Raving Road to the Oscars

I freaking love movies.

English: The red carpet at the intersection of...

Image via Wikipedia

I freaking love the Academy Awards.

Yet, year after year, I am always lagging behind on having seen the nominated films.  It’s ri-goddamn-diculous.  I’ve had The Kids Are All Right on my computer for like, hell, I don’t know, ever?  This being the first awards season that I have my little blog with my buddy, seems like the time is right to do this shit proper.

So, this is my challenge, that I choose to accept:  By Sunday, February 26th, see all 9 films up for best picture.  The prize is just a feeling of accomplishment and also making my opinions valid.  :)  I’ve got one down, 8 to go.  It’s gonna be tight but I think I can do it.  I’ll link our reviews here.

~Annie

3/8/12: UPDATE: Yes, obviously, massive fail.  Sigh.

It’s Friday, I’m In Love…

…with all of these songs. :)

If you enjoy Downton Abbey like we do, you’ll be tickled by this, which aired on the Jonathan Ross Show back in December.  I have no idea how they got him to do this, but it’s so flipping spectacular:

~Annie                                                                                                                                          Now, put your hands UP! ;)

Your Sex Is On Fire

I couldn’t help but notice lately that there are some seriously appealing men on TV right now.  No attractive man should go unnoticed, if you ask me, so I’ve compiled a list of the 8 hottest guys currently in television.  If you aren’t watching these outstanding shows, allow me to give you one more reason to tune in…

Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder, Justified- I know Olyphant steals the media spotlight but my heart belongs to Boyd Crowder, played with captivating magnetism by Walton Goggins.  Pajiba said it best: “Walton Goggins exerts more charisma and energy sitting stock still in a Prison Visiting Booth than most other actors can muster in an entire feature film.”  That sound you hear?  That’s my heart going all aflutter.

Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock- I know we have his new, 30-something, yoga-instructing girlfriend to thank for it, but Alec is looking svelte these days and I am digging it.  The man oozes charm like none other.  One bewitching look with those ice-blue eyes coupled with his boyish grin would be enough to make my panties fall to my ankles.

Luke Wilson as Levi Callow, Enlightened- He’s unemployed, sure.  Something of a cokehead, all right.  Base enough to employ the occasional prostitute.  Unstable.  Unreliable.  Irresponsible.  Essentially everything a smart woman seeks to avoid in a man.  But it’s Luke Wilson, ladies!  Luke. Fucking. Wilson.  Does anything else matter?

Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller, Sons Of Anarchy- Usually, blondes just don’t do it for me but Teller has got that special mixture of bad boy allure and the appearance of innocence that have broken many a tender, feminine heart.  Not that I’d know anything about it.  Ahem.

Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson, Sherlock- I first developed a crush during The Office (U.K.) but now have decided he is the most adorable Brit ever to grace my television screen.  Intelligence, wit, charm and an English accent are an undefeatable combination.

Brendan Coyle as Mr. Bates, Downton Abbey- Annie’s the one who typically falls for guys old enough to be our father, but that twinkle in Bates’s eyes when he longingly looks at his beloved Anna is more than I can resist.  Check out this pic if you doubt me.

Allen Leech as Tom Branson, Downton Abbey- He may be a chauffer, but that Irish accent and his rebellious ambition more than make up for lack of social status.  I’m a sucker for nonconformity AND for an underdog so it was all but inevitable for me to root for him.  Plus, he has dimples.  And is boy-next-door cute.  If I were Sybil, I’d have run away with him in season 1.

Jeremy Allen White as Lip Gallagher, Shameless- I actually don’t find Lip all that attractive physically, but his wit and off-the-charts intelligence gave me pause within the first few episodes of this fantastic series.  His unwavering devotion to Karen and complete willingness to forgive her batshit antics cemented a full-on, scorching attraction.

Go on and watch.  You know you want to.

~Nikki

Taking the Long Way Around

image from Wikipedia

Calling all Anglophiles!  And anybody enamored of the ability to do a great impression!  I LOVE impressions – this is why I’d gladly pounce on Hank Azaria any day of the week.  A good one is both hilarious and captivating; those two feelings always end up equalling lust in my warped-ass mind.  But I digress. :)

I caught The Trip randomly on Netflix this past weekend (it’s available to stream), recommended to me because that site knows how I like it.  The film is kind of like a British Sideways.  Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (two actor/writers who are unbelievably dry and wonderful and charming) play fictional versions of themselves (I’m assuming).  Steve is commissioned to go on a restaurant tour for a week in northern England – one of those lovely happenings that us average Joe’s can’t even fathom.  Since his current relationship with his American model girlfriend is sort of on the rocks, he invites his friend Rob, and the two take off on a week-long adventure.

