Monday, February 29, 2016

Dave-El Does Hollywood: Oscars 2016 - The Aftermath

You stumble out into the misty dawn of Los Angeles in the early hours of a Monday morning. Your expensive Oscar night gown is rumbled and is hanging off your shoulder. In one hand, you carry a pair of glittering high heeled sling backs, in the other an Oscar trophy. Oh yeah, you won big Sunday night! You got yourself an Oscar! Wow! The event of a lifetime! 

But...

It's all a bit of a blur. The heady rush on stage to accept the award. God, you hoped you thanked everybody...including God. Then there was the press and the flashing lights and then the after parties where you had a drink. 

Or twelve. 

And there may have been some drugs but who knows? 

Ouch! A pebble digs into your bare foot so you fumble with the high heels to get some shoes on your feet. 

Except the shoes are way too small for your feet. And wait a minute! You've never worn high heeled sling backs in your life! You clutch your chest, then your crotch! 

Oh hell! You're a dude! Jesus! What happened? How did you wind up in a Oscar gown from Vera Wang? Whose shoes are these? And that Oscar trophy....that name on the trophy...oh no! OH NO! It can't mean what you think! It can't! It...

Your head swirls and you fall unconscious to the hard ground. 

What happened to you? We may never know. But we do know who won at last night's Oscars so let's see how I did compare to my picks in yesterday's post

If I get the first choice, I award myself 1 point. If the winner is my back up choice, I award myself 1/2 point. If I didn't get it at all, I roll myself into a ball and cry myself to sleep because I really put way too much self esteem on the line for this silly game. 


Best Supporting Actor                    
First Choice: Sylvester Stallone, Creed 
Back Up: Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Actual Winner: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Excuse me but...what the hell? Dude! The fix was in! Sly was gonna get his Oscar for playing Rocky! This was a done deal, Mr. Mark Rylance! Who are you, anyway? Why does either Supporting Actor or Actress trip me up every damn year?!?!

Best Supporting Actress 
First Choice: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl 
Back Up: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Actual Winner: Alicia Vikander

Best Original Screenplay
First Choice: Spotlight                                                            
Back Up: Straight Outta Compton
Actual Winner: Spotlight 

Best Adapted Screenplay         
First Choice: The Big Short                                                    
Back Up: The Martian
Actual Winner: The Big Short    

Best Actress
First Choice: Brie Larson, Room
Back Up: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Actual Winner: Brie Larson 

Best Actor
First Choice: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant   
Back Up: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Actual Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio 

Best Director 
First Choice: Alejandro G Inarritu, The Revenant         
Back Up: Adam McKay, The Big Short   
Actual Winner:  Alejandro G Inarritu

Best Picture    
First Choice: The Revenant
Back Up: The Big Short  
Actual Winner: Spotlight

Best Animated Feature Film        
First Choice: Inside Out
(Don't let me down, Pixar. I didn't make a back up choice!)
Actual Winner: Inside Out     

By the way, if you're looking for some insight into the show itself, you will have to go elsewhere. I actually didn't watch. I did catch Chris Rock's monologue which dealt with the lack of diversity issue head own by calling out that it's really a thing to be concerned about but also putting it in perspective.
  
Chris Rock: "It’s not fair that Will Smith was this good and didn’t get nominated. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West." 

You know who will have a really well written and insightful review of this year's Oscars? My buddy* Ken Levine. Click this link to his blog.

*No actual "buddy" status exists here. 

I knew going in that Best Picture was going to be tricky but as always its a Supporting Acting category that trips me up.  

Final score: 78%. Basically, I got my Oscar predicting ass handed to me for sure this year. I decided to roll the dice on tradition and go with The Revenant but I was still torn between making either Spotlight or The Big Short my back up choice. At one point, I actually had my first choice and back up picks at The Big Short and Spotlight. At any rate, despite the dramatic intensity of Spotlight's subject matter, I really thought that if anyone knock the Revenant out from Best Picture, I thought it would be The Big Short. Well, what do I know?  

