Saturday, February 28, 2009


Well, it's been a real bummer lately because I've been really sick and haven't done much of anything but lounge around on the couch blowing my nose and holding my aching head. The bad news is, I've been taking anti-bios for four days now and really not seeing any significant changes. Is this gonna be forever?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Live Bloggin' at the Oscars

Well, my Oscar Week (TM) kind of took a dump this week - but I did notice that my readership is nevertheless at an all time high, so I thank you all for checking in!

Sat. morning I woke up with what I thought was a monster hangover, but it turns out it was the beginnings of a rotten cold. Spent most of the weekend sleeping or camped out on the couch, which is were I am now, watching the Oscars (instead of at my friends' party! So sad!) A classmate of mine from high school is on E - and as I lay on the couch, unwashed, surrounded by soggy tissues, hair matted - I wondered what it would be like to be living in LA, in a designer dress, talking about Brad and Angelina on TV.

Erk, now they're doing that creepy Death Roll bit - it's like a death popularity game, isn't it?

Oh, boy - they're finally getting to some good awards - it was nice they started it out with Penelope (I loved her little bit in Spanish and more thrilled that I could figure out what she was saying!) I suppose it was no surprise that Heath L. was going to win for Best Supporting... I'm thinking Doyle for Director... wait for it... Oh! I'm right!

Damn, commercial break. Common, academy! I'm tired, I want to go to bed!

It's gotta be Kate for Best Actress... I kind of like this deal where they bring past winners up to do the actors, although it's sort of emotionally cruel - these poor people are a mess by the end of it - Ooh, Kidman's dress is gooooorgeous. Sophia's dress is ridiculous. What in the hell is that jewelry Angelina's wearing? It looks like she has jolly ranchers hanging off her body. And the winner is... Yeah!

Now, let's see... Sean Penn? No, I bet it'll be Mickey Rourke. Oop! It is Sean Penn. I'm gonna see see that movie, some day, but I never run out for Gus Van Sant. Ooh, big smack-down to the the haters! Alright!

I bet it's nice holding an Oscar - people always go, Oh, it's heavy - then they hold them, up and out. I like that.

Best picture - so tired - everyone knows it's Slumdog Millionaire... Yes! Ok. Good nite!

Friday, February 20, 2009

If Paul Picked the Oscars!

Best Picture:

I've only seen two of the five nominees, Frost/Nixon and Milk, and both were just fine, but nothing that astonishing. Frost/Nixon was Good Night and Good Luck lite, while Milk did a great job at showing why Harvey Milk was important, but scaled back on showing who Milk actually was. Of the two, I'd go with Milk, but it's a tough call. So Slumdog Millionaire will win.

Best Non-nominee: Wall-E. Seriously, people. Wall-E. If it weren't for the token Weinstein Bros. slot being clogged up with The Reader, Wall-E would be a cinch to be nominated, and it may be the best film I saw last year.

Best Actor:

I haven't seen The Wrestler, so I can't vouch for Mickey Rourke, but I've been a Rourke fan since Another 9 1/2 Weeks. I wish him the best of luck, though the competition is pretty great as well. My vote would go to Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon for playing what could have been a caricature as a human being, though Sean Penn is more likely to win. Richard Jenkins did fantastic low-key work in The Visitor--even though the "plot" of the film had little to do with Jenkins' mild-mannered professor character, the story was always his.

Best non-nominee: Josh Brolin in W. The movie itself was kind of a mess, tapering off at the end and featuring some career-worst performances (I'm looking at you, Thandie Newton), but Brolin aced it. Honorable mention: Jean Claude Van Damme in JCVD.

Best Actress:

Of the nominees, I've only seen Doubt, which features a pretty grandiose and unsubtle performace by Meryl Streep. I can't endorse that sort of behavior, so really, I have no idea. My vote would go to Kate Winslet, just to give her a damn Oscar so she can stop making movies that seem so horribly important.

Best non-nominee: Michelle Williams in Wendy and Lucy. In a year filled with dog movies (Marley and Me! Beverly Hills Chihuahua! Bolt! Hancock!), one was actually watchable. In fact, damn good. Williams is spectactularly understated as a homeless young woman who loses her dog. Heartwrenching, potent and not the least bit saccharine.

