Monday, January 31
SANTA MARIA, California (CNN) -- The child-molestation trial for pop star Michael Jackson officially started Monday with a call to order after 150 prospective jurors filed into the courtroom in the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Jackson, clad in a white shirt, vest and pants with a gold-link charm belt, stood at the defense table, looking at all the potential jurors as they came into the room.
The trial's start appeared subdued in comparison with other Jackson court appearances in the case. Jackson arrived at the courthouse in a black sport utility vehicle with tinted windows. He stepped out of the vehicle and waved to his fans. An assistant held an umbrella over the singer's head as he entered the courthouse and underwent a brief security check before going into the courtroom.
I don't know about anyone else but I was holding my breath, worrying about whether or not I'd get the low-down on Jackson's attire. Thank god the news media is right on top of that little detail.
NEW YORK (Billboard) - Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails will headline the sixth Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, to be held April 30-May 1 at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, Calif.
The fest will also feature reunion performances by pioneering rock acts Gang Of Four, the Cocteau Twins and Bauhaus, as well as the first live appearance since late 2002 from Weezer.
The first day's bill will also feature rock acts Wilco (who were originally confirmed last year but forced to cancel while frontman Jeff Tweedy underwent treatment for painkiller addiction), Snow Patrol, Keane, Bloc Party, the Raveonettes, Mercury Rev, Fantomas, Ambulance LTD, the Kills, Secret Machines, Spoon, Razorlight, Radio 4, Eisley, Doves and Rilo Kiley.
Electronica and hip-hop will be represented on day one by the Chemical Brothers, Sage Francis, Armin Van Buuren, Boom Bip, Jean Grae, Swayzak, M83, Josh Wink, Four Tet and MF Doom, plus the customary DJ set from Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell (as DJ Peretz).
Beyond Nine Inch Nails, New Order, Bright Eyes, the Prodigy, Roni Size, the Faint and the rarely reunited hip-hop duo Black Star (Mos Def and Talib Kweli) are the top attractions on day two. The Arcade Fire, Junkie XL, the Bravery, the Futureheads, Matmos, Kasabian, Autolux and the Fiery Furnaces will also be on hand.
Tickets for Coachella will go on sale Saturday (Feb. 5) via Ticketmaster
I am so glad the media is on top of this. I would hate to miss any little detail. I mean, think about it, this case could last months, possibly years. It could be even bigger than that last "trial of the century" (I think that was OJ Simpson if I'm not mistaken.....)
Bush: It's up to parents, not us, to fight indecency
Now that the election is over and President Bush is secure for the next four years, it appears he and his administration are stepping back from the indecency debate. In an interview with C-Span’s Brian Lamb that aired last night, the president said parents are the first line of responsibility for protecting children against indecent TV programming. “They put a button on the TV for a reason,” he said. “Turn it off.” Bush called himself a free speech advocate and said “that government can, at times, not censor, but call to account programming that gets over the line. The problem, of course, is the definition ‘over the line.’” That wasn’t quite the tune the administration had been whistling since last year’s Super Bowl halftime flashing incident, after which the Federal Communications Commission began an indecency crackdown and Congress pushed through bills upping indecency fines. Bush said that departing FCC chair Michael Powell did a good job of balancing free speech and the need to protect children, and that he will ask where the indecency line should be when interviewing for his replacement.
Sunday, January 30
↓9. Superbowl half-time show to be completely inoffensive. Unless you like music.
↓10. SpongeBob not gay. . . not straight either. No, really.
Saturday, January 29
Friday, January 28
1. Wired. After a wobbly post-boom period, Wired has transformed itself from an insider computer monthly into a slick, smart and playful cultural journal. The reporting is excellent ("The Future of Food," "The New Diamond Age," for instance) and the graphics deliver some of the best short-form journalism in the business. The back-page feature Found" and the upfront section "Start" are consistently strong, and even the "Letters" page crackles with energy. The writing staff is lively yet authoritative, and columnists Lawrence Lessig and Bruce Sterling are smart without being snooty. Even the ads are cool. Finally: We dare you to show us a better magazine Web site (Wired.com).
2. Real Simple. This gem seduces and delivers the goods with teasers such as "A cleaner house in less time: 23 breakthrough tools and tips," "Swimsuits to flatter every figure" and "With a simple box of yellow cake mix, you can make any of these seven sweet desserts." The magazine is a breeze to read, filled with charts, photos, where-to-buy, how-to-order, how-to-make data right there, front and center.
3. The Economist. The no-nonsense font and rigid layout style make it look like a class handout on the first day of an MBA program, but don't be dismayed. This magazine features the most succinct, globe-encompassing wrap-ups of politics and economics on the market. Even often overlooked cultural features such as book reviews glisten with insight.
4. Cook's Illustrated. Our biggest complaint with this always readable mag? That they haven't come out with a gardening version that gives the topic the same thorough, skeptical treatment. We'll say it again: Not taking ads and writing about the actual cooking process so the average home cook can understand gives this magazine an authority that few others in any field enjoy.
5. Esquire. We suspect we're not as good-looking as we think we are. We know we're not clever enough. Esquire is the antidote to our human frailty. Snazzy, gorgeous, well-dressed, smart and that's just the magazine itself. The writing within is consistently great and sometimes beautiful, offering heaping portions of journalism, fiction, essays and helpful advice columns. Even if we doubt we'll ever wrestle with the great trouser-cuffs-and-suspenders debate, we love it that Esquire does.
6. The New Yorker. With Seymour Hersh's series of revelations about the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, the New Yorker demonstrates yet again how a weekly magazine can still beat the pants off the 24-hour press. And with the presidential election season upon us, look to this book for insight and access into the process and players. Its coverage of pop culture also continues to shine.
7. American Demographics. There are more interesting facts about Americans in one issue of this than in 20 weekly newsmagazines put together. An unparalleled cruncher and analyst of census data, this is the place to learn which ethnic groups buy which products, what counties are the bigger lovers of boats and every detail about how and where we die, among other omnipresent realities.
8. Men's Health. Self-deprecating, funny and jammed with great information. Even those unbearable true-life weight-loss stories are turned into clever contests. Yes, it's full of sex and sultry women with pouty lips, but regular features such as Jimmy the Bartender ("on women, work and other stuff that screws up men's lives") and topical stories make it worthwhile for both sexes.
9. Jane. This fashion and features mag is unapologetically girlie but, surprisingly, is not content-free. For cover stories, celebs such as Kate Winslet and Meg Ryan let down their guard and answer real questions posed by the mag's chatty yet persistent interviewers, and the fashion and beauty advice is actually realistic. Who says a fashion mag has to be glossy, blase and written for stick figures?
10. Consumer Reports. The scolds of the American marketplace, they continue to set themselves apart from an advertising-driven (and, too often, advertising-influenced) media and give the straight dope on everything from dishwashers to insurance. In a world of daily ethical fudging, they're true-blue in giving us cold-blooded assessments of our obsessive consumer culture.
11. Whole Dog Journal. WDJ endorses a distinct, positive and all-natural approach to dog care. There's no advertising, so the monthly doesn't mince words in its product reviews. You can count on no-fluff articles offering relevant tips, and the training and animal behavior pieces are succinct and practical. Passions run high in dogdom; WDJ calmly presents its point of view.
12. Time. Solid, credible reporting, interesting special reports, spot-on political analysis from Joe Klein and generally good writing all around. Is it better than Newsweek? Is Coke better than Pepsi?
13. Reason. In an era of smash-mouth, left vs. right political discourse, the libertarian Reason is a fresh and nuanced antidote, with a frequent a-plague-on-both-their-houses approach. And it kicked butt with a head-turning cover story, meant to underscore the power of database marketing, in which the cover was personalized for each of the 40,000 subscribers with an aerial photograph of the mailing address.
14. People. One of the most influential mags ever, it is America's guilty pleasure. Only the true snoot will deny the allure, especially stuck waiting for a hairdresser, of learning who's sleeping with whom, who's splitsville and who's due when. Yes, there are serious topics, but these folks tapped into our obsession with celebrity and continue to beat the competition to the punch. So who is dating Ben Affleck these days?
15. Business Week. Consistently the best business magazine, more timely than the biweeklies Forbes and Fortune. One strength is international reporting, as in the cover story on India and outsourcing.
16. Fine Homebuilding. If the inside of your head is lined with ceramic tile, then this publication is for you. Amateurs and professionals alike will squint appreciatively at the lavishly detailed photos of distinctive homes. The how-to pieces and the buyers guides to tools and products are written with clarity and thoroughness.
17. The Atlantic Monthly. With a knack for coming up with cover stories that always seem a step ahead of the Next Big Thing in news, this magazine continues at the top of its game. Even the stories that don't make the coveted cover would, in any other magazine, be the spotlight feature.
