10 Kneejerk Reactions to The Golden Globes

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Last night was the Golden Globes, which seems to be moving more and more to popular fare (or at least, I can use the word ‘mainstream’) and isn’t quite the barometer of the Oscars that it used to be. They had a good turnout last night though, with few no shows, and quite a star-studded group of actors, musicians, and hybrids (and I’m not talking cars). My ten post-glittery reactions to the show:

10) Proof that the Globes are increasingly populist – shunning Mad Men and Modern Family (two perennial awards favourites, despite the latter being new) in favour of newbie Boardwalk Empire and sickening Glee (not a fan). I have to say that having watched S4 of Mad Men and S1 of BE, I’m surprised Boardwalk took the big prize. I doubt the Emmys will be reflective of this however, as Mad Men had quite possibly their best season ever recently. Poor Jon Hamm, so talented yet always overlooked. He better win for MM’s final season, whenever that may be.

9) I felt like I was watching an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras last night, it was so full-on Pageanty-glitz. Everyone was rocking the spangles, the one-shoulders, and the tulle, it was like a stylists convention. The giant shoulder pads and puffed long sleeves were not a fave of mine, but the bright colour choices for once were. It’s hard for me to single out a favourite really, because while I was overwhelmed by the *interesting* elements of each dress, I wasn’t particularly enraptured with one of them.

8) I forgot how beautiful and ambient The Social Network score was, until it was played repeatedly throughout the night. Kudos to Trent Reznor for the win, as well as the film.

7) Ricky Gervais is hilarious. He was getting a lot of “Clap-ters”, a term I learned from Seth Meyers where an audience gets a joke, but is uncomfortable with laughing at it – more reactionary “ohhhs” than “hahaha”. I’m sure it’s funnier if you’re not there and not being made fun of by him personally, but he sure makes the audiences at home laugh.

6) The biggest showdown of the year – Annette Bening vs. Natalie Portman is no closer to being sorted out, because they were awarded in two different categories. I feel like the momentum is in Portman’s court – Hollywood loves to use the Oscar as a way to roll out the red carpet for Hollywood’s next group of royalty – but Bening has been nominated often enough she might take it.

5) I might not like Glee very much, but Chris Colfer is the most precious button to ever grace an awards stage. In the few episodes and snippets I’ve watched of the show, he’s hands down the best part of it, and a great icon in the troubled times young people seem to be going through.

4) Circling back to The Social Network, I feel like this HAS to win the Oscar. The momentum is fully in their favour at this point, although The King’s Speech has a bit of fustiness that Oscar voters love, and The Kids Are Alright has received a consistent level of praise. The other shoo-ins at this point are Aaron Sorkin’s Social Network script, Colin Firth in The King’s Speech, and someone from The Fighter winning some sort of acting prize.

3) I felt bad (for about a nanosecond) for Angelina and Johnny. Not just because Gervais flat out roughed them up publicly, but because it was brave of them to even bother showing up for a show most people were laughing at their nominations for. I’m sure half the reason why their films / roles were nominated was to make them show up, because not showing up would make things even worse.

2) In last night’s other awkwardly but hilariously inappropriate moment, Robert Downey Jr.’s intro speech for the award he was presenting felt unscripted. And if it was, kudos because it was actually funny, if a little squirm-inducing considering his wifey was chilling in the audience. I love R Downs though, cause he just doesn’t seem to give a shiz. He was wearing sneakers and a cute blue tie that matched his wife’s dress at the Oscars last year, although amusingly Bieber got slammed for doing the same thing this year.

1) I’m going to go out on a limb and say it – Toy Story 3, if Pixar were better at mounting such campaigns, should win Best Picture. Because they won’t, I’m happy with TSN taking it.

(Boardwalk) Empire State Of Mind

7:46 AM Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Ah it’s been awhile since I’ve updated in here, mostly because I’ve been buried in wintry weather and indulging in all manner of tv and movies, although I haven’t progressed much by way of my alphabetical movie-watching.

Starting on New Year’s Eve and concluding on Thursday, I spent my evenings watching the new HBO series Boardwalk Empire. As the cable channel’s answer to Mad Men, there were high expectations for this setpiece, especially with the dynamite cast they’d assembled and the glitzy era they were capturing. Since then, there have been uneasy whispers about whether the show really succeeded – specifically with the supposedly glacial pacing of the plot and character development, Steve Buscemi as a less-than-convincing half-a-mobster, and the less-than-subtle writing that tends to hit you over the head with ‘shadowed’ meaning.

I find my opinions of a show always shift a bit the more I read about it. Slate didn’t appear to have any commentary available, so I read Tom & Lorenzo’s fabulous blog recaps. T Lo was less than enthused about the show, at least compared to the lavish attention they heap on Mad Men.

In my own opinion, not being a seasoned HBO / Cable TV watcher (other than The Walking Dead, which I also enjoyed a mini-marathon of recently), and Mad Men), Boardwalk Empire is fantastic. I love Steve Buscemi to begin with, and it’s nice to see him sink his teeth into a role he seemed increasingly comfortable with as the series progressed.

I also love the intertwining of the three worlds – Chicago, New York, and Atlantic City. Too often, Mad Men can come off a little insular, so when a character visits say, California, it’s quite jarring. Here, the worlds are all quite interconnected and provide some of the most explosive moments of tension between characters. Rothstein, played by A Serious Man’s Michael Stuhlbarg, was quite possibly my favourite actor of the season – and without the NYC storyline, he might not have a place at all.

Margaret is definitely the proto-Peggy of Mad Men world. I always find her storylines and scenes the most entrancing, along with Nucky’s (Steve Buscemi’s) stuff surprisingly, because I don’t often enjoy the central protagonist quite as much. I also really enjoy Michael Pitt as an actor – he’s fantastic at toeing the line between angelic babyface and psychotic creepshow. The addition of Richard towards the end of the season was welcome, his lurking, wheezing presence adds a new level of creepiness, but also sympathy towards what the war did to these young men. Van Alden actually makes my toes curl for his awkward, stiff, zealot behaviour…but I give kudos to the actor that plays him. Tommy the toddler is also a major scene stealer. I was happy annoying Angela didn’t run off with him, I’ll say that much.

I didn’t find the problems the rest of the world had with the show to be that insurmountable to be honest. I recognize that Buscemi is an interesting choice for Nucky, but I think he pulls it off. Having the likes of Jon Hamm in that role would completely change who Nucky is, and I think Buscemi does a solid job of a smiling crocodile. The pacing was a little slow, but I’d prefer to use the term measured – I kind of enjoyed not flying through things, and really, each episode was generally set weeks apart, with the glimpses of action falling in line with the slow-boiling tension between the characters.

I think the series will only go upwards from here, as each character finds their roots and we do less expository background stuff. Plus we’re just dipping our toes into the roaring twenties and the rise of Capone – I can’t wait to see how things unfold, and I definitely have plans to read the book associated with the show!

- Britt’s On

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