28 February 2012

Tuesday Talk: Oscars, Netflix, Kimmel

Welcome to Tuesday Talk, a new feature here at Ramblings of a Minnesota Geek. It allows me the ability to just talk about whatever I want, movies or TV, without actually having some big grandiose topic like, say, 'What is the best Orson Wells performance and why?' or what have you. So I'll do a Tuesday Talk one week, a Tuesday Cap the other - just the Cap thing got a bit tedious after awhile, and I wasn't all that into it. Anyhow, time for me to stay true to the blog's title, and ramble!

As a fan of movies, this is what we do, right? We watch the Oscars, love 'em or loathe 'em. And each year, I find myself less and less impressed. Although, after the Franco/Hathaway lackluster fest that was 2011, this year's broadcast had nowhere to go but up. And host Billy Crystal succeeded for the most part. At least he was lively and jovial (and not looking high), and even gave us a dance routine that I had no understanding of the words [for realzies, the sound was very off all evening]. Highlights include the clever inclusion of Crystal in key 2011 films, the actresses of Bridesmaids coming out and announcing awards, Iron Man and Pepper Pots doing a nice shtick, and the Cirque du Soleil routine which was pretty much awesome [but, frankly, could easily have been trimmed....that said, that was awesome!], and Emma Stone being Emma Stone which is always a plus.

Concerning the awards, well, we got two clear winners: Hugo and The Artist, both of which I have yet to see, and I have a sinking feeling that unless one of 'em blows me away, neither are going to be impactful enough to alter how I view my favorite/best flicks of 2011 as I have it right now. I haven't seen Beginners, which I know everyone is raving about, so I can't full well join the Christopher Plummer bandwagon - although I do recognize the award is a reflection of his entire career, not just this singular movie, so in that regard, kudos Mr. Plummer. Still, a part of me wanted to see Gary Oldman win. Honestly. And while I'm being honest, Midnight in Paris didn't do a single bloody thing for me. Nada. Zilch. So to have the screenplay win for Best Original, and have accolades sprung on it over and over, I just couldn't muster any enthusiasm. But it won, that's the reality, and the big question is this: why didn't that little dick show up and accept the award? Get your ass up there, doofus.

I believe the final running time clock in for the awards was 3.09, and that's pretty bad. For a show that concerns itself so much with time, they really are pretty bad at mastering it. Oh well. I hope the 2013 awards will be far more interesting and unpredictable.

Just - alright, full thoughts confession time: eight movies, a theme park, and bazillions of fans later, and Harry Potter gets nothing? That's criminal. Hugo winning special effects? Granted, all I've seen of it is from the trailers, but c'mon! Rise of the Planet of the Apes or, just as deserving, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. These things demand to be recognized, and nobody is giving them anything more than, 'Oh, right, yeah, that was pretty neat-o effects, wasn't it? Sure, let's nom them.' Not cool. Award these movies already. The more I think about the Oscars, the less in love I am with them. But the Oscars weren't the highlight of the evening. Nay, that was something far more full of hilarity and brilliance and celebratory of everything movie. You'll find that...right after some Netflix' talkin.


I just finished How I Met Your Mother, so naturally I would have to move onto another series and not actively do homework, right? You are correct! Finding out that the entire series run of the ABC Family show GREEK was available, I put aside any plans for doing stuff that matters and instead concentrating my time on finishing up this series. A long time ago I rented Chapter One from the local library, loved it, reviewed it, and never got back to its awesomeness. Well, I sought to remedy my error of not having seen the complete series (which ended its run early 2011), and voilia, Netflix was my saving grace.

Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 were watched within a span of, I believe, nine days. Not bad, not bad. It's shows like these that solidify my television addiction. I found myself pressing the 'Next' arrow each and every time an episode finished. When the season two finale reared its head, and Cappie was faced with the decision of chasing after Casey or not (no spoilerage; anyone who cares about what I'm writing about at the moment will most likely had seen all there is to see of GREEK), I resolved to turn it off, and revisit the series a week later (or hell, a day later) with season three. Nope. The camera closed in on Cappie, the credits rolled. Season 2 ended. Approximately two seconds later, I pressed Next, and Season 3 began. I don't honestly think I went through a season as fast as I did with three.

The long and short of it is, the final twelve episodes of season two were strong. I liked them, I liked the introduction of Max and their blossoming relationship. I wasn't so much a fan of the 'oh, you're leaving, what does this mean for our future?' thing the show seemed to pull a lot, and especially with this relationship, but Casey and Max were strong enough together that I let it slide. Evan began a downward spiral into becoming a bigger ass than ever before, rather self destructive, really, and that was very interesting to watch. More to that, Evan and Cappie reconciling their differences and becoming friends for the first time in years - that was a fantastic arc, and to see how their friendship was tested in completely 'Oh no they didint!' ways was a real pleasure. Side characters Calvin and Dale were also given a huge load of material to work with, and not only did it make me have tremendous respect for the actors for going with the flow, but also the writers for their balls going there with these characters. If there's one thing GREEK excelled at (other than fun, fun, fun!) was character development. Even some of the standalone episodes that don't feel like they serve a larger purpose, they tie into character surprisingly well.

