least SOMETHING good to this amazing film.
Best Foreign Film: City of God. No, wait, I forgot, it wasn't nominated. Can't remember why, but it was some procedural thing.
Best Supporting Actress: I'm still betting on Renee Zellweger, even though she seems to have fallen out of favor.
Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins, all the way. It was too recently that Benicio won for Traffic.
Best Actress: Charlize Theron, appropriately. She was just jaw-droppingly good in Monster. Gotta see it to believe it.
Best Actor: Bill Murray, finally. After bringing surprising depth to the silly supporting character Raleigh St. Clair in the the Tennenbaums, he had a chance to really show his chops, and LiT's is a wondefully understated performance.
Best Picture: Oh come on. Like I even have to tell you.

I'll see you on the carpet.


28 February, 2004
by Malcolm

I saw Y Tu Mama Tambien again tonight. I might have dealt with it better if they'd skimped on the male nudity, but man, that's a good movie. I quite like the Jules and Jim style narration. Course, you can't go wrong with Mexican Beach cinematography. But let's call a spade a spade, the visuals are lovely, the girl is crazy and hot and the manifestation of every teenage boy's fantasy, and it's just a ballsy movie. It takes a kind of courageous individual to make it. Not just talking about the squirmy ending. It's a movie about the inherent tragedy that awaits those who cross boundaries, be they the boundaries of gender, class, or friendship. And especially the tragedy of friendships between two shallow people. I don't know about you, but growing up, I definitely knew that pair of best buds who had a sudden, unexplained termination to their friendship. To think the manufactured rumors might have been true...

Things are going well for me. I saw some old friends this weekend. One of our group forgot his ID, and if it had been a short story, the symbolism would have been gratuitious. Though we have grown up so much since high school, we still found ourselves sliding into the old molds, and to top it off, we had to slip him beers while the bartendress wasn't looking.

Also, although I much appreciated Bush's tenacity in our post-9/11 climate, and can't imagine Gore as president, I'm just not strong enough for another four years of Bushcroft. If you see Ralph Nader tomorrow, thank him for his part in preventing my car from exploding, and please, please, advise him not to run.


24 February, 2004

Two things: One, Malcolm did a little webwork, and now "Reviews" is "Essays" and two of the icons have been swapped. It might get confusing while the old stuff is still in your cache. This way, essays on the reviews page no longer have to be about me and my career. We are seeking to expand staff, adding new animators and essayists. If you're interested in submitting work to us, why don't you send us an email using the email page?

Second, I've been sick lately, and didn't make it to the screening of Mel's new movie. I will soon, and you can count on something in the not too distant future.

Also, as we noted on the home page, the dogblog is the place for news updates and sundries, from all members of our staff.

Oh yeah, and Matt wanted to show you his Mayan Name. Check it out.


23 February, 2004
by Matt

We should have a cartoon coming up soon. Malcolm and I are in the process of making a joint-work. We will summarily clip it to the internet for your groovy viewing pleasure.

I'd like to let the world know that I've rediscovered an awesome computer game, Populous: The Beginning. It's in the genre of Warcraft, but with 3D rotation. Pretty amazing game for being so old. You can set natives on fire, burn them in earthquakes, send firestorms to their cities, and I'm working on sending a plague of dogs with HUMAN HANDS (just kidding master, thank you for my job, by the way I didn't get payed last week).

Anyways, keep the advice coming... even some cartoon plot suggestions?... Maybe I'll take time from my busy schedule of playing Populous to crank out your idea.

So long, fare well, adieu and say goodnight.


23 February, 2004

At the time of this, how you say, blogging, Amazon is peddling hardcover editions of The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen for 7 bucks. It's an awesome book. You should check it out.


22 February, 2004
by Malcolm

I have just learned that there are grammatical errors in my caligramme. Corrected version to follow shortly.

Otherwise, things are good in Malcolmland. Actually somewhat ahead in a couple of my classes, which is new and somewhat frightening... I'm not sure I like it. Trying to get back into shape, doing tennis, which will fulfill my phys ed requirement. Writing sentences without subjects...

I saw Andy Kaufman's original Elvis impression the other day. That's just an astonishingly precise dance he does. It's pretty amazing. If you haven't seen it in a few years, check it out. It is a shame, however, that Andy's impression, however briliant, is responsible for Elvis Impersonators. But for every Nirvana there is a Bush, for every Mozart a Salieri, for every Andy Kaufman a [take your pick from the cast of Honeymoon in Vegas].

Hope all is well with you and yours out there in that wide world.


19 February, 2004
by Onion Boy (from Word to the Bird)

I like no movie my killing of gizzard man. Please to remove naked picture
with shotgun. I dumpster body. You called again when gizzards need for skanky
party. Grood.