18. National Review. This right-wing glossy offers smart, certain ideology for these uncertain times. More serious than Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh and less Air Force One-obsessed than the Weekly Standard, the middlebrow NR even manages to squeeze the pretentious arts through its conservative wringer.
19. Conde Nast Traveler. Relentlessly up-scale, yet balanced with fascinating and practical consumer information, this is the magazine for the well-heeled traveler who's not above wearing sensible shoes. Its annual Readers' Choice ranks the best-of-everything in the world of travel -- as long as money isn't an object. But, then, what's a travel magazine for if not to dream?
20. No Depression. For those who crave that tasty trail mix of traditional country, punk, folk and rock that goes under the moniker alt country or Americana, there is no finer or more thorough source for news, reviews and profiles. We adore the long chewy portraits of the genre's big names, and the dispatches from concertland.
21. Cooking Light. Pleasantly attitude-free and rich with all aspects of a healthy lifestyle, including nutrition and fitness. Not only are the recipes simple, tasty and healthy, but each month offers ideas for the "Inspired Vegetarian." Another handy section called "Superfast" provides ideas for meals that can be ready in about 20 minutes.
22. Aperture. Each issue of this recently redesigned photography quarterly is a treasure. The printing quality and paper stock are better than in most photography books. Founded by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and others more than 50 years ago, Aperture thrives as a venue for today's most captivating and diverse fine art photography.
23. Us Weekly. No one does photo captions better. Us hooks us with its amazing image-storytelling, like the narrative arc of a Britney spread in which she looks skinny one day and pudgy the next, coupled with a "story" about her fast-food eating diet. We also continue to love the "Stars: They're Just Like Us" feature, in which we gawk in amazement as Jennifer Aniston ties her own shoe and Ben Affleck drops off laundry. Maybe they really are just like us!
24. Car and Driver. Other car magazines make some attempt to appear grown-up, but not C&D. From the legendary "Dodge Intrepid vs. U.S.S. Intrepid" comparison to thorough, definitive road tests, C&D sets the standard. When it arrives in the mailbox, full of readable prose ranging from cranky to hilarious, you see why C&D rules.
25. Essence. Indispensable to its loyal readership with lively and timely reports on issues that matter to women of color. Whether the topic is obstacles to career advancement, obtaining financial security or fighting for better health in the black community, Essence is on the cutting edge.
26. Science News. You don't need a PhD in science to understand this weekly, and it's far more concise than, say, Science or Nature. Those two may fight for first dibs on the newest research, but SN will report later so a layperson can understand it.
27. Budget Living. Here's a magazine that aims at those of us in slightly lower tax and stock sophistication brackets than, say, Martha Stewart Living, where we are not afraid to ask questions such as: Where can I buy a spring coat for less than $40? What is really the cheapest cell phone plan? And how do I garden if I am still a renter?
28. Sports Illustrated. Cliches are the athlete's foot of sports writing, the scummy, unavoidable residue of the genre. This veteran magazine, however, still manages to come up with surprising, inventive prose about the week's big events in the sporting world. The longer features always sparkle. The photos are often instant classics.
29. Vogue. In a landscape of lookalike, sound-alike women's magazines, Vogue maintains its position above the masses with singular old-fashioned sophistication and a healthy sense of humor. It's first and foremost about fashion, which it covers beautifully (those Irving Penn photos!), so we can forgive the long, personal essays about breast-reduction surgery.
30. Entertainment Weekly. If magazines were candy stores, EW would be a wall of delectable penny candy. With bite-size features, irreverent Q&As and exclusive photos, EW generates buzz like few magazines can. While their movie preview issues are more fun than an afternoon of watching summer trailers, EW's movie criticism remains as snarky as it is unpredictable.
31. Parenting. These guys know what parents of young kids need and that's commiseration and advice on uncivilized children, endless colds, work-family guilt, sleep deprivation and keeping up with the Joneses. And that's in just one issue. We really like the "All Yours" section where moms can get tips on what to do during their nanosecond of weekly personal time.
32. Gourmet. Ruth Reichl has pulled this periodical from its stodgy rut into a lively but substantial read. As always, the stunning photography offers nourishment enough, but the magazine is also jammed with fabulous travel pieces, stylishly written guides to upscale and down-home entertaining and the terrific back section.
33. Martha Stewart Weddings. Every bride-to-be knows that a wedding magazine's primary function is to be a carrier for ads. Ads for wedding gowns primarily. Ads for beautiful, unattainable, perfectly snug or flowing or draping or plunging wedding gowns. And on this count, Martha's quarterly beats the competition.
34. Dwell. For modernists who worship at the temple of design rather than decor with an emphasis on graceful re-use. It can be a bit grad-schoolish at times ("How an Idea Becomes a Chair"), but that's part of its serious charm. Otherwise, it's supercool, environmentally aware, and never ever mentions chintz. What else do you need to know?
35. The American Scholar. Despite the intimidating moniker and fancy pedigree, this lean publication includes some of the sharpest, most down-to-earth writing around. Incisive articles about current events, such as bioterrorism, rub shoulders with profound personal essays by the likes of Thomas Mallon and Annie Dillard.
36. The New York Review of Books. In an era in which brevity is deemed beautiful, this remains a home for engaging and longer-form literary and political essays by an A-list of the smartest folks around. For sure, lengthy dissections of the oeuvre of German critic Walter Benjamin by South African Nobelist J.M. Coetzee can be a challenge. But you'll find critical dissections that provide their own intellectual oasis amid the jargon-filled clutter about us.
37. Wooden Boat. Don't own a boat? Doesn't matter. This boldly illustrated magazine brings out the hidden mariner in even the most stubborn landlubber. Yes, those who occasionally do get out on the water might be most intrigued, but the adventure stories and recollections of special journeys are captivating.
38. New York. With a recent boost from new ownership and a prestigious editor in chief, this venerable city magazine is reinventing itself yet again. Whether it's improving upon an existing feature (gossip pages shun celebs for media moguls), bringing back respected contributors (Kurt Andersen, Maer Roshan) or getting away from the fluffy style of its past few years, New York seems to be edging toward a neo-golden age.
39. National Journal. Frothy liberal mags obsess over New Economy titans. But when the wonkish National Journal picks a Power 100, it offers profiles of the men and women of . . . the Department of Homeland Security. No nudity, but phone numbers attached. Insights from the only magazine that treats federal bureaucrats like the megawatt stars they are in their own minds can be more useful than you'd expect.
40. Donna Hay Magazine. This lush Aussie glossy about food comes with a bit of a built-in language problem (We still haven't quite figured out what a "bug" as in "grilled bug tails with kaffir lime leaf and basil" is. A small lobster? A big shrimp? An actual insect?). But the art direction and photography are so gorgeous and satisfying you could skip a meal after reading it. It's also loaded with scores of uncomplicated recipes, kitchen tips and party ideas.
41. Texas Monthly. Now, more than ever. After years of mostly supportive pieces on "W," a 6,000-word article in the February issue by writer Paul Burka titled "The Man Who Isn't There" seems to have signaled the end of the honeymoon. But there's much more than politics in this state, as any Texan will tell you, and it is presented in all its glory here.
42. Vanity Fair. VF really knows what it's doing, and we like that. We'll forgive the magazine for its obsession with the very rich and the very famous. We can read about regular people any old time now, on to Cameron Diaz! We especially appreciate the beautiful photographs of beautiful people and the provocative writing of Christopher Hitchens and James Wolcott.
43. Chicago. It is impossible for a Chicagoan to read an issue and not come away with useful information. This is its first appearance on the Tempo list since The Tribune Company bought this monthly, but you don't have to take our word it belongs here. It just won a National Magazine Award for general excellence for its mix of probing journalism, clever service stories and darn good restaurant coverage.
44. In Touch. For those who consider People too intellectually cumbersome, In Touch is the ideal way to find out what those crazy celebrities are up to (Keanu Reeves Buys His Sis a House! Britney's Sexy Beach Date). In Touch has lots of pictures, just enough text to qualify as a magazine, and an obvious respect for bringing the truth to light (for instance, Nicole Kidman "is aghast over reports that she almost gagged to death on piece of tempura" at a trendy NYC eatery).
45. Heeb. This smart-alecky upstart calls itself "the New Jew Review." The slick, sometimes sick and often funny quarterly is intelligent, provocative and oh-so Jewish. Heeb especially appeals to readers who have celebrated their bat or bar mitzvah after 1990 and those who wish they had. The magazine's young and hip point of view, its embrace of its audience's inner-dweeb make it an interesting and unexpectedly fun read.
46. Legal Affairs. Law is no longer a remote, esoteric academic topic and we don't just mean the Kobe Bryant trial. We mean the way legal matters seep into everyday life, influencing and being influenced by the culture at large. For lengthy, extraordinarily topical articles about the law's long reach into our living rooms and psyches, this magazine has become a must.
