Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Scott Greene Workout

Among the pleasures in my adventures in archiving my assorted VHS tapes is finding bizarre footage of the incomparable Scott Greene. This clip was discovered on a tape featuring raw footage for several super short sketches for the intro of a failed Split Apple project entitled "Empty V." I should probably post the intro in its entirety at some point, but I found this particular bit of Scott glaring into the camera while squeezing his hand grip tool to be particularly hilarious/disturbing. I've obviously done just a touch of editing in presenting this clip out of context; in turn I've taken the liberty of listing this on Youtube as "a quick and basic workout to help lose some of those extra pounds, get your blood pumping and get your energy up." I'm hoping for some good hateful feedback for the misleading description, so if you feel inspired, hate away...

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar Picks

I guess i'm a little late in posting these, i mean being the day of the Oscar ceremony, but I feel I should go on record anyway. BTW - this isn't a list of my picks for who should win, only who I think will win.

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Wahlberg Yeah, yeah - Eddie Murphy's a shoe-in. But I tell you what's working against him besides those ubiquitous Norbit billboards and an ill-timed release of said film, it's his reclusivity. If he does win, it will because of all those early years of work in great films like 48 Hours and Trading Places. I don't think Eddie Murphy "plays the game" whereas Mark Wahlberg only "plays the game." Wahlberg gave an unexpectedly great performance and nearly steals each scene that he's in. I feel like Hollywood favors young actors in standout roles when they're still fresh in the game, but Wahlberg's been at it long enough to prove he's got chops and personality to stick around for a long time to come. Murphy is likely goingt o abandon further dramatic roles for the time being to do classy fare such as "Daddy Day Care 2" or another installment on "The Haunted Mansion."

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson This one is a shoe-in for 'Dreamgirls.' Total rags-to-riches story and best supporting actress awards almost always go to newcomers. Don't ask me why, it just is.

Best Actor: Forest Whitaker Another guy here whose been around for a long-ass time busting his chops in supporting roles (anyone else remember him as "Jefferson" from 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High?') and here he's got a meaty, larger-than-life role that's based on historical fact. I hate to play the race card but I think his blackness will help him out on this one, too. Leo may be an upset but I doubt it, and O'Toole just got an honorary oscar two years ago.

Best Actress: Helen Mirren Everyone's said this one's a lock and it really looks that way. Helen Mirren's been doing the acting thing since the '70s and has always done outstanding work, but little of it in American cinema. Regardless, i'm sure she's getting some votes split towards Meryl Streep, but they won't be enough to make a dent in 'The Queen.'

Best Director: Martin Scorcese Or at least it better be. I will cry if they don't give it to him; I will cry if they do. Either way, expect some waterworks from Muggy. But seriously, I was convinced that three years ago he was gonna get it for 'Gangs of New York' then two years ago he was a sure thing for 'Aviator' which Eastwood snagged away with 'Million Dollar Baby.' In both cases, it would have been a sympathy vote. This year, he deserves it for his great work in 'Departed' plus he just deserves it for all those years he's been snubbed ('Raging Bull,' 'Taxi Driver'). This will be our year, took a long time to come.

Best Picture: The Departed It's a tough year to pick best picture, though honestly, the last few years have had a number of unexpected winners (i.e., the heinous 'Crash' or the frivolous 'Shakespeare In Love'). But as the critics have rightly pointed out, not everyone loves on-screen violence like Scorcese or myself, so a lot of votes will go towards safer fare like 'Little Miss Sunshine' or 'Babel' but because of the weigth of the director's race leaning in Scorcese's favor, i'll go with 'Departed.'

I'll be the first to admit these predictions could go wrong for me, but generally i'm able to guess with approximately 80% accuracy. Speaking of which, anyone want to place any bets before the show begins? Come on now! Let's make some money!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chicane Rhames Eats

In my recent efforts to consolidate my VHS collection into bare essentials and archive my personal home videos, I found this piece of footage showcasing my pet snake devouring a large mouse. The snake was named Chicane Rhames - Chicane short for chicanery and Rhames after the actor Ving Rhames because he was so badass in the ubercool Pulp Fiction movie which had just come out (late 1994). You can hear my brother and then-girlfriend Jen Yarling briefly exchanging words before the mouse meets its grim fate. I've cut this down actually quite a bit - the raw footage spans roughly 20 minutes or so - and I found a piece of music which was approximately the same length as my edit: Nico's Chelsea Girls.

Chicane was a nefarious sort of creature. She (yes, it was a she) was very moody and was prone to wrap herself around the arm or neck of whomever was holding her. I remember a few times starting to fear for my life as i felt the blood rush to my head and my air flow was slowly cut off as she tightened her muscles around my neck. Chicane had also snapped at me a few times when i went to take her out of her cage. As you can see in this video, when the snake strikes it's very quick and violent and it's not fun to be on the receiving end of such a bite. After all, snakes got lots of little teeth! After two years of caring for the snake I found a new caretaker (aka sucker!) in my friend Lee Nachtigal. Apparently she struck at Lee a few times as well and so, after owning her for a year, she called the department of animal control and they took Chicane away. Where she is now is anyone's guess.

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