Best Supporting Actor:

As a change, I've only missed one of these--Revolutionary Road, which appears to be like "Mad Men," only a movie, and crap. Heath Ledger will win, and probably deserves to, but Downey and Brolin were great as well. I'd lean toward Downey as it's always good to see the Oscars recognize a comedic performance, but maybe The Joker qualifies as well.

Best Non-nominee: No ideas, really. Malcolm McDowell for Doomsday?

Best Supporting Actress:

Viola Davis may have less than five minutes on screen, but if Beatrice Straight can win for Network, Davis deserves to win for Doubt. I also haven't seen any of the other nominees, so who knows?

Best Non-nominee: Lena Leandersson for Let the Right One In. Because we deserve better than Twilight for our asexualized vampire movies.

Best Director:

I'll be happy for Danny Boyle to win, though I wish it wasn't for Slumdog Millionaire. Ron Howard and Gus Van Sant did respectable jobs, but I don't know about "best."

Best Non-nominee: Thomas Alfredson for Let the Right One In, Andrew Stanton for Wall-E, Christopher Zalla for Sangre de mi Sangre, Kelly Reichardt for Wendy and Lucy... whatever.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Once I had a sexy dream (for me) that I sat next to Liam Neeson for a couple of hours and we quietly held hands. This is apparently not an usual fantasy, for I had no trouble digging up a couple of friends to see Taken (the common response: With Liam Neeson? Yes!).

'Twas a fun movie to see, especially with one's gal pals with similar man-crushes. In case you haven't heard, it's about this dad (Liam!) whose daughter is immediately kidnapped by sex-trafficking Albanians (are they new bad guys?) after landing in Paris. Liam, I mean, the dad, is a former FBI-type, gets a call from the daughter in the midst of said kidnapping, and, as if he's been waiting for it all his life, plugs the cellphone into a number of contraptions and tells her exactly what will happen and what to do while it's happening. Then he jets off to Paris and starts punching dudes in the neck.

A lot of the movie is a series of Neeson punching dudes in the neck - so much so that I wondered what it would be like to punch someone in the neck myself, and if they would fall into an immediate coma, just like all of his punched adversaries.

I'm not sure if Neeson is cut out to be an action hero - I prefer him in movies like Love Actually. Taken was frequently compared to the Bourne series, which I don't really see.

Taken was also criticized for its portrayal of the very real problem of human sex trafficking, which is, let's face it, not a very real problem for extremely wealthy young white American women. There's a really funny article on the Onion's AV Club about Gene Shallot's reaction to Taken.

Wanna hear something funny? Looks like Spielberg is making a movie about Abraham Lincoln starring Guess Who?!? Frankly, I don't understand the nation's fascination with Abe Lincoln - I could give two craps about him - but - if Liam's in the movie...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

If Special K Picked the Oscars!

It's not just because Slumdog Millionaire was the only nominated film for Best Picture that it's my choice for the Oscar but because it really is a great movie, and I won't be surprised if we see it sweep a lot of awards. That and like, please, who wants to watch Frost/Nixon, seriously?

Michael Gondry - Be Kind, Rewind. This movie didn't get a whole lot of play, but it was a nifty Gondry film, and a real tribute to the beauty and creativity of film-making AND film-watching (I knew sitting on my ass watching stuff on a screen was somehow me being involved in a creative process).

I was fairly outraged when I heard Robert Downey Jr. was going to be in black-face in Tropic Thunder, but, they managed to make a decent statement about the black experience, and how attempts to co-op it are always going to fail. Comedic actors don't get a lot of respect in the Oscars, so it's pretty cool to see Downey Jr getting a nom, even if it's actually for supporting actor.

Sally Hawkins plays a relentlessly cheerful woman in Happy-Go-Lucky, which would make for a pretty lame-ass movie, if she didn't run into a couple of sticky situations and manage to come out with dignity and ... cheerfulness!

Tom Cruise and his big, meaty paws in Tropic Thunder was one of the most hilarious bits I've seen in a movie in a long time. Who knew that guy was so funny?

I really did intend to see Doubt, but it's already come and gone from theatres around here. All those nominations! Meryl Streep! Philip Seymour Hoffman! Amy Adams! Viola Davis! At least one of those people ought to win, shouldn't they?


WALL-E was a gorgeous film - so little dialogue, what an amazing story! And the first mainstream lesbian cartoon?