47. ToyFare. Three words: "Twisted ToyFare Theater." Collectible figures do and say things obviously not condoned by their corporate owners in a feature so popular, it's anthologized outside the magazine. Example: Comic book villains play the board game Risk and recount naughty anecdotes of world domination while harassing the pizza boy. Oh, it's also a price guide and irreverent toy industry magazine.
48. Rolling Stone. Sure, it occasionally reads like your dad trying to be cool. But RS can still blindside with probing, offbeat features (example: Neil Strauss holes himself up in a hotel room with a swirling-the-drain Courtney Love) and a solid national affairs section. The record reviews can be predictable, but the front-of-book "Rock & Roll" short takes remain addictive.
49. Seahorse. The official magazine of the UK's Royal Ocean Racing Club has built itself into the definitive source for grand prix sailing. Stories range from giant multihulls conquering round-the-world records to America's Cup happenings to who's building the next megayacht.
50. Chicago Wilderness. OK, the tone is a bit boosterish, but what other journal concerns itself with the migrations of the painted lady butterfly or the symphony of flowers busting through our beleaguered prairies? Celebrating the region's natural heritage, this lavishly illustrated quarterly focuses on the inspiring people who protect and heal the local landscape.
Warner Independent Pictures snapping up distribution rights to Strangers with Candy at the Sundance Film Festival. The comedy stars funny lady Amy Sedaris as an ex-con who returns to high school after 32 years in jail and is based on her Comedy Central show.
DEFEAT FOR BIG MEDIA: The Bush administration opting on Thursday not to appeal a lower court ruling that rejected regulations making it easier for media conglomerates to grow bigger. As a result, it's doubtful the Supreme Court will take up the case.
Believe me, this is good for America. Not only will news be more independent, but programming (i.e. TV shows) is better when there is more competition.
(From Al Young)
Thanks to everyone who took part in our first U2.Com ticket presale for the European and North American 'Vertigo Tour'.
We know that subscribers experienced difficulties buying their tickets and we're pleased that those problems are now being ironed out.
Most of you have now be able to book tickets for these shows and we appreciate your messages of thanks and support. Sorry that demand exceeded supply for Madison Square Garden NY and Wachovia Centre, Philadelphia shows. We went way over the original allocation.
We really appreciate your patience as this is the first time we've attempted an online presale. New technology including U2.Com - helps us stay in touch with you but also reveals its drawbacks when everyone tries to do the same thing at once.
Don't forget, if you have a subscriber code it will still be honoured when the band plays more dates. There will be more tickets for U2.Com subscribers.
We are very aware that some people seem to have abused the system to scalp on Ebay or similar sites. We are currently looking into the possibility of identifying these people and withdrawing their tickets. Any help you can give us on this would be gratefully received.
Remember that your subscription to U2.Com gives you much more than access to the presale - not least the fact that you can watch on demand every videothe band have made and listen to every track on every album, every b-side onevery single!
Right now you can check the band taking you through 'How To Dismantle AnAtomic Bomb' track-by-track, watch the 'Making Of Vertigo' documentary, read the new Jacknife Lee profile and catch Phil Joanou's 'All Because of You' video ... there's lots more on the way.
Thursday, January 27
You know, she's right. She has starred in a few of her own shows, hasn't she??? Can you say "sex tapes"?????
Syd and Vaughn go on assignment in a secret enclave of Stepford-looking mofo's somewhere in Moscow. The assignment seems to require that they act as a married Russian couple who also…spy? And steal stuff? Yeah, that part's a little unclear. Apparently, the "Liberty Village" of the title is actually some strange training ground for Russian operatives or militants or really icky people who also happen to speak with perfect American accents. So Syd and Vaughn have to pretend that they're interested in being recruits to this "Where's the Beaver?" bizarro world of spies and pearls and layer cakes. Honestly. I don't know. No, I'm not drunk! I just kind of don't know what's going on. Maybe it's because this wasn't supposed to be episode five. Maybe it's because I have the flu. Maybe it's because…oooh, hot chocolate!
Jack goes off to see some old Russian dude in order to find out if he knows about Liberty Village. Old Russian Dude confirms that it's a Russian spy training facility but that it's not really government-sanctioned. Or something. Meanwhile, Irina's old Russian novels have resurfaced and one of them has a secret message to "Sentinel" encoded in it. Jack hands it over to Old Russian Dude in exchange for safe passage home for Syd and Vaughn. But somehow this proves that the Russians are searching for Elena Derevko. Again. No idea, really.
What else happens in this episode? You're asking ME? Oh, okay. We learn that Vaughn very well may have intended to propose to Syd the night that she disappeared. But the bloom blows off the rose of that realization when Syd and Vaughn have to engage in a little friendly shooting competition with their neighbors, ruining their communications with the Apple Store in the process. But when it's followed by super-hot spy sex in the shower, who really gives a damn? Oh, wait. With their comms out…they can't hear the abort code that gets sent when their cover is blown. Oops. Doesn't matter, though, 'cuz Syd and Vaughn have their hands on an EMP and it takes them about two seconds to blow the circuitry for fifty miles and get their butts on a plane home. But not before they stop for dinner in Paris. Say it with me: Aw.
12:28 p.m. ET
Put Down Those Forks
The group of protesters stood a few feet away from the entrance to the Federal Triangle Metro station, holding signs and timing their chants for the arrival of Metro riders: "Two, four, six, eight--no more forks!" One protester asked, "Were forks mentioned in the Constitution? No!" A sign read, "Jesus hates forks."The young men identified themselves only as members of the anti-fork movement. Their chants drew stares, guffaws, and expressions of bewilderment. It wasn't long before a transit police officer made them move away from the Metro entrance. They regrouped a few feet away and resumed their chanting. --Susan J. DeFord
It's a good thing.
Pop superstar Madonna has turned down an offer from British comic Ricky Gervais to appear in his new TV comedy Extras. Gervais, who starred in and created cult show The Office, has already landed homegrown actors Jude Law and Kate Winslet, while Hollywood stars Ben Stiller and Samuel L Jackson have also confirmed cameo appearances. Each big name actor will be cast as themselves in their own episode of the new BBC comedy series, about film extras chasing their big break. However, the Material Girl refuses to play herself and will only agree to appear in the show if a character is developed for her.
Oh, Madonna. How I used to like you. Then you started taking yourself way too seriously.
Yeah, it's not right what the guy did but I still had a good laugh. Can you imagine using a stun gun on your kids? Wash the dishes **zzzzap**. Go to bed **zzzzzap**. It's time to leave for school **zzzzzap**.
"Who's going to object to chickens fighting like humans do? Everybody wins," Sen. Frank Shurden said. "Let the roosters do what they love to do without getting injured," Shurden said. "To me it answers everything. It saves the industry, takes blood sport out and generates revenue for Oklahoma," Shurden said.
I think we should outfit Sen. Shurden with little boxing gloves and have the rooster, fitted with spurs, have a go at him!
What a freaking idiot.
Wednesday, January 26
I am actually looking forward to the San Francisco auditions. A friend of mine, Chris C., auditions, makes it to the finals (I think), and then gets kicked off for sounding like a cruise ship performer. Funny thing is, he literally was a cruise ship performer a few years back.
Jennifer Garner knew "Elektra" was going to be a turkey, but she starred in it anyway because she was under contract. That's what her "Alias" co-star (and former boyfriend) Michael Vartan (above) told Us Weekly the other night in L.A. as he mingled with Kirsten Dunst, Orlando Bloom and Leonardo DiCaprio. Asked if he'd seen "Elektra," Vartan replied: "I heard it was awful." Us: "You saw it?" MV: "No, she called me and told me it was awful." Us: "Would you ever make a movie you knew was awful?" MV: "She had to do it because of 'Daredevil.' It was in her contract."
This report is intended to shed light on the largely underground and unexamined ticket distribution system in New York, a system which diverts the most desirable sports, concert and theatre tickets away from the general public.
The process by which tickets wend their way from the original issuer to the ultimate consumer is complex and often illegal. In the general case, the consumer walks up to the box office or telephones a ticket agent such as Telecharge or Ticketmaster (or uses one of their outlets), pays the price on the face of the ticket (with perhaps a small additional service charge) and obtains the ticket that he or she wants. Too often, however, the consumer finds that the desired ticket (e.g., to "The Lion King" or the Yankee playoffs or the Spice Girls) is unavailable within minutes after it goes on sale, and if there are any tickets left, they are at the rear of the house, the highest tier of the stadium or, in the case of a hit show, the wait can be for over a year. However, while a "sold-out" sign confronts the consumer at the box office, the newspapers nonetheless are filled with advertisements for the most sought after seats -- at prices, depending on the popularity of the event, ranging into the thousands of dollars. The Attorney General’s investigation demonstrates that ticket
distribution practices are seriously skewed away from ordinary fans and towards wealthy businesses and consumers.