15 February, 2004

Well, another Valentine's Day come and gone, and I all I can think about is chocolate. It's like kryptonite. You wouldn't understand. Well, no, wait that doesn't make sense, because Superman wasn't especially drawn to kryptonite, now was he. Apart from having that clump of it under the barn in Smallville. And who named that stupid town, anyway. It's bad Dickens is what it is. Where are the good place names, anyway? Like Delta City, in RoboCop. It sounds futurey, but it doesn't beat you over the head. After all, they've got Crystal City up in the DC suburbs. Speaking of RoboCop, that's a funny movie. If you can get past the ridiculousness. I saw much of it the other night. I really liked Paul Verhooven's idea of Future America's fad catchphrase. You know, the old guy who looks a little like Pat O'Brien, with the male pattern baldness and squinty glasses and tuxedo, each arm around a babe, cracking up and staring straight in to the camera and going "I'd buy THAT for a dollar!" It's scarily prescient. Because arguably our mass culture is just as dumb now as it was in the 80's. But you know, take a look back at Carlin's coked-up 80's routines, or Robin Williams' coked-up 80's routines or, my arch-rival, Richard Belzer's coked-up 80's routines, and you realize that comedy has actually improved. At least stand-up has. And yet we still pretend to take Belz seriously because he wears dark glasses and lives in Paris. You know who I'm talking about, right? The guy who's on one of the Law and Orders now, with the dark glasses? Who's on talk shows gabbing about conspiracy theories? Yeah, that's the hack I'm talking about.

Now, being respectful of Bob Hope is one thing, because (a) he was a workhorse and (b) his style of comedy had the better part of a century to gracefully fall out of fashion. But Belz was "in" just a little over a decade ago, and the comedy community treats him like a former dignitary. Is he just the designated Relic of the 80's, because everyone else who was worth a damn could adapt? I'm sorry, he's a fine guy in person, but there comes a time when the irrelevant entertainer must be put out to pasture.

Well, I got dumped, if you haven't already figured it out. I suspected my girlfriend Lucy Liu was seeing somebody else, and my worst fears were confirmed at Lobster Night at P. Diddy's.

You see, I'm never more than 30 minutes late, because, you understand, he overinvites, so it always looks like a Happening. So I'm strolling up, and I see Lucy smoking a cigarette on the porch with Jay Mohr. I decide to shrug it off, suck it up and go say hello to him, but for some reason my feet won't move. So I linger on the sidewalk a moment longer, and I see her motion for him to come inside.


By this point I'm a little steamed. I get past the guards, scope the place out, and see them atop the landing, heading for the bathroom. I creep up the grand escalier, wait the requisite 30 seconds, and kick the door down.

Jay was out of there in a hurry, but I could tell Lucy and I were over.

So yeah, I'm a little out of sorts... We just had such a good thing going. I've dated movie stars before, and this certainly won't be the last time, but ... you always think you found the good one, and you always realize you were wrong. Or maybe her star was simply flying too high for the likes of me.

But such is life. I'll know love someday...


We'll meet again, Jay Mohr.


11 February, 2004
by Malcolm

I had to write a caligramme for my french class last night. I did mine about badminton. I thought I would share my poem with you. You may view it here.

Gawd this had been an exhausting week. TGIW. I just saw a few minutes of The Saint on television. Did you know that Val Kilmer turned down roles in Dirty Dancing, Indecent Proposal, Blue Velvet, Dune, Crimson Tide, Backdraft, a Francis Ford Coppola movie whose name escapes me and, though I might be misinformed, Goodfellas? That's gotta be really embarassing.

Well, back to work. There's another buddy icon for you on the icons page from Matt's "A Peculiar Peculiarity." Hope you like it.


6 February, 2004

You know, real fatigue is a funny thing, because it makes you slow down, and take the time to catch up on the things you've been missing, like television. Tonight I watched Conan, and to my surprise I actually DID stay tuned for Carson (no no, Daly), as Mr. O'Brien has sugested so many times.

I'm joshing. Carson's an all right guy. I drank with him one night at this place off off 20th and Lex, and he's a good one to talk to. A little dim, a bit of a simpleton, but he really seems like he wants to hear what you're saying. At the time, I was talking about my distrust of garden gnomes, and while I think he was humoring me (I was slurring), I still appreciated it the next day. So anyway, yeah, he's all right. And he pointed out that Outkast's Hey Ya, having been appropriated by the Golden Globes and rewritten for the purpose of narrating the red carpet bit, is officially past its sell-by date. I thought so too, although for me it was when I heard it sung by tinny-voiced brats in a Kidz Bop commercial. Don't get me wrong, I'm all over that last album of theirs (especially the song about the roses... I have ALWAYS felt that way), but this overexposure is too much.

