Records Are Shattered

February, 2015 will go down in Gravy history as a moment of triumph. The statistics alone tell an impressive tale:

  • The best month: 3,771 views; the previous best was November 2014, which saw 1,736 views.
  • The best week: The week of Feb. 16-22 saw 1,765 views; this week alone would have made this our best-ever month.
  • The best day: Feb. 15th, my father’s birthday, saw 644 views from 438 visitors. The previous best day was in November, shortly after I published my review of Interstellar; that day saw 173 views.
  • The most-viewed post: The page where visitors could vote for my 4th Annual Film Awards, a page which is now defunct, saw 1,313 views this month–nearly three times more than any post to date. And The Voters Speak!, which displays the results, has seen 796 views to date, and I’m sure that number will only continue to grow.

Again I must thank Arnaud Trouvé (CineCharlie) and Brontis Jodorowsky for their considerable part in making this such a successful month. And again I thank my friend Maggie for impelling me to do the blog, and my father for nurturing my love of cinema in the first place (the music begins to play me off) and of course, all of you who came to visit. I hope you’ll be back.

Proper Hop Soda Review

Haven’t done one of these in a while. I wasn’t even familiar with this soda, but I saw it for sale in a coffeeshop, and was intrigued enough to give it a go. After letting it chill for a few days, I decided it was time to enjoy it on top of a nice dinner and an underwhelming screening of Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (pro tip: just see A Touch of Sin instead). So, from the hitherto unknown Proper Soda Co. out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, it’s Hop Soda!

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87th Academy Awards Wrap-Up

This about sums it up. (Source)

This about sums it up. (Source)

Well, it’s over. And I’m glad.

The outcome was, in some respects, better than I anticipated. In a way, it was like last year: the best nominee for Best Picture beat the overrated juggernaut, and the tech awards were largely satisfactory, but the acting awards left me largely uninspired. That may be a result more of the predictability of the race than of how I actually feel about the winning performances, but in any case, it felt a bit lackluster.

The show itself didn’t help. Who the fuck wrote the jokes this year? I like Neil Patrick Harris a lot, but he had some terrible material here. That running gag about his predictions was agonizing, especially when he repeatedly dragged poor Octavia Spencer into it. Kudos to Robert Duvall for his complete indifference when NPH tried to pull him in. And that bit where he made David Oyelowo read that non sequitur about the remake of Annie…what the hell was that?

There was an unsettling amount of off-key racial and political humor throughout the night. The reason/treason jab at Edward Snowden. Sean Penn’s “green card” joke about Alejandro Iñárritu (some have played this off as a joke between former collaborators–it was still in damnably poor taste). The fat jokes made by NPH at both Spencer’s and Oprah’s expense. There was a lot to be embarrassed by.

And I didn’t even mention that bit with Idina Menzel and John Travolta. I’ll just remind of whatever the fuck he was wearing around his neck and leave it at that.

On the other hand, there were some excellent acceptance speeches (I’ll discuss those under the relevant categories), at least one of which outshone the film it won for. The “In Memoriam”, with the sketchy artwork, was actually quite a pleasant change of pace (though the omission of Joan Rivers ruffled more than a few feathers). Rosamund Pike called out Gone Girl‘s general snubbing on the red carpet, which I much appreciated. The bit with NPH in his underwear rather cleverly tied together homages to both Birdman and Whiplash. Lady Gaga’s Sound of Music medley was nicely sung (as far as my untrained ears could tell), even if it was decidedly gratuitous (and why not mention My Fair Lady, which won Best Picture 50 years ago?). And the Original Song performances were quite strong (well, I went to the bathroom during “Lost Stars” and zoned out during “Grateful”, but the other three were great).

http://oscar.go.com/embed/VDKA0_z9yv315e

So really, a pretty mixed bag overall. Let’s go over the winners, see how accurate my predictions were, and discuss.

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Final Oscar Predictions

Best Picture:

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

It’s a tight race at this point. Birdman has all the guild awards. Boyhood has the Globe, BAFTA, and Critic’s Choice. Based on years past, that actually gives Birdman the edge, but Boyhood has been so roundly acclaimed it’s hard not to predict.

Then, last night, the Independent Spirit Awards gave Birdman Best Picture. And to me, that sealed the deal. If they didn’t pick Boyhood, the Academy isn’t likely to. The only hope for any other film is a split–but The Grand Budapest Hotel is the only possible result.

Will Win: Birdman

Could Win: Boyhood

Should Win: Birdman, Selma

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My 4th Annual Film Awards: The Voters Speak!

Alejandro Jodorowsky, where have you been all my life?

I asked, and you answered.

A week ago, this little poll of mine positively exploded in popularity after I spread the word on social media, which led Arnaud Trouvé (aka CineCharlie) to inform none other than Brontis Jodorowsky that he was up for my award! Not only that, but Sr. Jodorowsky proceeded to share the poll on his Facebook–both in English AND Spanish–leading to a massive influx of votes, many from Chile, the result of which was the best day this blog has ever seen–beating my previous best day by nearly 4 to 1.

Sr. Jodorowsky’s graciousness in doing so is a gesture I will not soon forget. And I want to thank everyone who voted–this has been a success beyond anything I could have imagined. I can only hope those who made their first visit will become regular viewers.

And now, your choices.

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