This problem is not simply the result of the law of supply and demand. Rather, the availability of tickets and the outrageously high -- and illegal -- prices that brokers charge, to a large extent, can be laid at the door of illicit practices in the ticket industry and other practices that, although possibly not unlawful, are deceptive, unfair to the ticket buying public and supportive of the corrupt ticket distribution
Thus, the average disappointed consumer walks away with the suspicion that the tickets could not have all been sold, through the normal means, quite that fast. He or she often believes that someone, somewhere, had an "in," and that dutifully waiting on line or telephoning repeatedly was, in reality, an exercise in futility. To a large extent, that frustrated consumer is correct. This report attempts to explain why and highlights the myths, half truths, and outright criminality that causes the scarcity of tickets.
The most interesting part of the story is how the brokers illegally obtain tickets to popular events:
Brokers obtain seats from promoters, performers and representatives of venues (including box office treasurers and ticket sellers) by paying ice. In some instances, box office personnel have ownership interests in ticket brokers or have family members who are ticket brokers.
Brokers obtain tickets from computer ticketing companies such as Ticketmaster, whose employees are skimming tickets for themselves and selling them to brokers (or from distant outlets less likely to have a great demand for a show in New York City). When additional dates are added for a performance for which there is a great demand, they may not be advertised, thus creating the opportunity for outlet operators to advise their "friends" when the additional tickets will go on sale. In one instance, a small video store with a Ticketmaster terminal is silently owned by a New Jersey ticket broker.
Brokers obtain from the box office "house seats" that are not used by those persons entitled to use the house seats or that are held for performances at which such seats are released for theatre parties or large groups, or they obtain seats which were set aside for other promotional or marketing purposes (e.g., special agreements with credit card companies to hold a certain number of "best seats" for their gold or platinum card holders).
I love Paul Giamatti, and I thought he deserved a best-actor nomination for “Sideways,” but it’s hard to make the case that his absence is as great an oversight as, say, Bill Murray’s for “Rushmore” in 1998. I love “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and I think it might be the only future classic released in 2004, but I can’t say I’m surprised the Academy passed over such a quirky, complicated film. (And they did honor Kate Winslet and the film’s ingenious screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.) So whose omission am I supposed to get worked up about? Julie Delpy for “Before Sunset”? Liam Neeson for “Kinsey”? Uma Thurman for “Kill Bill Vol. 2”? “Hotel Rwanda”? “SpongeBob SquarePants”? All great, sure. But there’s nothing criminally wrong here. For the most part—and for the first time I can remember—the Academy mostly got it right…
2. …Or did they?
People in the film industry, and folks like me who cover it, weren’t too shocked by the nominations this morning. But most American filmgoers will surely be stunned that neither “The Passion of the Christ” nor “Fahrenheit 9/11,” the two most talked-about movies of the year, earned a single major nomination. Mel Gibson’s biblical epic did manage consideration for a few technical awards—best cinematography, best score, best makeup—that were token almost to the point of hilarity. Best makeup? (“I hated that movie, but I have to say, it really did look like his flesh was falling off his bones.”) As for Michael Moore’s documentary hit, it’s hard to believe he would’ve been shut out if (A) he hadn’t pulled his film out of the best doc category to “give someone else a chance” or (B) Bush had lost. Then again, after Moore’s ill-timed acceptance-speech rant at the 2003 Oscars, maybe the Academy just didn’t want him around. In any case, I’ll bet there are a lot of Christians out there who are convinced that the Academy is filled with nothing but heretics, and a lot of liberals who think the Academy is nothing but a bunch of sissies. Hey, for once, can’t you both be right?
3. If five best picture nominees fall in the forest and no one sees them, do they exist?
As I type this, the most profitable film among the five best picture nominees right now is “Ray,” which has made a "whopping" $73 million at the box office. The next biggest, “The Aviator,” has made just $58 million. Most Americans don’t live within 50 miles of a theater playing “Sideways,” “Finding Neverland” or “Million Dollar Baby.” Now, rest assured, in the next four weeks leading up to the Oscar broadcast, all five nominees will get a second theatrical push. But it’s hard to remember a year when the best picture field didn’t include a single bona fide box office hit. (Last year’s winner, “The Lord of the Rings” made over $300 million in the United States alone.) The smallness of this year’s group surely hurt NBC’s ratings for the Golden Globes; ABC has to be worried about a repeat on Oscar night. And when it happens, naturally, they’ll blame host Chris Rock. Great.
4. And the winner is … black actors.
This year, five performances by African Americans were honored with nominations, out of 20 total nominations. That’s 25 percent of the field. I can’t say for certain, but I’ll bet that’s a first. Eagle-eyed readers can check me on this, but I’ll bet there’s another first: Jamie Foxx is the first black actor ever nominated twice in the same year. Any other year and we’d probably be complaining much louder about how Kerry Washington and Regina King, Foxx’s masterful costars in “Ray,” got snubbed in the supporting-actress category.
5. “Shark Tale” is an Oscar nominee? Are you serious?
The best animated feature film category is a good idea, if only because it throws a bone to some great movies unfairly hurt by the Academy’s bias in favor of, you know, real people. But this category needs some re-evaluation if it only contains three nominees and one of them is derivative junk like “Shark Tale.” One gets the sense that most Academy members didn't actually see any animated films and just nominated the three most profitable. In years past, this category included some terrific, gutsy picks, like Japan’s “Spirited Away,” which won in 2003, and France’s “The Triplets of Belleville,” which was nominated and lost in 2004. But they whiffed this year. Where was “SpongeBob”? Or the critically-adored Japanese anime “Ghost in the Shell 2”?
6. “The Phantom of the Opera” is an Oscar nominee? Now you have to be kidding.
I feel like I write this every year around this time: just because a movie has lots of art direction doesn’t mean it’s good art direction. The sets in “The Phantom of the Opera” look like what Liberace would do with the Playboy Mansion. It might the tackiest movie of the last decade. And yet it’s an Oscar nominee—in a category picked by the practitioners of the trade! It’s a real puzzler because they clearly don’t all have bad taste. The same group forgave “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” for being a mediocre movie and rightfully rewarded the film’s dazzling production design. With any luck, “Lemony Snicket” will win.
7. The race is over in just two major categories: best actor and best adapted screenplay.
Jamie Foxx will win for best actor unless he runs over a guy with his car, then gets out and kicks him. He’ll probably still win if he doesn’t kick him. I guaranteed a few weeks ago in my report on “Oscar's Burning Questions" that Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor will win for best adapted screenplay; now that the nominations are out, I’m re-guaranteeing it.
Other than that, every race is a too-close-to-call showdown between at least two, often three, nominees. If you ask me, that includes the best actress race, which many people are conceding to Hilary Swank for “Million Dollar Baby.” She is unquestionably the frontrunner. But she's nowhere the runaway favorite that Foxx is. But I remember in 2002 when then-unknown Adrien Brody went up against Jack Nicholson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Caine and Nicholas Cage—four flat-out acting studs, all of them previous Oscar winners, all nominated for great work and not just on reputation—and Brody beat ’em all. I’m not saying Catalina Sandino Moreno (the first-time actor and star of “Maria Full of Grace”) has Swank and the rest of the field right where she wants them. I’m just saying, ya never know. Swank will probably take home the statue, but I won’t be surprised if Annette Bening or Imelda Staunton wins instead. OK, I admit it, if Moreno wins, I’ll be pretty darn surprised.
8. Scorsese might not win—again.
After the Golden Globe nominations came out, I predicted that Martin Scorsese would finally get his long-awaited best director Oscar. Now I’m not so sure, and it’s not just because he lost the Golden Globe to Clint Eastwood. Looking at the nominees for best director, it seems to me that the chief yardstick the Academy used to narrow the field was the performances that each man got out of his actors. Taylor Hackford was nominated for “Ray” even though the film’s screenplay wasn’t—a tribute to his cast and, especially, to his work with Foxx. Mike Leigh, beloved among actors for using improvisation to build his screenplays, is the only directing nominee whose film (“Vera Drake”) isn’t up for best picture. Eastwood and Payne were nominated for films that are essentially chamber pieces driven by three or four characters.
