Saturday, February 23, 2008

More Mary, Oscars and the Burt-a-Thon

One of these days the Siren will blog about something and find out that John McElwee hasn't already covered it. Wonderful piece here on Mary Astor. Operator_99 also had two rare, lovely pictures of Astor. And James Wolcott jumps into the fray to say that while there is no excuse for Mary's perm in The Maltese Falcon, the rest of her was perfect.

It's Oscar weekend, and the Siren will of course be watching the show, at the grand Brooklyn abode of two fellow film bloggers. Her enjoyment will not be lessened by the fact that she hasn't seen any of the Best Picture nominees. Nope, not one. Bad, yes, very bad, but you see, The Woman in the Window was re-released, and there was this Max Ophuls series at BAM, and...well, anyway. The Siren assures her readers that 2008 will find her keeping up more with this modern stuff. Friends like Girish and Filmbrain tell her some of the youngsters nowadays are quite talented.

If you want a roundup from someone who got out of the house in 2007, Dennis Cozzalio has an excellent post that gathers up all the reading on the awards that you could possibly want. If it's live-blogging you want, Oscar obsessive Nathaniel R is the perfect choice. And don't forget to track the Supporting Actress race with Stinky Lulu.

The balloting for Goatdog's Oscar contest has, alas, closed but he's also blogging away about his Oscar obsessions, and has his own maverick prediction for what will win on Sunday. The Siren didn't vote in the contest but perhaps she should have. Oscar-winning has this weird disconnect from actual films, and not seeing anything might actually give you enough objectivity to predict the strange ways the voting turns.

Over at Newcritics, Robert Stein looks at Lindsay aping Marilyn and says enough, already, with photographing tinsel and trying to tell us it's gold. The Siren empathizes in a big way (although his personal connection no doubt makes it that much worse). Marilyn gets it worse than anybody, poor soul, as the Siren once noted here. But there are others, too, and all of them give her the shrieking blue fantods. Stop, please, just stop it. Find your own glamor and leave our memories alone.

Finally, are you keeping up with Larry Aydlette's Burt-a-Thon, in which we get 30 days of Burt Reynolds? Larry went through two incarnations, as That Little Round-Headed Boy and the Shamus, before finally revealing himself as the uncommonly knowledgeable entertainment editor of The Palm Beach Post. This series is the best thing he has done yet, and that is no small praise. Reynolds has become a way for Larry to re-examine, resurrect and otherwise rectify the critical literature on a whole section of 70s cinema, what one part of the public was adoring while the highbrows watched the Easy Riders and Raging Bulls. It does what all good blogging should do--gives you a perspective you aren't getting from the mainstream. The Siren has been eating it up. Start here and work your way back, or start here and work forward, it's a must either way.

10 comments:

surlyh said...

Not having not seen the nominees either, I'll be watching the awards as pure show. Seeing as how I perennially find the actual awards part of the spectacle absurd or wrongheaded, this won't bother me in the sightest. I'm rooting for good clips, and for the occaisional good speech. Silly me. Even with my usual low expectations I'm sure I'll be disappointed.

Campaspe said...

well, now I feel a bit better as I consider you pure cinephile and neither of us managed to stagger to the cineplex, even for the Coens and PTA. Speaking of good clips -- recent years had seen a HUGELY annoying trend toward preview-style montages for the best picture nominees. The last couple of years they showed actual scenes and that alone made the show much better.

I love the outfits too but stylists have ruined that for us--everything's so tasteful now. Bleh. Thank god for Cher, I say.

goatdog said...

Bogart said that the only way to compare actors would be to have everyone play Hamlet and pick the best one. Along those lines, I think tomorrow night everyone should wear The Green Dress from Atonement, including Jon Stewart. That would spice up the ceremony.

(Surlyh! Haven't seen you around in a while. Coming to Odd Man Out next week? It's on 35mm!)

Jonathan Lapper said...

Not seen even one? Well, I've had a few years like that before. This year's pretty close as of the five nominees I've only seen No Country and There Will Be Blood.

However, Campaspe and Surlyh, there is one category where you can see all five nominees before the show. Thanks to YouTube, for the first time in my life I have seen all the shorts nominated for the Oscar. And most of them are terrific. I loved "Even Pigeons Go to Heaven", nominated for Animated Short Subject. But they're all good. Give them a look if you have some time.

Larry Aydlette said...

Siren, thanks for the kind words and the link-up. I love that you haven't seen any of the pictures. I shouldn't admit it, but I just haven't been able to drag myself to see There Will Be Blood. But I hear it's got something to do with bowling. And milkshakes.

surlyh said...

Jonathan Lapper- Thanks. I believe that the Film Center here in Chicago screens Oscar nominees for animation and possibly short subjects and more every year, so I have no excuses.

Goatdog- Hey. I'm embarrassed at how long it has been. Of late I've been a stranger to many old haunts. Hmmm...haven't seen Odd Man Out for a number of years, and 35mm does sound inviting...

Campaspe, Sorry. I'll stop chatting on your blog now...

Campaspe said...

Chat away. I love Odd Man Out.

Peter said...

No cable or on-air tv, so I'll be watching Renoir's Lower Depths tonight. I also keep imagining that part of the Oscarcast will feature Michelle Williams introducing herself as Mrs. Norman, er Mrs. Heath Ledger.

surlyh said...

Watched the big 80th Academy Awards show last night, and two things especially irked my inner film buff: After host Stewart's gag about watching Lawrence of Arabia on his i-phone, they went and cropped the clips of all the previous best film winners...And that in a broadcast supposedly honoring the history of the Awards, some ingrate felt compelled to make a joke at the expense of Sunrise and it's credits. Clearly the yahoo never saw, or worse, didn't appreciate the attempt at universality in "A song of two humans". This over-employed writer obviously didn't even bother to google the title, as the very first "user" on IMDb says: I have no words. This is cinema. This is not a story, this is not a plot. This is THE STORY, this is THE PLOT. Murnau can describe the human beings, the men, the women and the fast blind society. The woman of the city seems to be a post-modern nosferatu. She is a vampire, she moves like Dracula, she is like a witch around a tree. This film holds the tragedy and the comedy, the laughing and the crying. "Sunrise" doesn't belong to the past, but It belongs to the story, to the time. Sunrise, yes...the sunrise of the modern cinema waiting for "Citizen Kane".

But this year the torture did seem to move more briskly than usual, and I did take pleasure in Once beating the Disney machine for best song.

Campaspe said...

Surly, you read my mind. See my thoughts above. The wonderful man who was hosting the party I attended almost swallowed his wineglass when that one came up.