I said that I “assume” they are playing different versions of themselves, because they are playing Steve and Rob, and throughout the film, their acting careers and lifestyles, roles they’ve played, are discussed.  But this is a film, and I’m aware that they’re acting, however, they make it look so damn effortless.  Coogan and Brydon have a great reluctant chemistry.  They spend the week bickering, quoting films, and trying to one-up each other with their KILLER Michael Caine and 007 impressions.  I felt like I was hanging out with them, even though I would much prefer to actually BE in the backseat of their Landrover.

Reminiscent of Sideways, there are also sad moments.  Coogan is frustrated with the parts he gets offered, and cannot help but cheat on his hot young girlfriend who’s back in the states.  Brydon’s character is happily married with a baby, so the film points out the contrast between the two, without making it a huge deal.  It’s just the way it is, they each have their own lives.  Brydon asks Coogan at one point, “Isn’t it exhausting, at your age, partying all night?”, and Coogan responds with, “Aren’t you exhausted, at your age, running after a baby? Everything is exhausting at our age.”  Ah, poignancy.

I haven’t even mentioned the food they get to eat, which is shown and explained to us as it is to them, by the chefs at each locale they visit.  It’s all completely bizarre and original, and most of it sounded fantastic.

Two sad comedians, the LUSH and stunning English countryside, impressions that inflict belly laughs, and food porn.  This is quite a lovely Trip, indeed.

~Annie

Might Lose Your Pulse Standing Two Feet In Front Of Me

Justified is back!  Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins have returned to hypnotize me every Tuesday night and, judging by the season 3 premiere, they’re in top intoxicating form.  So glad to see the boys back to their old ways.  While Raylan’s banter with the chief and his colleagues entertains me, and Boyd’s interactions with his stupid cronies and the lovely Ava hold my attention, it’s the magnetic chemistry between Raylan and Boyd that makes this show so addictive.

This third season started off with a new bad guy, and quite a ruthless one it seems, a platinum-blond called Robert Quarles, who, I gather, is somehow connected to that gnarly-faced Wynn Duffy.  Desmond Harrington (that’s right – Dexter’s bad boy, Quinn) played the eerily entertaining Fletcher “Ice Pick” Nix, who, sadly, won’t make it into the second episode of this season, having met his end (as so many do) at Raylan’s hands.  Too bad, too, because he made quite the interestingly creepy criminal.  Quarles killed not only Duffy’s real estate associate (and amateur thief) Emmitt Arnett, but also Arnett’s secretary, the hapless bimbo who helped him set up her boss in the first place.  Not sure what Quarles is after, Duffy’s organized crime business, perhaps?, but I’m sure he and Raylan will meet before too long.  Between him, Ice Pick and Raylan, the death toll thus far has already hit 5!  5 dead in the very first episode!  Yes, this should be an exciting season.

Raylan and Winona are still together, their incubating embryo has reached the size of a walnut, and Winona’s still getting on my nerves.  I can’t say why exactly, but I don’t like that woman.  Ava, on the other hand, is as charming as ever and has taken over Boyd’s duties while he serves a bit of time in jail.  Though I love watching her kick hillbilly ass, I hope she doesn’t get herself shot again playing with those dangerously stupid (and armed) hicks.

Boyd, played with mesmerizing charisma by Goggins, has intentionally landed himself back in jail by assaulting Raylan, with the clear intention of shanking Dickie, the only member of the Bennett clan to have survived season 2.  Boyd seems determined to control the marijuana trade in Harlan, despite his recent losses due to his inept crew’s failure to foresee the inevitable growth of mold on their precious plants after being left in dark, damp trash bags for a few weeks.  And Arlo, Raylan’s own father, has plead his allegiance to the Crowder clan, which, I predict, will result in another face-off between father and son before the season’s over.

All in all, a solid episode and one that promises for an excellent season.  A preview for ep2 shows a new addition: Carla Gugino, that saucy brunette who’s sure to add many a complication to Raylan’s personal and professional lives.  If the TV gods are kind, they’ll let her run Winona out of Kentucky and leave Raylan to be as reckless as he so longs to be.  Oh, who am I kidding, as reckless as I want him to be!