I think I used to use more categories in my Oscar picks. It's hard to get above 90% with just 9 awards. I may need to widen out the base to at least 1 more award for next year.   

Maybe one year, I'll actually do some REAL research and go see the freakin' movies for a change.

I'll be back with a new post for tomorrow. In the meantime, remember to be good to one another.   

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dave-El Does Hollywood: Oscars 2016 - The Picks



Hi there! Dave-El here and welcome to a special edition of I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You as I engage in one of my favorite sports, picking the winners for this year's Oscars (and this is the tricky part) without actually seeing ANY of the nominated films (except one).  

Now if this seems like a sad, pathetic exercise, well, it is. But I am nonetheless looking forward to this. 

These guesses are not based on my personal experience of seeing these movies but rather on my reading and research of various entertainment news sources. This is not about who should win but what the buzz is on who is going to win.

Each year I make picks based on 9 categories. 
I make a main selection and if I’m correct, I award myself 1 point. I do allow myself a back up pick and if that one wins, I give myself ½ point.  My goal is to do 90% or better.

Yes, I have a goal! Sad and pathetic? I know! But it's a goal! 

What happens if I make this goal? 

...

...

I make the goal! YAY! 

All right, as the finger said to the nose, let's get to pickin'! 
                     
                                             
Best Supporting Actor                    
First Choice: Sylvester Stallone, Creed 
Back Up: Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Sly was up for Best Actor playing Rocky 39 years ago and lost. There's a strong sentimental appeal to see Stallone finally win an Oscar for playing Rocky...even if it is for the only white role in the entire film. (Awkward!) I have absolutely no good reason to make Mark Ruffalo my back up choice other than he makes an awesome Hulk.   


Best Supporting Actress 
First Choice: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl                  
Back Up: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
  • This one is considered a close call but more often than not, Alicia Vikander seems to be at the top of various lists for winning this award. I think any push behind Kate Winslet is owing to a desire to see Kate and Leo together again back stage with the respective Oscars. But Steve Jobs really disappointed upon release and through the awards season. 


Best Original Screenplay
First Choice: Spotlight                                                            
Back Up: Straight Outta Compton
  • I mentioned before that Straight Outta Compton might win based solely on white liberal guilt. Except the screenplay was written by white people. Still, I'll give it a slight edge as a back up. But it looks like most of the momentum is going towards Spotlight.   


Best Adapted Screenplay             
First Choice: The Big Short                                                    
Back Up: The Martian
  • There seemed to be a lot of mainstream excitement for The Martian and it looked like come Oscar time, we might have a contender for Best Picture that had actually been seen by some people. Then Leo gets raped by a bear and The Martian gets relegated to Best Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes and any and all respect for this Matt Damon feature goes out the window and no sciencing the shit out of anything can save it now. I'm throwing it a bone as a back up choice but all the buzz is around The Big Short for getting the nod for Best Adapted Screenplay.   


Best Actress
First Choice: Brie Larson, Room
Back Up: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Jennifer Lawrence delivers one of those "actor gets to age and grow over time" performances that the Academy loves but been there, done that. Not a lot of joy for Jenn this year. But Brie has been cleaning up on the awards circuit this year for a very demanding and unique role. I think Brie should make room on her shelf for an Oscar.  


Best Actor
First Choice: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant   
Back Up: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Oh like we need a back up this year. Leo's name is already engraved on the damn thing.  


Best Director 
First Choice: Alejandro G Inarritu, The Revenant         
Back Up: Adam McKay, The Big Short 
  • Much like the man raping bear in the Revenant, director Alejandro G Inarritu is a veritable force of movie directing nature, collecting award after award leading up to the Oscars. He won this thing last year but will the Academy make it two in a row? It's hard to deny that what makes The Revenant as good as it is (so I've been told; remember, haven't seen any of these) is the Inarritu's work behind the camera. I will give the back up slot to Adam McKay because there does seems to be a bit of a groundswell for The Big Short.   