“The Aviator,” meanwhile, got plenty of acting nominations, but Scorsese’s film is the least soulful, the least human, of the bunch. It’s a big, rousing epic crafted in a classic Hollywood style. Initially, I thought that would help Scorsese: he’s honoring his forefathers and that, historically, is a smart path to Oscar gold. But judging from this year’s other nominees, I wonder if Academy voters are picking up something else from the film: Scorsese’s ego. It’s no secret that his over-campaigning in 2003 with “Gangs of New York” may have cost him an Oscar. Perhaps, by nominating a handful of directors whose films are noteworthy for their cinematic modesty, the actor-heavy Academy is sending him a message again: we’re the stars here, not you.
I still have a hunch that Scorsese will get his reward at least, but I’m not gonna bet any money on it. Sorry, Marty. The wait might have to go on.
"All was fine until the special was shown to Andrea Wong, [executive] v.p. of alternative programming, and the ABC Broadcast Standards Department. That's when the [bleep] hit the fan," shared the insider. "ABC went ballistic and ordered a ton of edits." The missing mentions from the InStyle special are quite obvious. For instance, when discussing the bride's cathedral-length veil, it shows the gown's creator, but a voice-over refers to her simply as "her designer."
Jones did not appear on "The View" on Jan. 7. "When Star was told [about the InStyle editing], she staged a sickout protest," our source relates. "She said, 'No one, including ABC, tells me what to say or what to do with my life.' (guess she shouldn't have presumed it was okay to make deals with her suppliers, huh?)
"Star boycotted the show, and that is when she was immediately notified that [if] she did not heed ABC's warnings, she was going to be fired from 'The View.' "Star has since not mentioned a word about her wedding on the advice of her own attorney and p.r. reps." (oh geesh.... I was really looking forward to hearing more about her wedding, too!)
Jones' spokeswoman said: "She's seen the special and adores it. Anyone who said she staged a sickout is lying. Star's a consummate professional." ABC had no comment. (if she's such a consummate professional then why didn't she pay for her own damn wedding, keep it private and not yammer incessantly about it?)
"ABC has had enough," said an inside source. "All of the 'Bridezilla' press leading up to Star's wedding enraged an embarrassed ABC programming brass. "They thought they would be done with matters when 'The View' gave Star an entire show prior to her wedding. All along, ABC was p- - - -d at Star for shamelessly mentioning those free-yet-costly products and services for her nuptials in exchange for her promised on-air mentions.
"ABC brass told executive producer Bill Geddie of 'The View' to 'get her under control and stop her, or else.' Star was told to knock it off and became nervous she and Al were going to have to pay, since she was being disciplined." (oh waaaahhhh..... star might have to fork over some cash..... boo hoo.......)
What a selfish bitch. I hate her even more now that I read this.
Tuesday, January 25
- She is going to do an Oprah spin-off with Oprah's tsunami survivin' designer, Nate Berkus
- Paige did a strip tease at a party and/or there are sex tapes out there of her (presumedly not with R. Kelly or Ms. Hilton)
Amy Poehler as Jenna stumbling around her bedroom in the White House after the Inauguration telling Tina Fey as Barbara, "I was so wasted I made out with Dick Cheney's daughter!"
Tina: "No way!"
Amy: "Not the gay one, d'uh!"
Jesus' message of extravagant welcome extends to all, including SpongeBob Squarepants - the cartoon character that has come under fire for allegedly holding hands with a starfish."
Absolutely, the UCC extends an unequivocal welcome to SpongeBob," the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president, said, only partly in jest. "
Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we."For that matter, Thomas explained, the 1.3-million-member church, if given the opportunity, would warmly receive Barney, Big Bird, Tinky-Winky, Clifford the Big Red Dog or, for that matter, any who have experienced the Christian message as a harsh word of judgment rather than Jesus' offering of grace.
There is a picture that goes along with the story.
It's nice to know there's at least a few Christians who preach love and tolerance (which is really what Jesus was about, right?).
SC: Hope you don't think I'm spacey...but my world's been upside down 2.
JL: You're all good! Looking forward to becoming friends. Nite!
SC: Thinkin about drins later w/a few people...interested?
JL: That'd be fun! When/where?
JL: Here's to new friends.
SC: Here, here. Maybe, kissing friends 4 a while? We'll see...Hope the LA, didn't make me too, ya know...
SC: Question 4 ya?
JL: Ask away
JL: I'm such a lame-o. I'm still a little fuctup.
SC: That's cute! :-) & "lame-o" is SO your word.
JL: Cute? or tragic? LOL.
SC: Maybe both...But I may try to help you out with that...
JL: Ha ha...just an hour to lunch. I should've had a big b-fast.
SC: I've been cleaning and organizing all day. I need a break.
SC: U still high?
JL: Nah...just ready to get mah grub on.
SC: Yeah, I'm sure you got the munchies.
JL: Fer sheezie.
JL: Hoser. ;-)
SC: LOL! I haven't heard that in a long time...Regardless of what u say...U R pretty good at flirting back. Lame-o :-)
JL: ha! I haven't had a serenity check like this in ages. I wuv flirtatious friendships.
SC: Well on my part it's not forced, just fun! It's nice when things r easy for a change and u seem 2 enjoy yourself as well.
JL: BTW....arranged any flower yet today?
SC: Whore! :-D
JL; to quote Pee Wee Herman: "I know you are, but what am I?"
SC: An exhibitionist?
JL: Yep. And a geek.
SC: Good combo! Can't wait 2 see what else. Geek have more, and cuter gadgets!
JL: Ditto! and they're usually vapidly under-sexed.
SC: FORSHEEZY! and underpaid. What time do you think you'll get done with your friends? Velvet Goldmine?
JL: Dude...you read my mind. Cosmic.
SC: Of course! I told you this is just easy.
JL: Were we friends in another life? NO, i got it! I'ma long lost half brutha.
SC: Brutha! O, is it that big? I tdon't think I want 2 think of u as brother...Kissing u was a lot more fun than my bro!
SC: :-) I can't stop smilin'...Thank You.
JL: *Hat tip and curtsey* ever listent to Yeah Yeah Yeah's?
SC: A favorite of mine. I might have a few new songs 4 u.
JL: I'd turn for Karen O.
SC: Sure whatever boy...Keep tellin' yourself that.
JL: Watch the acid tongue...or I'll slap a band-aid on your cheek and make you my "Nelly."
SC: Is that a lyric or are you trying 2 make somebody blush?
JL: I actually stole it from mario cantone. I'm not that creative.
SC: Regardless, it came out 4 some reason.
SC: Guess where I am?
SC: No, but good try. Jonathan asked me 2 come by earlier. But I went from hair 2 nails. Just tryin to get my days worth!
Today, the pre-sale began, four days before the general public can buy tickets. I tried for a few hours to get tickets, but ticketmaster.com continually posted an error message. I called customer service and their advice was to continue trying.
I finally got through, and the general admission tickets (on the floor, next to the stage, and much cheaper at $50 than any of the seats) were not available. Although, I could easily purchase nose-bleed seats for $165 each.
So I do a little investigating and find out through the U2 boards that most members of the fan club were unable to get general admission tickets. And then I go on ebay and craigslist, and hundreds of general admission tickets are being sold by scalpers for hundreds of dollars.
Something is fishy. I don't know if it's ticketmaster or U2.com. I want to know what the deal is. I want my $40 U2.com subscription back, and I'm not going to pay more than $50 to see my favorite band. I think I got screwed. And, although I've always hated ticketmaster and simply do not understand their monopoly, I have a newfound disrespect for them and the concert industry as a whole.
The mushy missives, scrawled in a childish, blocky hand, shed light on the relationship, which ended last July after Paris was photographed with bruises on her face and a fat lip. The letters from 2004 declare her undying love for Carter, and in one she apologizes for lying to him.
One card signed, "Paris, AKA Le Bean," wishes Carter a happy birthday (which falls on Jan. 28), and states: "I don't want you to ever worry because I would never [bleep] this up for anything in the world. It's been really hard for me these past couple of months and I'm so happy I found you. You are the [bleep] and I love you to death."
A Valentine's card — which features heart-shaped candies with slogans like, "Spoil me," "Tease Me," "Squeeze Me" and "Love Me" — reads: "Sometimes I forget you can't see my thoughts or into my heart . . . I really hope and believe this will last forever."
Another letter marking the couple's "4-month anniversary," says: "I know you probably wonder from time to time what you mean to me . . . you mean the world to me. Think of something you couldn't live without and multiply it by a hundred."
The sweet nothings were written inside sappy greeting cards with photos of puppies. Another missive was accompanied by photos the heiress had cut out of a magazine showing herself looking glum with the headline: "Paris feels real pain." "Dear Nick, This is how I look and feel when I'm away from you," she wrote.
The dream appeared to sour by the time Paris wrote from "the plane back to L.A." having watched the movie, "50 First Dates."
Paris penned: "I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for lying to you before and I want to let you know that it will never happen again. I can't explain the pain I felt when I thought I lost you. It was like half of me had been ripped from my soul. I never felt so alone and I never want to feel that way again. I never want to lose you. I never want to hurt you again . . . I'm so sorry for the pain that I have caused you. From now on things will be different, I promise."