Conan... well, even a bad Conan show is worth watching, because what else is there to do after midnight if you're not going out? But this one was delightful. For starters, they did that thing with the drawings by the kids, which is always great, because don't kids say the darndest things? The drawing of announcer Joel Goddard feeding his pet pigs from his eight nipples was hilarious and yet somehow I think I sensed it all along (and childrens' drawings never lie, you know). And from the childrens' drawings we moved on to the eternal child, Drew Barrymore. No, that's not fair. She might not have gotten any smarter since her Bad Girl™ days, but I like to believe she's matured. And good lord she's cute. It's kind of amazing, too, because she can say the ditziest things and get away with them, because she's the original sunny personality. Still, some of the superstitions related to her self-diagnosed OCD made me go "Huh?" For example, she likes going to the gym now, because there's nothing wooden she'd have to knock on three times. I've actually only met Drew twice, but the times I did she was just the most easy-going person in the world. Not wound-up at all. So I guess that means she's just crazy.

Paul Rudd, who you might know from Wet Hot American Summer but actually know from Friends, was just hilarious. Oh god, did you have to be there. That's why I'm going to summarize briefly. He claimed to have a clip from the final episode of Friends, but it was actually a clip of a boy in a wheelchair flying down a mountain to a watery grave in a lake, from the movie Mac and Me. He and Conan kept saying the word Razzamatazz (I think this word went into hibernation during the McCarthy era, when it was banned for fostering lusty thoughts... let's hope a certain Atty. Gen. wasn't watching...). One time he got Conan to say it right before he took a sip of water, and Paul spit his water all over the... you know what, this is pointless. Yeah, you had to be there. I just wanted to bring it up because I think this guy is really going places... if there's any justice in the cosmos, that is. He's starting to develop that rapid-fire riffing rapport with Conan that you only see with Jim Carrey or Jack Black. I wanted to give him his props. Well, anyway, remember that name.

Then I saw Sling Blade on tv, as I was drifting off, and I was struck by how Dwight Yoakam, a talented actor, really only plays bastards. Also, I was struck by how no footage I have ever seen of him playing his music suggests he's any different in real life. Does the guy ever smile? Does he even like what he does? Did he adopt his sucky career because he lost a bet with a dying family member? I can't figure it out.

... Did I just spend all this time talking about television? I really need a girlfriend. See, I dumped my last one because she was two years older than me, and that's just too much... she didn't understand my generation, man.

I gotta go to sleep...


4 February, 2004

Well, I suppose you want to know a thing or two about me, eh? I'll run it down for you. I was born an indeterminate number of years ago in a humble cottage somewhere in the American heartland. I was discovered by scientist Johannsen Reimer, who taught me to speak, write, read, and maim. He also taught me to play the keyboard guitar, although that unfortunately fell out of vogue. He was a dear and trusted friend, and his passing saddened me deeply. For many cold months thereafter I was bereft and harboring dark thoughts, but finally a Matthew Lesko ad on television convinced me that happiness lay in the pursuit of material things. I applied to the Vermont Institute For Man-Animal Hybrids, and set about becoming a theater critic. I gradually realized that theater bores me to tears (The Blue Room is a notable exception, hubba hubba) and found that my dream job was right under my nose.

Were it not for that issue of Entertainment Weekly I was using as a slobberguard, it might have been weeks before I realized that my passion lay in the world of film. It was an awesome decision, because movies are, on average, 30-60 minutes shorter than plays. This left me more time for the greek scene (I outgrew it, but at the time it was intriguing) and hunting field game. So I made film criticism my focus, writing for the student newspaper, and finally graduated with honors in 1999. The air of the real world was bracing, and I quickly realized that the party was over, and I was out of time. I had to get serious and make some money if I was going to keep up my swinging lifestyle. I moved to Manhattan, the city of dreams... and also, for that matter, the city that never sleeps. It's quite a paradox.

To this day, I am deeply indebted to Matt LeBlanc, a fellow cineaste, who I met at a wine bar one night. We discussed the works of Truffaut and Louis Malle until the wee hours of the morning and, patting me on the back, Matt promised to set me up with a friend of his at a magazine you've heard of. He kept his word, and I wrote under the pseudonym Craig T. Nelson, until complications arose. I went through a few more aliases, some you may recognize, some you may not. You see, Dr. Reimer never actually named me... he just called me Rex. It was never made official, and for the better; I abhor that horrid name.

It was dear Matt Leblanc who nicknamed me "Killy." God bless him.

Things got better after that. Work started to come more regularly, and I began to find my voice. I was finally making my way, doing what I wanted. So that's pretty much where we are now. I get to schmooze with movie stars, see all the movies before you do, and take advantage of the free buffets and press junkets.

My life is good. Naturally, I don't see much of Matt, as he is a resident of Los Angeles, but we keep in touch. That walk-on role on Friends never panned out, but I'm still hoping.

That about does it for this installment. Thanks for reading, and I'll look forward to sharing my life with you in the weeks and such ahead.


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