Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscars, Shmoskers: The Leopard list

The Leopard hates artistic competitions. Once all involved are of a certain level of achievement, it's all relative. Still such industry pageants as the Grammys and the Oscars see fit to pit one aesthetic against another. Who's to say one artist in one genre is better than one in another if they're both brilliant in their work? And God, it's so damn embarassing to watch everyone try to act humble as they accept their little golden action figures.

The only true competition is with Oscar Night attire. There, the
search for greatness is more predicated on the delicate balance between elegance and glamour. And it's great fun to see who falls off the high wire.

Still, being a huge film fan, I saw many of the movies nominated at this years Oscars, so here's The Leopard list of film and performances. Not necessarily the best, but the Leopard's favorites:

1. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
One of Woody Allen's best in years. Penelope Cruz is amazing.

2. Doubt
Just a lot of fun. Not quite as serious as it would like to be. Meryl Streep seriously dines on the Brooklyn scenery.

3. Redbelt
Okay, it doesn't make much sense by the end, but Chiwetel Ejiofor makes it all work anyway. A thinking man's martial arts film.

4. Let The Right One In
A low budget Swedish vampire film with an unknown cast that kicks the ass of most of Hollywood's output.

5. The Wrestler
Mickey Rourke just does things no one else has ever done onscreen. Nuff' said.

6. Frost/Nixon
Good n' smart. A lot of has been said of Frank Langella's performance, but Michael Sheen is marvelous.

7. Slumdog Millionaire
Yeah, it's a bit overrated by now. But it's still super entertaining.

8. Dark Knight
The Leopard has written abou this film before, so let's not be redundant. Let's just say it's one of the 1 or 2 best superhero movies ever made, and leave it at that.

These are the movies I just had the most fun with. If you haven't seen any of these, check 'em out!

Janeane's Dilemmas

The Leopard recently had the good fortune to visit The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Manhattan to attend a one-on-one interview with the comedian/actor/commentator Janeane Garofalo. In a wonderfully enlightening and entertaining conversation, Garofalo discussed her career with a sly wit.

Probably most attractive about Garofalo's persona is her candidness. she mentioned how at the ripe old age of 44, what an extraordinarily tough time she's had finding roles, which is a result of the sexism and ageism of Hollywood. She also spoke about how even at her peak, many of her past movies regrettably came out just plain bad. She even called probably her most well known film, The Truth about Cats and Dogs, "Sentimental crap", and her most recent show, Fox's 24 "Preposterous". She spoke without fear about Ben Stiller, whom she's worked with many times, saying that she was once fired by him, and the only way she could get along with the star creatively was to simply "Do what he wanted".

This was refreshing, especially considering all the BS that movie stars spout about how wonderful they all are, afraid that they may blow a chance at a gig if they don't keep their mouths shut. Hey, the Christian Bale incident is probably more the norm than the exception. It's just that usually no one's dumb enough to blow their stacks while the audio is still running.

Garofalo just seemed to be a genuinely nice person. In a quick Q&A with the audience at the ended the interview, someone shouted out that they'd like help getting some lame show idea produced. Instead of blowing the person off, she invited them backstage and offered them her managers' number. Now that's class.