Paris then promised to get a tattoo to mark a "new beginning" and, "to erase all the past bulls- -t we have done to each other." The note is signed, "Paris (your bunny forever.)"
Nominations for the 25th annual Razzies, which honor the worst films of the year, were announced on Monday with "Catwoman," the Halle Berry box office bomb, besting "Alexander," Oliver Stone's much maligned tale of the bleached blond conqueror, by seven nominations to six.
In addition, the president made the list for worst actor for his film clip appearances in "Fahrenheit 9/11," a movie he might well consider the worst of the year. Also nominated for their appearances in the politically-charged film about the Iraq war were Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
The Razzies are a traditional spoof award made at Oscar time by the non-profit Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. The group's prizes are given out on Feb. 26, the day before the Oscars. Never has one of its films gone on to win an Oscar.
"Catwoman" and "Alexander" were nominated for Worst Picture, a category which also drew "SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2," Ben Affleck's career-eroding "Surviving Christmas," and "White Chicks," the Wayans brothers dress-up, gender-bending comedy that left critics cold.
Bush was nominated for worst actor along with Affleck for "Surviving Christmas" and "Jersey Girl," Vin Diesel for "Chronicles of Riddick," Colin Farrell for "Alexander." Ben Stiller was nominated for "Along Came Polly," "Anchorman," "Dodgeball," "Envy" and "Starsky & Hutch."
Halle Berry was nominated for worst actress for "Catwoman," Hilary Duff for "Cinderella Story" and "Raise Your Voice," Angelina Jolie for "Alexander" and "Taking Lives," Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for "New York Minute" and Shawn and Marlon Wayans in their incarnation as the Wayans sisters in "White Chicks."
The nominations for worst screen couple include: Ben Affleck and either Jennifer Lopez or Liv Tyler in "Jersey Girl," Halle Berry and either Benjamin Bratt or Sharon Stone in "Catwoman, George W. Bush and either Rice or his pet goat in "Fahrenheit 9/11," the Olsen twins in "New York Minute," the Wayans Brothers, in or out of drag, in "White Chicks."
Worst supporting actress were Carmen Electra for "Starsky & Hutch," Jennifer Lopez for "Jersey Girl," Rice for "Fahrenheit 9/11," Britney Spears for her cameo role in that same movie and Sharon Stone for "Catwoman."
Val Kilmer was nominated for worst supporting actor for "Alexander." Also nominated were California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for "Around The World in 80 Days," Rumsfeld for "Fahrenheit 9/11," Jon Voight for SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2" and Lambert Wilson for "Catwoman."
"Catwoman" led with seven nominations to six for Alexander, five for "Fahrenheit 9/11," five "White Chicks," and four for "SuperBabies."
LAST CALL: Paul Giamatti was snubbed in the best-actor category for "Sideways," in which he gives a funny, touching performance as a borderline-alcoholic wine snob. He was considered a shoo-in after being nominated for a Golden Globe Award and receiving universal praise, including honors from critics groups in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
THE ONE-TWO PUNCH: Clint Eastwood earned a best-actor nomination for playing a veteran boxing manager in "Million Dollar Baby," on top of the nomination he was expected to receive for directing the film. He previously was nominated in both categories for his revisionist Western "Unforgiven" (1992), which until now had been considered his masterpiece. He won in the directing category; he has never won an acting Oscar.
HAWKEYE ON THE PRIZE: Alan Alda came up with a surprise supporting-actor nomination for his role as a scheming U.S. senator in the Howard Hughes drama "The Aviator." Best known for his acting and directing work on TV's "M-A-S-H," the 68-year-old Alda has never before been nominated for an Academy Award.
NO SECRETS OR LIES: Just Oscar nominations for Mike Leigh for directing and writing "Vera Drake," about a kindly woman who secretly performs abortions in 1950s England. His inclusion in the directing category means Marc Forster, director of best-picture nominee "Finding Neverland," was left out. Leigh previously received Oscar nominations for directing and writing "Secrets & Lies" (1996) and for writing "Topsy-Turvy" (1999).
TURNING DOWN THE HEAT: Michael Moore purposely did not submit "Fahrenheit 9/11," his indictment of the Bush administration's handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in the documentary category in hopes of being considered for best picture. But his film was shut out completely.
WHERE'S "THE PASSION"?: One of the highest-grossing films of the year with $370 million, "The Passion of the Christ" became a nationwide phenomenon — and caused a stir with its violent content — but received no nominations for best picture, director Mel Gibson or actor Jim Caviezel, who starred as Jesus Christ. It was acknowledged, however, for its cinematography, makeup and score.
A ONE ON THE SCALE: "Kinsey," the story of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, received just one nomination: Laura Linney for best supporting actress. The well-acted, handsomely photographed biopic had been considered a likely nominee in several categories, including best picture, best actor (Liam Neeson) and best supporting actor (Peter Sarsgaard).
THE CRUELEST CUT: "House of Flying Daggers," a critical favorite and Golden Globe nominee from Chinese director Zhang Yimou, was snubbed in the foreign-language film category. The visually dazzling martial arts epic was nominated, however, for cinematography.
UNKNOWN, FOR NOW: Catalina Sandino Moreno, appearing in her first film, was nominated for best actress for playing a teenage Colombian drug mule in the Spanish-language film "Maria Full of Grace." And Sophie Okonedo, an English actress who'd done mostly television work, was nominated in the supporting-actress category for "Hotel Rwanda," in which she plays a wife and mother struggling to keep her family alive in genocide-ravaged Africa.
Not that I expected it, but I'm dissapointed that Garden State didn't get a screenwriting nod, and that Before Sunset didn't get a Best Picture or Best Actress nod. Also, where's Kill Bill: Vol. II. Probably one of the most underrated films of all time.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
*Cate Blanchett - THE AVIATOR
* Laura Linney - KINSEY
*Virginia Madsen - SIDEWAYS
*Sophie Okonedo - HOTEL RWANDA
*Natalie Portman - CLOSER
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
*Alan Alda - THE AVIATOR
*Thomas Haden Church - SIDEWAYS
*Jamie Foxx - COLLATERAL
*Morgan Freeman - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
*Clive Owen - CLOSER
*Annette Bening - BEING JULIA
*Catalina Sandino Moreno - MARIA FULL OF GRACE
*Imelda Staunton - VERA DRAKE
*Hilary Swank - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
*Kate Winslet - ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
*Don Cheadle - HOTEL RWANDA
*Johnny Depp - FINDING NEVERLAND
*Leonardo DiCaprio - THE AVIATOR
*Clint Eastwood - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
*Jamie Foxx - RAY
*Martin Scorsese - THE AVIATOR
*Clint Eastwood - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
*Taylor Hackford - RAY
*Alexander Payne - SIDEWAYS
*Mike Leigh - VERA DRAKE
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
*John Logan - THE AVIATOR
*Charlie Kaufman & Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth - ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
*Keir Pearson & Terry George - HOTEL RWANDA
*Brad Bird - THE INCREDIBLES (!!!)
*Mike Leigh - VERA DRAKE
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
*Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke; Story By Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan - BEFORE SUNSET
*David Magee - FINDING NEVERLAND
*Paul Haggis - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
*Jose Rivera - THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES
*Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor - SIDEWAYS
BEST FOREIGN PICTURE:
*AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
*DOWNFALL (this one got applause from the press covering the telecast)
*THE SEA INSIDE (this one, too)
BEST ANIMATED PICTURE:
*THE INCREDIBLES (YAY!!!)
*SHARK TALE (BOO!!!)
*SHREK 2 (eh...)