Best Picture    
First Choice: ?????
Back Up: ?????

OK, we've got a big problem here.  Because there appear to be three (yes, THREE!) contenders for Best Picture this year.   
Whoever is likely to win Best Director, odds were good that the director’s movie would win for Best Picture. It isn't always a lock but it happens more often than not.  Look at the last 10 years.

1. Best Picture: Birdman      
Best Director: Alejandro G Inarritu, Birdman   
2. Best Picture: 12 Year A Slave
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity           
3. Best Picture: Argo
Best Director: Ang Lee, Life of Pi    
(Argo’s director, Ben Affleck, was NOT nominated at all)  
4. Best Picture: The Artist         
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
5. Best Picture: The King’s Speech 
Best Director: Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech 
6. Best Picture: The Hurt Locker 
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
7. Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
8. Best Picture: No Country For Old Men 
Best Director: Joel and Ethan Cohen, No Country For Old Men                                     
9. Best Picture: The Departed
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Departed  
10. Best Picture: Crash 
Best Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain  

7 out of 10 times, Best Picture and Best Director lined up. Of the 3 times, they didn’t line up, one occurred where the director of the Best Picture wasn’t even nominated. And given Ben Affleck’s run of director wins at several awards prior to that year’s Oscars, there’s a good chance he would’ve won Best Director had he been nominated.

Lots of precogstinators have gone with this Best Director leads to Best Picture safe bet. And there's nothing wrong with that. Again, haven't seen the movie but everything I've heard suggests this is a powerful movie.  

But several sources I researched for this post did not seem to consider The Revenant a contender for Best Picture or even as a secondary choice. Most of the buzz for Best Picture seems to be flowing in the direction of The Big Short. This is a film about the financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 that was triggered by the overheated housing market and the overextended credit bubble. It would seem like a dry subject for a movie but it has some significant relevance. We are currently in a Presidential election cycle to elect a new President following a President at the end of his 2nd term, just as we were in 8 years ago. And concerns over the economy run particularly high during Presidential election years and indeed, recent downturns in the stock market owing the bottoming out of oil prices is creating a great deal of volatility and unease in the financial market. That bell you hear ringing is the same one that was clanging away 8 years ago. So The Big Short’s history lesson in high finance has caught the current cultural zeitgeist. (Oh, I love it when I get to work “zeitgeist” into a blog post.) 

But surely The Revenant would be a solid 2nd choice. But nipping at The Big Short is another film that addresses a scandal in recent history, the outing of the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by Catholic priests. 

So I've seen lots of predictions with no clear pattern. 
  • The Revenant will beat Spotlight.
  • Spotlight edges out The Big Short for the win. 
  • The Big Short goes long and beats the Revenant for Best Picture. 


There is no clear consensus from my various media resources. So I'm going to take this on the chin and roll the dice and stuff.  

Best Picture    
First Choice: The Revenant
Back Up: The Big Short  

Really, all the buzz seems to be leaning towards The Revenant for Best Picture. And when in doubt, use history as a guide. 

And that (sigh!) concludes my predictions for this year's Oscars. I'm hoping Chris Rock brings his A-game as host, particularly so he can tear into #OscarsSoWhite. That should be fun.  

Oh, I almost forgot...

Best Animated Feature Film        
First Choice: Inside Out    
I'm sorry, I seriously don't have a back up. This post has gone on too long and I've lost the will to live or to care about such things. 

I'll be back with a post tomorrow to see how I did. Until then, remember to be good to one another. 


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Let's Poke Angry America With a Stick


I gotta tell you, I love politics. And when I say “I love politics”, I mean that in the same way you might say “I love horror games” or “I love slasher flics”. All these have in common the opportunity to witness such a plethora of ways to destroy and be destroyed.