~Nikki

Nobody Gonna Slow Me Down, Oh NO.

English: Helen Mirren at the 2010 Comic Con in...

Bear with me – I know this post is gonna come off as negative/bitter/generally shitty, but the following is a legitimate question/concern of mine.

I’ve noticed something lately:  In Hollywood, you can grow old gracefully.  At the Golden Globe awards, there were loads of folks in the second halves of their lives, rocking the shit out of it.  Helen Mirren, Harrison Ford, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, I could go on for a while.  The host for the night, Ricky Gervais, didn’t create The Office till he was 40 and ten years later, is worth about a google dollars.  I saw a profile recently on Albert Brooks, who, at 64, has two young children, Oscar buzz, and a best-selling book.  Martin Scorsese just directed the acclaimed Hugo, which was shot in 3D, a medium he’d never previously worked with before, and not only challenged himself with, freaking rose to it, making one of the most lushly rendered 3D pics to date.  Steven Speilberg, at 66, challenged himself with a medium he’d never worked with before, animation, and churned out the beautiful and award-winning Adventures of Tintin.  In New York, I had the pleasure of seeing a supreme bad-ass and legend, Alan Rickman, on Broadway.  Professor Snape is 65, busting his ass 6 nights a week on stage, and killing it (while presumably loving it).  This is not to mention the 2 or 3 films a year he stars in.

When the ol’ average American hits retirement age (whatever the hell that is, rising by the minute), it seems the universal goal is to be able to relax, travel, visit with friends/family, dote on your grandchildren.  AKA: Give up.  Just kidding.  Kind of.  Do people dream of still challenging themselves into their 60s??  Trying HUGE new things???  Most careers don’t allow you to still thrive at that age.  Do you know any 70-year old nurses who are still rocking it out, balancing taking care of tons of patients, dealing with hospital computer updates and upgrades, the changes in medications, medicine overall, regulations ever-tightening… I think not.  In my miserable place of employment (healthcare – collective GROAN), most people over the age of 60 have slowed down, and have long since lost the capacity to keep up with ever-changing technologies.  Of course there are exceptions to these rules, and I know a few over 55ers who will still give me a run for my money and kick maaaaaajor ass in the “I’m an awesome human being and employee department” – but it ain’t the norm, folks.

Is it possible?  In the mid-west, in a “get married and pump out babies” culture, to “hit your stride” later in life??  Maybe it’s because I constantly yearn for a different life, and yearn to NOT BE SURROUNDED BY THIS BORING, REGULAR SHIT, and also the fact that I’ve been undergoing some serious life changes lately, but I reallllllllllllllllllllllllly, desperately hope that my “stride” is a long ways off.  I’m no Martin Scorsese, but I’ve gotta believe this shit is possible.  Right?  Bueller?  Bueller??

Martin Scorsese's star on the Hollywood Walk o...

No hate intended,

~Annie

Earth Below Us, Drifting, Falling…

Between Spotify, Pandora, Youtube, etc. ad nauseam… there are umpteen choices for listening to music on the internet.  Miss X introduced me to a brand spankin’ new one, brought to you by NASA.  Yes, outer space + music, two of her favorite things.

Third Rock Radio, “America’s Space Station,” (haha) plays a great mix of indie rock/rock/slight electronica.  Tossed in at random are a few fascinating astronomical tidbits.  “At any given moment, there are about 1800 thunderstorms happening around the planet.”  Who doesn’t love scientific trivia? (Don’t answer that)

While I’ve been lounging here, writing this post, they played songs from Tapes n’ Tapes, Iron & Wine, The Chemical Brothers, Avenged Sevenfold, Evanescence, My Morning Jacket, MuteMath, Stone Temple Pilots, White Lies (an awesommmmmmmm band), Radiohead, Passion Pit (my precioussss), and Mumford & Sons.  At times, it sounds like it’s gotta be plugged directly into my mp3 player.  As I type this exact sentence, they’re playing one of my all-time favorite songs, ever, Young Blood, by the Naked and the Famous.  See what I mean?!

Next time you’re doing chores, or are bored, or are sick of the vile garbage the regular radio spews, check out Third Rock Radio (they’ve also got apps for iPhone and Android phones).  At the very least, you will garner a couple of facts to impress your friends with, but you’re bound to hear a song of two you dig.

~Annie