Thursday, December 14, 2006

Seven Golden Globe nominations a-swimming...
(Or, Finals? What finals?)

Today I must study, I must, I must. Tomorrow is the Criminal Law exam, and Torts loom on Monday's horizon. But - 'tis the season! AWARDS SEASON! And today was a big one. This morning the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the Golden Globe nominations!

This is when it all gets serious. This is when I start making checklists, a spreadsheet, figuring out which movies I've seen, calculating how many of the nominees I'll be able to see between now and the January ceremony, and determining if I'll see at least all the multiple nominees by then. Ooooooh, and it's all just leading up to the Oscars! I love the Oscars!

Right, I must study. But I had to pop on the TV this a.m. and I am proud to report that out of all the deserving nominees heralded before Hollywood and the world, I have seen exactly ONE film.

Gasp! What! Can it be true? I swear, I haven't been this out of the movie-watching loop since I lived in a bubble. I have lived in a bubble twice. Once in the summer of 1997 I was stranded on an embargoed island and during 1993 I lived in Utah. It's hard to say which place kept me more sheltered from reality. Anyway, the careful reader will recall that I spent the first half of this year in Korea, where I had to wait a while for English-language films to appear. I saw a bunch, but everyone knows most of the awards nominees don't come out in the first half of the year anyway. Then, I was in Boston for the summer, and believe you me I did some catching up at my old haunts the Kendall Cinema and the Somerville Theatre, the latter being where I saw the ONE GG-NOMINATED FILM I've actually seen: Thank You For Smoking. Which was brilliant. Pure genius. About this I have already ranted to many of you; if you haven't seen it you're missing out on many laughs and much satire, plus it packs a personal punch as well as a political. (how many personal punches can a political flick pack...?)

But just as I was getting in my cinematic groove, off to law school I went. And I have stepped foot in a movie theatre exactly once since then, on a somewhat unfortunate date.

Let's talk about going to the movies in Hempstead. Or rather, doing anything in Hempstead. Or on Long Island in general. Here's how it works. Got a car? You're in. Public transit? Sure, your typical Long Islander has ridden the train--into the City--once in his life--or to go to a Mets game or something...

In short, it's a pain. It is literally easier to go to the movies, go shopping, go to Borders, go to a restaurant, etc. in Manhattan than to go to one that is a ten-minute drive away on Long Island, land of parkways surrounded by expressways.

Now, this doesn't stop me, extremist for public transit that I am, from taking the Long Island Bus. I do it. I've had interesting experiences on it. But nor does it stop me from as often as not, hopping the Hofstra shuttle to the Hempstead station of the Long Island Railroad where I can train it into The City. Or bus it to Queens--that bus is 24 hours with frequent service! It's just the within-Nassau-County buses that don't do much for me. Then again, Long Island doesn't really do much for me in general. I am seriously debating whether to live one more year here or to move into The City next fall. That's assuming I don't fail out of law school of course, perhaps due to being too obsessed with Golden Globe nominees to study for my finals...

Ack, the nominees! There's so much going on. First of all, several of the nominees were already on my I-very-much-want-to-see radar: Sherrybaby, Babel, Bobby, The Departed, The Last King of Scotland, Blood Diamond, Little Miss Sunshine, Stranger Than Fiction... And I actually want to see Happy Feet, too, what with my love for penguins. The other animated nominees I will see grudgingly, what with my general hate for animated things, because I suspect Cars will win. Whatever, animation.

Anyway, then there are all the doubles! My goodness! Leo, competing against himself. Clint, competing against himself. What must that be like? And speaking of the directors, what's up with Robert Altman not getting nominated for A Prairie Home Companion, which was brilliant, and which I saw during my Boston catch-up phase, and which I still think the Oscar voters might honor since he died and all? And also speaking of directors, can we talk about how the foreign language films include a Mel Gibson movie and a Clint Eastwood movie? I mean, really. The whole foreign/foreign language thing is one of those weird things anyway, but man...Mel and Clint, getting in on the foreign category...and you think lawyers are sneaky?!

And here's the thing about Mel, and Apocalypto. Ancient Mayan? ANCIENT MAYAN? Are you serious? I just think that man needs a big ol' dose of get-over-yourself. It will be far down on my list, but I might have to see the flick for nomination reasons. Same reason I watched The P of the C. Aramaic. Ancient Mayan. What's next? Is he going to a make a movie in some "carefully researched" alien dialect? I wish he would hie himself to Kolob.

Of course I was already planning to see Borat, but I'm kind of excited about being the last person on my block to see it. I'm not a big fan of comedies unless they are REALLY funny. I hear this one is REALLY funny. Plus, it's satire, and packs a political punch. My favorite. One of the highlights of the nominations announcements was Jessica Biel reading the whole title in that careful-don't-stumble-don't-mess-up nomination-announcing style, Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Then, she smiled. Good on her!

As for Dreamgirls, wow, could it get a few more nominations? I've been touching the book but blowing it off, only now I'm intrigued. Also because Jennifer Hudson, one-time American Idol reject, was on NBC's Today show, and that's the network I watched this morning, so she was right there in their dressing room when she got the news she'd been nominated for best supporting actress for that film, and I kind of got caught up in the excitement. (Note: I've never seen American Idol, I just find it amusing that she got the boot and now she's all that anyway.)

And The Da Vinci Code... got nominated for score. Oh, Da Vinci. I totally blew off that one this summer. Purposely. Not just knowingly, recklessly, or negligently. (See, I'm going to pass my Crim Law final. I think.) Because I've been over The Da Vinci Code for some time. Since about a week after it came out. I totally got in on the ground floor through Borders and met Mr. Dan Brown about three days after the book released (that's a good story...later, later, though...) so I was the first one on my block to read it and yeah it was a page-turner and then I read his prior book Angels and Demons and I said, Oh. I see. He clearly has some software plot template, and just does find-and-replace all "Rome" with "Paris," and replace all "Vatican" with "Louvre" or whatever. Replace all Veronica--Victoria--whatever her name was--with "Sophie." I didn't bother devouring the rest of his oeuvre. And then, you know, I was in Korea when the movie was coming out and even over there everyone was all hopped up about "Da Binci Code." But then I came back to the U.S. and just couldn't be bothered, when I had such great alternatives like Wordplay, and Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont...

In the cinematic-yet-law-school spirit, last night I watched The Paper Chase. In a burst of fortunate timing, it was my latest Netflix arrival and I found it waiting in my mailbox when I came home yesterday after taking my Contracts final that morning. Well, you know, in the movie that is Kingsfield's class--Contracts! And those are real cases! The one with which he tortures Hart in the first scene on the first day of school is Hawkins v. McGee, the hairy hand case I despised so much back in September that upon reviewing over Thanksgiving break I determined still infuriates me!

Oh, you simply must go watch The Paper Chase. It's so -- true! Seriously. Harvard in the 70s, Hofstra today, whatever. The more things change... Oh, my, the scenes with the study group were just brilliant. Everyone is so obsessed with their outlines, instead of their knowledge. And I really felt for -- um -- what's-his-name. (I know, I know, "good ol' what's-his-name.") The suicidal one. Not because I am suicidal over law school; I'm far more likely to be the one who casts my grades into the ocean and climbs exuberantly atop a rock. But just because everyone was so mean to him because he wasn't quite measuring up. Measuring up to what? Their crap expectations? Then Ms. Girlfriend Thang sets our hero straight and he tells off Kingsfield...and the marathon study session in the hotel...oh, do watch it, do!

And then watch some Golden Globe nominees!

I'm off go to go learn something. Seven days until the finals are over and the serious moviegoing begins!!!

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