Twilight - The book by Stephanie Meyer is perhaps one of the most ridiculous pieces of literature to be written in the past ten years and yet experience unprecedented fandom by teenagers and middle-aged women everywhere, did nevertheless translate into a not-completely ridiculous movie.

Oscar Week!

Oh, the glamour! It's Oscar Week here at Agoraphobia - and assuming my pals send me their nominations - you'll be treated the much under-appreciated If We Picked the Oscars! Here are the actual nominations - a list of filums, if, you're like me, you haven't seen the half of!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Gus Van Sant, Milk

Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler


Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader


Josh Brolin, Milk
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

Amy Adams, Doubt
Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler


Frozen River, Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh
Milk, Dustin Lance Black
WALL-E, Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Roth
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan
The Reader, David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy

Kung Fu Panda

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentimes!

Hope you're all having a lovely Valentine's Day. I seem to have broken the cardinal rule of valentine's day, which is: Don't eat so much for dinner that you end up spending the whole night moaning over a stomach ache.

Well, aside from a stuffed belly, we had a lovely day - this morning had a wonderful late breakfast at Victory's Banner, then went to the fabric store for a secret project, then we drove downtown and went to the Art Institute to see the Edvard Munch show. It was very exciting because I know the curator of the show, and many of the pieces are from the very fine collection of Munch prints from the Prints and Drawings Room where I used to volunteer. I haven't been downtown for Ihatetotellyouhowlong. Then we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in the old 'hood.

Here's a (romantic?) Munch for you to enjoy:August Strindberg said of this work, [it's] "the fusion of two beings, one of which in the form of a carp, seems to be about to swallow the larger after the manner of vermin, microbes, vampires and women …" Oh no he didn't!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Art (law blog)

I'm thinking about buying a new piece by this artist I read about on a law blog (which is hilarious, you should check it out) of all places. I went there to laugh ("What is art - a chart") but came away with a hot tip on up-and-comer Chrissie White. I like this oneand
this one. What do you think? (Photos via her photostream on Flickr.)

Monday, February 09, 2009

8 is too much

Isn't this octuplet business ridiculous?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I just found an awesome quote:

"Woman" is my slave name; feminism will give me freedom to seek some other identity altogether.

Ann Snitow, "A Gender Diary," Conflicts in Feminism

Yea! Ok! I gotta check that out...

I wrote my first CD review over on my friend Kathy's blog, WKHM - check it out!

Monday, February 02, 2009

"the Manolo Blahniks of her time"

Saw Slumdog Millionaire over the weekend and really enjoyed it. Aside from a few cringe-worthy moments it was a really fascinating story to watch. I thought, in fact, in terms of storytelling, it was one of the best movies I've seen in some time. It seems like lately there's a bunch of character studies or "issues" films out lately, and storytelling often doesn't even enter the picture. I also really liked what the movie had to say about knowledge. It showed a great respect for the knowledge that comes through experience.

Didja see the article in the WaPo about how maybe Martha Washington wasn't a "frump" after all and maybe actually "hot"? Aside from the depressing reminder that our culture-whore society is so appearance-obsessed that a woman is judged on her appearance after being dead for 200 years, I did find the picture of her purple shoes pretty exciting. Mmmmm.... lovely shoes.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Just Get Through February

Lately I'm trying to deal with a little philosophical problem. The issue is this: The world is full of jackasses, and one runs into them all the time. The jackasses get all up in my grill, and then I get mad and am on way to turning into a Class A jackass myself. The way I see it, I can:
1. Call it out: Yo! Jackass! Cool it!
2. Seethe quietly
3. Feel sorry for them because they clearly have a miserable life
4. Ignore them

but, those present problems - namely:
1. Might get punched
2. Boiling, bottled rage not good
3. Don't want to waste my time feeling sorry for jackasses
4. Can't seem to do it.

What should I dooooOOOOOOooooooo? Does anyone have good method for this? Have to get through February with angry fellow citizens suffering from massive seasonal defective disorder.

In related news, someone is not cleaning up after their dog and now we have a couple piles of dog poo in our front yard. This morning I told a certain husband of plans to put up a sign reading: "Dear Disgusting People: How about cleaning up after your dog?"

Husband says, "How about just 'Please clean up after your dog'?"

I say, "How about 'Please clean up after your dog, jackhole'?"

"How about 'Please clean up after your dog' full stop?"

"Let's compromise," I say. "How about 'How about taking some responsibility for once in your miserable life and cleaning up after your dog, please.'"