*MILLION DOLLAR BABY
*Dante Ferretti (Art Direction); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration) - THE AVIATOR
*Gemma Jackson (Art Direction); Trisha Edwards (Set Decoration) - FINDING NEVERLAND
*Rick Heinrichs (Art Direction); Cheryl A. Carasik (Set Decoration) - LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
*Anthony Pratt (Art Direction); Celia Bobak (Set Decoration) - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
*Aline Bonetto - A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT
*Robert Richardson - THE AVIATOR
*Zhao Xiaoding - THE HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
*Caleb Deschanel - THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
*John Mathieson - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
*Bruno Delbonnel - A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT
*Sandy Powell - THE AVIATOR
*Alexandra Byrne - FINDING NEVERLAND
*Colleen Atwood - LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
*Sharen Davis - RAY
*Bob Ringwood - TROY
*Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski - BORN INTO BROTHELS
*Luigi Falorni and Byambasuren Davaa - THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL
*Morgan Spurlock - SUPER SIZE ME
*Lauren Lazin and Karolyn Ali - TUPAC: RESURRECTION
*Kirby Dick and Eddie Schmidt - TWIST OF FAITH
*Thelma Schoonmaker - THE AVIATOR
*Matt Chesse - FINDING NEVERLAND
*Joel Cox - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
*Paul Hirsch - RAY
*Jim Miller and Paul Rubell - COLLATERAL
*Valli O'Reilly and Bill Corso - LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
*Keith Vanderlaan and Christien Tinsley - THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
*Jo Allen and Manuel García - THE SEA INSIDE
*John Williams - HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
*Jan A.P. Kaczmarek - FINDING NEVERLAND
*Thomas Newman - LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
*John Debney - THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
*James Newton Howard - THE VILLAGE
*"Accidentally In Love" - SHREK 2
*"Al Otro Lado Del Río" - THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES
*"Believe" - THE POLAR EXPRESS
*"Learn To Be Lonely" - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
*"Look To Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)" - THE CHORUS
*Michael Silvers and Randy Thom - THE INCREDIBLES
*Randy Thom and Dennis Leonard - THE POLAR EXPRESS
*Paul N.J. Ottosson - SPIDER-MAN 2
*Tom Fleischman and Petur Hliddal - THE AVIATOR
*Randy Thom, Gary A. Rizzo and Doc Kane - THE INCREDIBLES
*Randy Thom, Tom Johnson, Dennis Sands and William B. Kaplan - THE POLAR EXPRESS
*Scott Millan, Greg Orloff, Bob Beemer and Steve Cantamessa - RAY
*Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Joseph Geisinger - SPIDER-MAN 2
*Roger Guyett, Tim Burke, John Richardson and Bill George - HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
*John Nelson, Andrew R. Jones, Erik Nash and Joe Letteri - I, ROBOT
*John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara and John Frazier - SPIDER-MAN 2
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT:
*Gerardine Wurzburg - AUTISM IS A WORLD
*Hanna Polak and Andrzej Celinski - THE CHILDREN OF LENINGRADSKY
*Hubert Davis and Erin Faith Young - HARDWOOD
*Robert Hudson and Bobby Houston - MIGHTY TIMES: THE CHILDREN'S MARCH
*Oren Jacoby and Steve Kalafer - SISTER ROSE'S PASSION
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED):
*Sejong Park and Andrew Gregory - BIRTHDAY BOY
*Jeff Fowler and Tim Miller - GOPHER BROKE
*Bill Plympton (!!!) - GUARD DOG
*Mike Gabriel and Baker Bloodworth - LORENZO
*Chris Landreth - RYAN
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION):
*Gary McKendry - EVERYTHING IN THIS COUNTRY MUST
*Ashvin Kumar - LITTLE TERRORIST
*Nacho Vigalondo - 7:35 IN THE MORNING
*Taika Waititi and Ainsley Gardiner - TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT
*Andrea Arnold - WASP
Film about Howard Hughes earns 11 nods
(CNN) -- "The Aviator" soared over other films at the Oscar nominations Tuesday, earning 11 nods, including best actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), best director (Martin Scorsese), best supporting actor (Alan Alda), best supporting actress (Cate Blanchett) and best picture.
"Million Dollar Baby," the story of a female boxer, and "Finding Neverland," a biography of "Peter Pan" writer J.M. Barrie, followed with seven nominations each.
Jamie Foxx earned two acting nominations: best actor for "Ray" and best supporting actor for "Collateral."
Besides "The Aviator," the nominees for best picture are "Finding Neverland," "Million Dollar Baby," "Ray" and "Sideways."
The other nominees for best actor are Don Cheadle ("Hotel Rwanda"), Johnny Depp ("Finding Neverland") and Clint Eastwood ("Million Dollar Baby").
The nominees for best actress are Annette Bening ("Being Julia"), Catalina Sandino Moreno ("Maria Full of Grace"), Imelda Staunton ("Vera Drake"), Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby") and Kate Winslet ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind").
The other nominees for best supporting actor are Thomas Haden Church ("Sideways"), Morgan Freeman ("Million Dollar Baby") and Clive Owen ("Closer").
The other nominees for best supporting actress are Laura Linney ("Kinsey"), Virginia Madsen ("Sideways"), Sophie Okonedo ("Hotel Rwanda") and Natalie Portman ("Closer").
The other nominees for best director are Clint Eastwood ("Million Dollar Baby"), Taylor Hackford ("Ray"), Alexander Payne ("Sideways") and Mike Leigh ("Vera Drake").
Nominees for best original screenplay are "The Aviator," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Hotel Rwanda," "The Incredibles" and "Vera Drake."
Nominees for best adapted screenplay are "Before Sunset," "Finding Neverland," "Million Dollar Baby," "The Motorcycle Diaries" and "Sideways."
The nominees for best animated film feature are "The Incredibles," "Shark Tale" and "Shrek 2."
The 77th annual Academy Awards are scheduled for February 27. The show will air on ABC.
Monday, January 24
If you don't win tonight, who are you going to fire tomorrow?
How many gay stylists did it take to put you together tonight?
Scientology or Kabbalah?
Do you really think it's fair that Jamie Foxx got three nominations and the Olsen twins didn't get one between them?
Atkins or South Beach?
Do you guys have any weed?
Your movie is excellent, but do you really think it's better than The Surreal Life 4?
You guys entered rehab at what age?
Sunday, January 23
Over 200,000 people lost their lives in the Tsunami. Thousands upon thousands Americans lost their lives, homes and livelihoods with the hurricanes, floods, mudslides and now blizzards. There has been countless stories of humans with great need, including children in our very own country, not to mention worldwide need.
And this couple doesn't bat an eye at spending millions of dollars on a ring, dress, food, decorations and other extravagances 99.9% of us can't even begin to fathom.
It's Excessive. Unncessary. and Disgusting.
Saturday, January 22
Friday, January 21
PKPHI: ok, well you must be at boy george....i'm going to walk to the metro and fart the entire way there
PKPHI: have a nice life
KLATU2224: i admit it...i was jamming to J Lo
PKPHI: you like the mexican music
KLATU2224: Get Right...chola
PKPHI: speaking of things mexican, i had an enchilada last friday
PKPHI: it melted on my mouth
PKPHI: and tasted like salsa
PKPHI: ok, i think i should go home
KLATU2224: i'm amazed...I've never heard this Eminem song
KLATU2224: and it's Number 1
KLATU2224: i have such selective hearing.
PKPHI: hmmm....that means you're gettin' old
PKPHI: YOU"RE OLD HAHAHAHAHAHA OLD I TELL YOU OLD!!!!!!!
PKPHI: i'm on crack.....goodbye
KLATU2224: yeah...it's tonight
PKPHI: that's hot
PKPHI: are you going to put on makeup?
KLATU2224: and it involves 3D glasses and like 4 seperate DJs
KLATU2224: i know I've been here too long...it's the 3rd anniversary of the club "Velocity's" opening.
KLATU2224: I moved here two weeks after it opened.
KLATU2224: did you know Paris Hilton is starting a clothing brand called "That's Hot."
PKPHI: now that IS hot
KLATU2224: my soup's simmering...yum
PKPHI: what kind of soup?
KLATU2224: cheese tortilla
PKPHI: so basically it's melted cheese?
KLATU2224: nope...just part, lol
KLATU2224: i don't add the cheese until tomorrow
PKPHI: oh ok
PKPHI: so are you going to the show with kenny?
KLATU2224: we're thinking about it.
KLATU2224: I may paint my face up
KLATU2224: the theme is "FUNHOUSE"
PKPHI: you're gonna go crazy with that
KLATU2224: ha ha...i was thinking about just doing one sad clown eye
PKPHI: as long as the other is a broad, dramatic, egyption eye
ryan appears in wifebeateror v-neck white t-shirt / 1 drink
shopping of any kind / 1 drink
authentic location shots inorange county / 1 drink
bad or outdated slang such as 'gnarly' or 'groovy' / 1 drink for each archaic expression
breaking up / 2 drinks
seth undulates / 1 drink
drinking alcoholic beverages / 1 drink
if the alcoholic beverages are fake coronas that actually say 'cerveza' on the side / additional 1 drink
reference to ryan's humble origins in Chino / 1 drink
any character actually saying "The O.C." / 2 drinks
latino or black characters or extras / 1 drink
servants of any kind / 2 drinks
fistfight / 2 drinks
any mention of water polo / 2 drinks
car crash / finish your drink
limousine / 2 drinks
surfboard / 1 drink
predict the next line any character is going to say / assign someone else a drink
predict the next plot development / assign someone else a drink
predict the first commercial of a commercial break / assign someone else a drink
KLATU2224: how's Joy?
PKPHI: she's good
KLATU2224: what are you doing tonight with Joy?