All eyes are on the American Presidential race and particularly the clusterfuck that are the Republican primaries. In case you haven’t noticed, the guy the Republicans really, really don’t want to win this thing… is winning this thing. After coming in 2nd in Iowa, Donald Trump has won three states in a row. And not by some kind of squeaky just under the wire type of margin but really wide margins. Dare I say it, Donald’s margins of victory have been HUGE.  And looking ahead at the next dozen or so states set to vote, Donald’s currently polling ahead of the other GOP candidates in most of them.


How is this happening? Well, you know how in horror stories where the gang of teenagers happen upon some kind of gruesome creature. it's quiet. It's still. it's probably dead, right? Let's poke it with a stick.

"No, don't poke it with a stick!" But who listens to you?

POKE! Nothing.

And you're yelling at these morons, "No, run the other way!"

But they don't listen. They poke it again but it doesn't move. And they laugh as they poke it again. Nope, it's-

YEEEEEEARRRFGGGHHHHHH!

And the creature eats the teenagers. Except for the blonde with the big tits who spends the rest of the movie running away from the creature.

Republicans have put themselves in this mess. They’ve been stoking the anger of its base for years in a blind effort to obtain and maintain political power. Always poking at the anger.

Anger at the “failures” of government. POKE!

Anger at the “anti-American actions” of Democrats. POKE!

Anger at Obama for daring to exist. POKE! POKE! POKE!

What Donald Trump has done is not just poke at that anger with a stick but internalized that anger, making it his and giving voice to an entire constituency. You’re mad as hell at the way things are? Donald Trump is even MADDER than hell and his anger is HUGE and his solutions to all that anger will be AWESOME! It’s a message of rage and hate and ignorance and damned if it isn’t working. It’s working on a demographic that’s been primed for this for the last two decades. Trump is just swooping in taking full advantage of that market. 


So what happens next? Well….


  1. We get President Trump. No, I just can’t….I can’t even…no. Just…. No.
  2. Trump gets the GOP nomination but gets romped and stomped by Hillary. Or Bernie but that’s looking less likely. Sorry, Bern. 
  3. Trump gets to the Republican convention with the majority of votes but somehow someone (Marco Rubio? But he's so cute and tiny!) has more delegates and gets the nomination. Trump goes all gonzo volcano eruption on how the GOP rules have thwarted the will of the voters and well, it’s just a mess.
  4. Somehow, Trump gets derailed before getting to the Republican convention but let’s face it. Whoever goes out there as the face of the GOP with the nomination is going to have to answer for the majority of a party that supported various racist, hate filled, ignorant statements and proposals.


Even a best case scenario sees a damaged and broken Republican Party stumbling into November and likely defeat to take the White House. And you can blame it on Donald Trump if you want but Trump's only taking advantage of the GOP marketplace he found there. 


And the Republican Party is continuing to damage itself without Trump’s help.  Over in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to hold firm and double down on the commitment that the Senate will not meet to review any nominee President Obama puts forth to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

As I covered this before, there is so much wrong with this scenario and really precious little to gain from such actions other than just taking advantage of yet another excuse for Mitch McConnell and his ilk to be shitty towards Obama one more time.

Here's the thing: all those angry people powering Donald Trump's crusade? Probably not big fans of Obama.

BUT...

They're also not big fans of politicians playing games instead of getting shit done. McConnell and his cohorts dicking around with the Supreme Court is just the sort of thing that has a tendency to blow up back in everyone's faces. Yeah, you gain a short term "win" by fucking with Obama again but what about the long term "loss" that comes with fucking with the American people? It's this sort of behavior that really fuels the rage of the angry electorate against the whole political system.

All in all, the Republican Party laid out the welcome mat for someone like Donald Trump and he saw the opportunity. And it was HUGE!

By the way, if you thought I was going to let a politically themed post go by without taking a knock at Ted Cruz, I think I'm going to let The Onion* do the heavy lifting on that today.

*Amended, 02/27/2016, 6:45 PM: Oh, speaking of The Onion, yesterday's blog had a link to a very amusing Onion feature...that didn't work. I have since fixed the link to that article in yesterday's post. 
Or you can use the link here. Really, I think it's a hilarious piece.  

