Monday, January 31, 2005

Of all the Oscar flicks I’ve downloaded, the only one I’ve had a chance to watch thus far was Million Dollar Baby. It’s not really that complicated of a premise, as a washed-up boxing trainer whose daughter has abandoned him years ago runs a gym with his friend, an ex-boxer who actually lives at the gym. A girl comes in and wants the trainer to take her on, and after first shooting her down because she’s a girl and she’s too old, the grizzled boxing vet gets not only a new boxer under his wing but a daughter.

The storyline, which is pretty much like any other boxing movie for the first three-quarters, is helped by the actors director Clint Eastwood brought in to help out his cause: himself, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. All three of them are up for awards, as well as the movie. How does it stand up to the (limited) opponents I’ve seen thus far?

Best Picture

The only other Best Picture candidate I’ve seen yet is Sideways, as I’ve yet to plunge into the 146 minutes of The Aviator or the goodness I’m anticipating to be Ray and Finding Neverland. As well done as the movie is, the ending just kills you. SPOILER ALERT – Stop reading this paragraph and skip to the next if you don’t want to know the ending. Hilary Swank’s character ends up boxing the dirty-fighting champion, and is kicking the crap out of her when a cheap-shot after the bell rings drops Swank onto the stool in her corner and paralyzes her. Danny and I actually called it while watching it, only a round too early. Somehow, the rehabilitation home Swank is in doesn’t take care of her well enough and she has her leg amputated, and she asks Eastwood to kill her. After seriously considering the tough decision, he does and then disappears.

I understand not all movies are supposed to be happy-go-lucky, and I accept that, but they’re not supposed to be this out-of-nowhere depressing. Sideways isn’t conclusive and doesn’t leave you with a firm sense of happiness, but despite that, you enjoyed the ride. After two picks, my Best Picture rankings look like this, and of course they are subject to change:

1) Sideways
2) Million Dollar Baby

However, and this is a huge however, any movie that has Morgan Freeman narrating should, under most circumstances, always win. Tom Hanks cut him down back in ’94 by besting Shawshank, but does Giamatti have the stuff to upset him again?

Best Actor

I haven’t seen Ray yet, and Sean has, so I’m just going to concede this space to my roomie, and Oscar expert, Sean Pietrini:

“I really liked Eastwood, but I didn’t think it was anything sensational. I’d still go with Foxx, and popular opinion is now favoring him, so that’s seeming like the better choice.”

Sounds good enough to me, and I may get a chance to watch Ray tonight.

Best Actress

I don’t even know whose nominated besides Annette Benning and Swank, and Sean says Swank is getting more heavily favored as the time goes on, so why not. She puts on a solid accent and is very likeable and somewhat annoying at the same time. She doesn’t (can’t?) do much the last quarter of the movie, but we can’t fault her for that.

Best Supporting Actor

I’m a little biased here, because my better judgment telling me that Foxx did so much more in Collateral than Freeman did in Baby, how do you root against Morgan Freeman when the man has never won an Oscar? Plus, amount of time you’re onscreen kind of got thrown out the window when Judi Dench won for a five-minute cameo in Shakespeare In Love.

I’m not sure if the ending of Collateral will hurt Foxx too badly, as it sort of just spins out of control. He doesn’t do badly in it, but I’m not sure how he’s nominated for Supporting Actor when he splits the show with Tom Cruise. If he’s going to win for Best Actor, I can’t possibly imagine him winning both, but that would be quite the accomplishment. I say Freeman edges him out slightly, playing the half-blind, hobo-ish gym manager who also manages to perfectly narrate the movie in a way only Morgan Freeman can.

What’s that, you say? Clive Owen is nominated for Closer? Fantastic, then I know how to perfectly end my list:

1) Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
2) Jamie Fox, Collateral
5) Clive Owen, Closer

And yes, I’m being quite harsh after only watching Closer once, but it’s some sort of disgrace that a cheap, verbal porno could win an Academy Award.


I'm very excited that I'll be getting a Super Bowl XXXIX t-shirt after Chrissy spends the weekend in what is apparently not-so-beautiful Jacksonville, FL to watch her Patriots play in their third Super Bowl in four years. I'll post an article Katie sent me about her hometown sometime closer to Sunday, but apparently it's going to be a fun time for everyone involved, especially with road construction being a year behind.

The reason I've been avoiding talking about the Super Bowl until this point, besides the fact I didn't talk about anything for four days, was that I really didn't want to bring up TO, because it seems to be the most ridiculous thing going right now with the "Will he be able to, won't he be able to?". Let's just say I would be highly surprised if Owens can play at a 100% level for the big game Sunday, and even if he can, do you really think it'll make a difference after the Patriots stop Marvin Harrison and Plaxico Burress in consecutive weeks?


There's going to be an extended post about the beauty of Arrested Development coming up, along with love for The Office and the next couple months of The OC, which I'm feeling could either be absolutely fantastic or completely disastrous depending on how they promote/tease/execute a few angles. I'm just plotting out the next week or so of bloggings.


Oh, Edgerrin James just said that if the Colts let him go, he'll be heading to the Miami Dolphins. And we still have the Number Two draft pick, so things aren't looking too bad to start the Nick Saban area.

And come next year, after the Colts don't win the Super Bowl (again) and people blame it on their defense and not Manning (again), I'd like to point back to the fact they spent the money to sign all five of their skill players to contract extensions. When the Ravens won the Super Bowl, they spent all of their money on defense and resigned themselves to a bad offense. If the Colts are going to play it like this, then just resign themselves to a defense that won't shut anybody out and just outscore people.


Mike Wilbon is doing PTI from Jacksonville and has a stocking cap on. They're in freaking Florida!!!!!!!

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