PKPHI: we're going to a restaurant called the caucus room
KLATU2224: that's bureaucratic!
PKPHI: it's supposed to be a nice place
PKPHI: it's a steakhouse
KLATU2224: where livers are as large as egos.
KLATU2224: say something funny.
I think M. Night Shamalamadingdong is on to something.
Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson are joining Will Ferrell in "Stranger Than Fiction," director Marc Forster's follow-up to "Finding Neverland."
Ferrell plays an obsessive/compulsive IRS auditor who begins to hear a voice that turns out to be an author who is writing a novel in which Ferrell is the ill-fated protagonist. The auditor heeds the narrator's advice and turns his life around. Thompson is in final negotiations to play the author suffering from writer's block, while Latifah would play a book-company employee whose job is to unblock writers. Maggie Gyllenhaal, star of the Sundance opener "Happy Endings," signed on this week to play Ferrell's unlikely love interest, a baker with anarchist leanings.
This sounds awesome!
Despite an interesting format for the third season of The Apprentice (pitting street-smart players versus the book-smart MBAs), last night’s premiere averaged 15.6 million total viewers, which is down from last season's premiere and way down from the first season.
Even less impressive, that average came against a rerun of “CSI” and the bomb of a reality show “Wickedly Perfect.”
Can we please declare this the end of reality TV?
Summer series? Ugh.
Thursday, January 20
"If I truly wanted to match Bush's accomplishments, I would max out my credit card, take out a second mortgage and steal my mother's Social Security. Instead, I'll just spend it with my five kids and, in the spirit of the second Bush administration, we're going to rent 'Titanic.'"
"On the heels of electoral victories barring same-sex marriage, some influential conservative Christian groups are turning their attention to a new target: the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants." - NY Times
SpongeBob is appearing in a music video with other popular cartoon characters to promote tolerance. Theses nutjobs interpret that as promoting homosexuality among youth. Get a life.
This is my favorite paragraph from the AP story, simply because it's totally disgusting:
"No one was hurt in the incident, but officials with the Chicago Architectural Foundation, which operates the boat tour, said they have received several angry calls from passengers demanding compensation for clothing and personal items."
The Story of the Weeping Camel
Born into Brothels
You're on your own with those damn animated short films.
This episode featured the return of two characters who've been missing from the Lost canvas for a while now. Welcome back, Claire! And, um, you too, polar bear.
But first, Michael and Walt. The series is best when it goes beyond the Jack and Kate Show and focuses on the other survivors. (How come there's been no Hurley flashback yet, when we've had two each of the Smug Doctor and Freckles?) Take Locke's episode: Sure it was memorable because of the wheelchair shocker, but that wouldn't have made such an impact if we hadn't seen that Locke the All-Knowing Island Guru was once a pathetic, Risk-playing box-company employee. There was real revelation and insight into his character. Unlike, say, the episode with weepy, head-butting Kate and her toy plane.
This week featured the best back story since Locke's. It's interesting that Walt is ''different'' and has special powers. But the episode mainly stood out because of Michael. Before this, I wouldn't exactly have called him a compelling character. His main job was to stand around and yell at Walt to stay close to him. But the episode showed him to be such a wonderfully decent guy, especially when he didn't let on to Walt that Walt's stepfather, Brian, didn't want to take care of him after his mother's death. One of my favorite scenes of the entire season — no, not the stepsibling incest — was Michael and Walt bonding over the letters and the drawing of the sunburned penguin. It was moving to see these two finally relating to each other as father and son after everything they've been through. I hope the same kind of treatment is in store for other peripheral characters. (Especially Jin — unlike Hurley, he's already been flashbacked, but even the monster has had more screen time than him.)
As for Walt, it seems he can conjure up creatures out of thin air. After all, he had been reading the Spanish comic book with the polar bear before being attacked by the painfully fake CGI one. Same with the poor birdy who smashed into the window — it couldn't be a coincidence that he was reading about the birds of Australia while feeling ignored by his soon-to-be-dead mom. Maybe Walt's responsible for her mysterious blood ailment too? Yeah, it's a stretch. But all I'm saying is that he didn't seem too broken up about her death when Michael came to see him. And if Brian was as in love with Walt's mother as he claimed, the kid must be really scary if Brian didn't want to keep around the closest connection to his late wife.
Anyway, on to the other plot: How cute was Charlie trying his best not to read Claire's diary? I know it's a huge invasion of privacy, but I can understand there's some solace to be had from reading her words. Don't worry, Charlie, you're not ''bloody scum'' for reading it, since you're the only one who seems to care about her. Everyone else is too busy either planting gardens, digging up dead bodies for Kate, or staging golf tournaments to see who gets the last sticks of deodorant.
When Claire shows up at the end of the episode, I wondered if it was because she got so fed up waiting to be saved that she found her way back on her own. And is it me, or does she no longer look pregnant? Maybe Creepy Ethan has her baby. Who knows, he might want Walt too, since both kids are special in some weird, potentially dangerous sort of way.
With Claire's return and the discovery of the black rock on the crazy Frenchwoman's map, we're finally starting to get some answers to the island's mysteries, which of course means there's reruns for the next two weeks. Sigh. But in the meantime, there's lots to ponder, like . . .
What's up with Walt and his creepy powers? Do you think Claire is still pregnant, and if not, what do you think happened to her baby? And what's been your favorite character back story so far?
Wednesday, January 19
Let me start off by saying that I'm glad Green Day is selling so many copies of their new album. I think it's a great album. Let me also say that I like the way that they report album sales... not in dollars, but in people that actually bought the album.
They do the same thing with television (except they usually show it in the form of ratings).
What bugs me is how movies report their sales.
"The inspiration hoops tale, a ripped-from-real life drama starring Samuel L. Jackson as the titular coach, netted $24.2 million from Friday to Sunday." - E! Online
What does that $24.2 million mean? It sure is a lot of money. But is it a lot of people?
The internets say the average movie ticket cost is $6.22 in 2004. So 3.9 million people saw Coach Carter.
But 24.1 million people watched Desperate Housewives last week. And 13.9 million people watched Alias, and that placed 20th for the week. You'd have to go pretty far down the Nielsen list to find the show that just 3.9 million people watched. If a movie was attended by 24.1 million people, it would make $150 million dollars.
Green Day has sold 2 million albums over several months. In movie dollars, that would be $12.4 million... not exactly a blockbuster. Even a blockbuster album, such as Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill, only sold 16 million albums. In today's movie dollars, that would be almost $100 million (21 movies passed this mark in 2004). In other words, Jagged Little Pill would just beat out The Princess Diaries 2 ($95 million) for number 22 movie of the year.
The other problem with measuring a movie's performance in dollars is that a dollar's value changes with inflation. In 2002, the average ticket price was $5.80. So Coach Carter would've been seen by 4.2 million people vs. 3.9 million this past weekend.
And one more bit of trivia. If American Idol were a movie (and thank God it's not), it would've pulled in $205.3 million dollars last night. That's $200.4 million more than From Justin To Kelly made (which was amazingly seen by almost 800,000 people. At least that would've been really bad for a TV show).
But it is a very solid movie, with some great acting, showy direction, an interesting story and script, and impressive production design. All the pieces came together. And in fact, I got home and immediately looked Howard Hughes, Ava Gardner and Kate Hepburn up on the internets. I wanted to learn more.
When I learned how much history and skill went into the actual filmmaking process (Martin Scorcese used color techniques from the 20s when the movie is set in the 20s, 30s for the 30s, and 40s technicolor for the 40s), I appreciated the film much more.
Leo, Cate Blanchette and Kate Beckinsale (who kind of blew me away in this movie) were all great. I especially liked the scene at the Hepburn's dinner table. Man, that family was full of odd ones.
It's definitely worth checking out, but I'm hoping it doesn't win Best Picture like everyone is predicting.
Now why didn't WE think of this???
"Welcome to the greatest fucking country in the world!"
That's sure to bring tears of pride to Jerry Falwell.
Quality of show (on a scale of 10): 5.5 One thing “Pleasant” didn’t steal from “The O.C.” is its manic pacing. Things develop a bit too slowly in the pilot, and if the writers would simply speed things up, that would help the show. It could also use more humor, since the setup is so campy. Judy is the only one who shows spirit. When a ditzy classmate looks at her uniform and asks whether she works at the gas station, actress Aubrey Dollar smiles and answers back sweetly, “No, I’m volunteering.” You’d expect more bite from a show that boasts former “Buffy the Vampire” writer Marti Noxon as executive producer. You’d also expect better acting, but the cast makes the actors on “According to Jim” look charismatic. And former “Melrose Place” hunk Grant Show seems to have wandered over from syndication without any discernable reason for being. Flesh him out or drop his cryptic caretaker character.