Everyone, be good to one another. I'll be back tomorrow with my breathlessly awaited last minute picks for Sunday night's Oscars.

Dave-El
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You 


Friday, February 26, 2016

FLAMINGO!

Hi there! I'm Dave-El, a famous blogger and it must be true because I just wrote that I'm a famous blogger and I wouldn't write that I'm a famous blogger unless I am a famous blogger. And this is my famous blog, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

But first....

FLAMINGO!!!!






























Today's post is brought to you by Flint MI Gurgling Spring Water, a refreshing drink infused with minerals and metals and it comes in a rainbow of different colors. That's Flint MI Gurgling Spring Water: taste the lead, feel the love. 

(Yes, I'm several weeks behind the curve with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. But I never let a good joke go to waste. Or, in this case, a bad one.)  

If all has gone as I hope, as this post goes live on Friday, I will be at work for the 5th damn day in a row! Oh hell yeah! As long time readers of this blog know, I spent the better part of 4 weeks cooped up here in the Fortress of Ineptitude with an illness of ever increasing intensity before culminating with pneumonia. The pneumonia failed to kill me but has sworn vengeance against me and my little dog too. 

(But I don't have a little dog...)  

And now.....

FLAMINGO!!!!




















Yesterday, I posted another one of those damn Ted Cruz Is a Lying Fuck Bastard posts. I know, I know, you're getting tired of them. I'm getting tired of them! But Ted lies SO much and I'm not the only one concerned about this. 











That was in response to last night's GOP debate where NOBODY came off looking like less than an embarrassment. Wait, did Ben Carson actually ask for someone to attack him? Does this replace Jeb Bush's "Please clap" as most pathetic thing ever in this race? 

Anyway, Ted Cruz was up there with his smug, sanctimonious face still spouting his usual platitudes about how awful Obamacare is. It was disappointing that no one asked him about the Flint MI water crisis. (Hey, that comes around again!) Seems there's a bill in the Senate to provide emergency aid to the people of Flint. Guess who's holding it up from a vote? Go on, guess! 

So I'm determined to bang this drum until Ted Cruz is no longer running for President. Granted, he'll still be a Senator from Texas which I'm sure will yield more opportunities for Ted Baby to lie some more but once he's not running for Prez, I'll give these posts a rest.  

With these posts, I link to actual news stories to back up the accounts of Ted's various deceptions and truth mangling. Yesterday, I deviated a bit by linking to a story on The Onion, the satirical news site. Yes, I know Ted Cruz campaign signs are not REALLY killing plant life, OK? (But it SEEMS like it would be true, doesn't it?) 

On the subject of the Onion and in an effort to fill some space in today's post, I want to link to this feature* which I dare say is the one of the funniest things I've ever read. I highly recommend it. 

*Blogger's note, 02/27/2016: the link works now.

Unless you're fighting an upper respiratory infection of some kind. Wait until you can breathe a bit more easily.  (Seriously, it's that funny.)  

Wait!


I think someone said....


FLAMINGO!!!!























The Oscars are this weekend and Sunday's post will present my picks for who will win what in 9 crucial categories. This selection process is made more impressive in that I've seen only 1 nominated film. 

No Doctor Who post this weekend but I'll be back the week after that. Given the long lull with no new episodes this year except for the Christmas special, I'm thinking of posting some fan fiction. (Which, I understand, may be construed as a threat.)  More on that as I work out the details.   

So I think I've spun my wheels here enough for today. Hope your Friday goes well. I'll be back with another post tomorrow. Until then, remember to be good to one another.  

But before we go....

FLAMINGO!!!!




Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ted Cruz Is a Lying Fuck Bastard - Part 6

Greetings, my blog reading friend. I'm Dave-El and I welcome you to my blog, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You. 

Today is another part of my ongoing series of posts examining the statements of one of the candidates for US President, taking a measured and scholarly review of this particular individual's expressions in speeches, debates and comments to the media and looking deep into the meanings of words and the very concepts of truth itself. I call this series of posts...
