That's season three for ya. Loads of stories that don't quite engage, or just aren't really inspired, but thanks to these characters and especially these actors - whatever imperfections the story had, I just didn't care. Season 3 was still enjoyable. I also loved that characters that played important parts in each others lives in the first season, and suddenly had practically no screentime together in the second season, rekindled their friendship/romance in its third year. Not just letting things fall into oblivion because one storyline is over - there aren't many shows that don't fall into that unfortunate crux. Overall, season three was the least bestest of the bunch, but considering the quality of seasons one, two and four, that's not saying it was bad by any means.

Season 4, the final ten episodes. I entered the season with the dread of knowing once it's done, it's done. No more. I deliberately decided to wait a few hours (!) before clicking Next, which wasn't always easy when they introduced subplots and romantic pairings that I was highly interested in seeing [e.g. SPOILERS - Rusty and Ashleigh, weirdly works] and fun stand alone episodes that poked deeper into second hand characters [e.g., the Beaver episode, brilliant!]. Overall, with only ten episodes composing its season, a lot was packed into each episode, making them gripping from beginning to end - at least I dug 'em. Casey growing up and getting into Cyprus law using her wits and attitude, Evan continuously burying himself in a hole, the return of the ultra-bitchy Rebecca Logan who now runs ZBZ, the lost-and-found Ashleigh looking for meaning and direction, Calvin who's stuck between allegiances, Dale who decides to pledge, and finally Cappie's journey into adulthood, the will he? won't he? conundrum. For any final season, the important thing is that the character arcs are left in a satisfying way, and how GREEK chose to go out - it works, it fits, and it's entirely satisfying. There's clear progression of character from when we were introduced to these blokes in the first season, and where they end up - some make choices, have a sort of direction, while others don't know what the hell they're going to do, and simply choose to wing it all. Very real, very honest, very true to characters and life. In a sentence, I loved the final run of GREEK, and furthermore, I take no shame in saying I got all emotionally invested in everyone's damn relationships.

With GREEK finished, my eyes are set on two gritty FX shows: Terriers and Sons of Anarchy. The first didn't make it past its thirteen episode freshman order, no thanks to horrible ratings, and the second just finished its fourth season (I'm resuming with its sophomore run). Thus far, three episodes into both respective shows, they're bloody fantastic. In future ramblings or reviews, I'll do a good ol' write-up, but for now, just gotta say, FX is the channel to watch out for. If I ever develop a series and pursue my life ambition of being a screenwriter (specifically for television, although I ain't about to decline film), I'm bringing my material to FX.

In conclusion, GREEK is one hell of an awesome serious, highly recommended to all young adults or not young adults who enjoy college dramadies. It's sad to see the series go, but it left on a high note. As of this writing, the first three seasons are available in five DVD sets [God I hate ABC Family in regards to how they release their shows, split into half-season 'Volume' DVDs], with the fourth and final season available strictly through Shout! Factory's online website.

What's everyone else watching on Netflix Streaming?


Now, I don't normally watch late night talk shows, though about a year ago I went on a Craig Ferguson kick and made it my business to watch anything of his I could get my hand on, but since I was already procrastinating on homework (which I later completed, by the way; I know you were all anxiously wondering) I decided to check out Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscar par-tay with special guest Oprah Winfrey. There was the promise of, like, two dozen stars showing up during the show, and in a manner of speaking, they did. Alright, right off the bat, Kimmel got the humble 'we're not worthy of you, Oprah' jokes out of the way, and they settled in together quite nicely. First Kimmel premiered Movie: The Movie, a 9 1/2 minute trailer that compiles every imaginable cliche in the book in one potential feature film that I would pay top dollar to see. Those ten minutes were the highlight of the evening. Hell, best ten minutes of the day. Kimmel is brilliant. I'm not going to write an exhaustive list of all the actors/actresses that cameod in the piece, but there were tons of surprises, none more so than an appearance of an adorable sci-fi character.

In addition to the faux trailer, Oprah got into the well of funny and delivered some hilarious bits along with Kimmel in some sketches. She actually got her fight on in Oprah's Book Fight Club, where she and her fellow bookie peeps beat the livin' snot out of each other. It was genuinely quite amazing to see, ladies and gents. Next to the movie trailer thing, do yourself the service of watching the Oprah/Kimmel skit. Just as hilarious, just as brilliant. Watch the spectacular Movie: The Movie here. These two skits made Oscar night completely and totally worth it (same meaning, I know, just sounded fun).


And that concludes the first edition of Tuesday Talk! Man, just writing for the hell of writing feels great. No source citing or thesis statements or any of that college-y stuff. Nice. Spring Break next week, so I hope to finish whatever Netflix addictions I have left and concentrate on watching more movies, which I am at a miserable number with at the moment. Come back later this week, because the Geek is gearing up to hand out his awards for 2011. He's seen enough, now it's time to finally, completely, wholeheartedly close that chapter of the movie world and look yonder to 2012 (!!!), that magnificent, world-ending year that we just happen to be living in now. 2012 air....ahhhh...how it smells and is just as air-y as 2011 air....what am I talking about again? Movie stuff! Right, see y'all tomorrow. Hopefully. Maybe. Happy Tuesday!

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