This past Saturday saw Ted Cruz come in 3rd place in the South Carolina Republican primary. It was a narrow loss to 2nd place finisher Marco Rubio and a more decisive one to Donald Trump. But a loss of any kind in South Carolina is still considered bad news for Cruz. South Carolina was described as tailor made for Cruz with its strong conservative pro-gun evangelical presence. The failure to not take at least 2nd in this state and make more inroads against Trump in South Carolina shows the limits of Cruz's appeal, even to the very demographic his campaign is modeled on for its strongest appeal.  

Cruz came in third in Nevada with an even more commanding win by Donald Trump. Oddly, Trump is snatching away all the pious evangelicals that Cruz thought would flock to him. Also the poorly educated. (Trump loves the poorly educated.)  

But Ted Cruz is still in there swinging and doing what he does best, blaming others. Cruz lamented of his GOP opponents in an interview with CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "They scream, 'Liar, liar, liar,' they impugn your integrity, they attack your character."

For more on that story, click here.  

By the way, here is a snap shot of some of the comments posted in response to this story. 
























By the way, whoever added the baby to Ted's face? Great job! 

In the wake of the South Carolina primary loss, Ted Cruz made news for "asking for the resignation" of his communications director Rick Tyler. Apparently Tyler was the one Cruz was throwing under the bus for a video reportedly showing Marco Rubio mocking the Bible. Not true. I'm wondering why the specific phrasing "asking for the resignation" instead of "fired his ass"

I think Cruz's rep for lies and dirty tricks are actually starting to hurt Cruz with the evangelicals he's seeking to court. Just as this regular series of blog posts I do here show, deception is a continual narrative for Cruz, one that I think is starting to seep through to Cruz's target demographic. I guess these voters prefer Trump's blunt insults to Cruz's sneaky deceptions. 

Anyway, no one seems to be buying Ted's big show of integrity by "asking for the resignation" of this communications director. The consensus seems to be Rick Tyler is Ted's sacrificial scapegoat to make Ted look better.

For more on this story, click here

_______________________________


Something Ted Cruz loves to do is stir up a controversy that doesn't even exist. For example, get a load of the Texas senator's attempt to set up a false bogeyman when he said the Supreme Court is “one justice away” from ordering that crosses on tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery be torn down.

Nobody is even asking the court to do such a thing. And in fact, the group that sought removal of a cross from formerly federal land in the Mojave Desert — losing the 5-4 decision to which Cruz referred — strongly supports crosses and other religious symbols on government-issued headstones at Arlington and other military cemeteries.

____________________________________

Or how about this: At the debate on 02/06/2016 during Ted Cruz’s turn to speak, he started by cataloging the alleged evils of “socialized medicine.” Here’s the full quote:
Socialized medicine is a disaster. It does not work. If you look at the countries that have imposed socialized medicine, that have put the government in charge of providing medicine, what inevitably happens is rationing. You have a scarcity of doctors. ... And that means the elderly are told: We're going to ration a hip replacement; we're going to ration a knee replacement. We're going to ration end-of-life care.
Every single sentence in that quote is misleading or flat-out false. 

For more on that story and the detail analysis of each sentence in that statement, click here.  

It's stuff like this that leads Ted Cruz's opponents to say "Liar, liar, liar!" 

And it's stuff like this why we say....

TED CRUZ IS A LYING FUCK BASTARD

Thank you for coming by the blog.....


Hold on! One more thing. Sorry, couldn't resist. 


Scientists Warn All Plant Life Dying Within 30-Yard Radius Of Ted Cruz Campaign Signs 




















And for more about THAT, click here

Now...

Thank you for coming by the blog today. Remember to be good to one another and I'll be back with another post tomorrow. 

We Have App(liance)s For That

Hi there!  Things are  bit cooler outside ye olde Fortress of Ineptitude. A cold front is moving through which brought some snowfall which...