The 2017 Siddos

Oscar Schmoscar! 

Nobody cares about that antiquated three-hour celebration of fuddy-duddies and their cold clammy takes on movies anymore! Roll with the times…it’s time for an awards show that gets that you’re too busy.

It’s the 2017 Siddos! Put your hands together for The Chats!

Shouldn’t take more than ten minutes, and none of that wrong envelope shit either! Plus, we are NOT trying to milk the suspense here. Here are all the winners:

    Best movie: Get Out
    Best Writer/Director: Jordan Peele, Get Out
    Best Man Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
    Best Woman Actor: Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread
    Best Male Scene Stealer – Lil Ren Howery- Get Out
    Best Female Scene Stealer – Allison Janney – I, Tonya
    Best Accent: James Franco, The Disaster Artist
    Best Cartoon: Coco
    Best Friendship: Lady Bird, Get Out
    • Best Soundtrack: Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Brandy, You’re A Fine Girl… 

    • Best Score: Phantom Thread

Regal AF 

    • Coolest Clothes: Phantom Thread

FRESH AF 

    Best Non-English movie: Okja
    Best Badass: Jeremy Renner, Wind River
    Best TV performance: Walton Goggins, Vice Principals (RUSSELL)

NSFW Language, worth it 

    Best Movie Theater: American Film Institute, Silver Spring
    Best Movie Snack: Chick-Fil-A strips (4 count)
    Best Sauce: Sweet & Spicy Sriracha
    Best Deal: AMC Stubs card=$5 Tuesday movie
    Best TV show : Vice Principals Season 2
    Best TV episode: Black Mirror, Hang the DJ
    Personal power rankings 2018: Jordan Peele, Jake Gylenhaal, The Rock, Issa Rae
    Lifetime Achievement Award: Owen Wilson

This is Owen’s third lifetime achievement Siddo! The man just keeps living life to the hilt and firing up this one-man academy. 

    Best Thing: Exposure of the dirty creeps working in the movies. Within a few years the movies being made will be more diverse and intelligent as a result of more women being able to get greater positions of power. Gonna be awesome.

Robin Williams Forever

I was loading my dirty clothes into a washer in the laundromat on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 95th Street one year ago today when I heard a brunette woman folding shirts a few feet to my left tell someone on the other end of her cell phone: “Yeah, he killed himself.” I couldn’t believe anybody could talk about someone they knew’s suicide in such a casual way. I was disgusted.

I walked outside the hot laundromat to the slightly less hot street to kill some time. I checked Twitter and realized that she had been talking about Robin Williams. I was surprised by how sad I felt suddenly.

I dragged my feet around the grey Manhattan evening and just kept thinking about his movies and how much they had meant to me. How he was the celebrity I always hoped to bump into in New York. How I had daydreamed of meeting him on the subway and how he would be insane and nice and just keep talking a mile a minute. He was such a tour de force.

My mom made me watch Dead Poet’s Society when I was 9. Hook when I was 11. Mrs Doubtfire soon after and I thought this guy is THE MAN. He’s invincible! Not that he was bulletproof, he wasn’t, but he gave zero f*cks. That was true invincibility. That was something the toughest guys couldn’t pull off. And Robin never started giving a f*ck even long after he wasn’t considered “cool” anymore. He still went at it with gusto. Full-tilt Williams. He just did not have a dim switch.

I saw so many of his flicks later on when I was a teenager and I was equally blown away by Good Morning Vietnam, The Fisher King, Awakenings, Death to Smoochy and Good Will Hunting among others.

A few days after Robin passed away, I started re-watching his movies. I noticed I never felt sad about his death for even one second while watching them. I think that’s unusual and incredible considering the circumstances. It’s probably because he is such a happy, alive, lovable, exuberant, squirrely bastard on screen that it’s just impossible to not be in the moment and feel awesome while watching his high wire act.

I found a 1984 movie called Moscow on the Hudson in my local library this past winter. When you need a joke loving, jazz playing, saxophone carrying, circus employed, happy-go-lucky, bearded Russian to defect to America in a Manhattan department store, you call Robin. So good. We never had a friend like him before.

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And the Oscar goes to

Spent Oscar evening how I spend every Oscar evening, watching old Youtube clips of Oscar speeches during the actual live event

Through my circuit of favorite Oscar speeches – Jamie Foxx, Russell Crowe, Matt & Ben, Cuba and more, I kept one ear on the 2015 festivities. The red carpet has always been ridiculously dollhouse and hard for me and my unfashionable brethren to watch, so yesterday my ears perked up when I heard people taking umbrage to the red carpet show & tell. Those people were mostly women in dresses worth more than my car. Not judging, but I was surprised.

#AskHerMore is a hashtag popularized to make Red Carpet “reporters” take heed to ask more important questions than what designer an actress is wearing. Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette talked about how Hollywood had to change this. I empathized because I could never have the patience to do a red carpet, but I also wondered who is that question being asked for? Is the suggestion that it’s sexist? Men don’t care one iota who designed a single actress’ dress. That, you can take as gospel. Also, the dresses don’t do as much for male hormones circa 2015 as they did in the 1940s. The entire fashion aspect of the show is done for women (consumers) and the labels. It has nothing to do with us! (red-blooded civilian males). It’s big business, and every woman in the world knows that.

I thought the #AskHerMore thing was similar to how Marshawn Lynch or other athletes have been thinking in the recent past. Remember him getting in trouble for wearing his own hat at the Superbowl presser? And him saying he wanted to wear his own shoes? And refusing to answer questions. That’s because he got annoyed with the fact that someone else was profiting over what he was forced to wear. That seems like a possible cause here, actresses essentially feeling like they are walking the world’s most viewed catwalk, and not being compensated with anything other than a free dress rental.

One argument I heard is that if these actresses didn’t want to hear that question (“Who are you wearing?”) then they should dress down. That makes zero sense, they are at a work obligation that requires a certain level of attire. If an actress wore jeans, they’d probably bar her from entering. The dressing up is part of the game. It’s the prom. And if you are not paying for your own clothes then the person who clothed you is going to want a shout-out or twenty. I wonder what would happen if the actress refused to answer the question? Would the label be offended? Would she have to buy her own clothes now? With the media and business line getting blurrier every day, It’s increasingly interesting to me when these new grievances come up. I understand the frustration but I don’t think it’s a sexism issue personally. Apart from those few actresses, I saw a parade of women who were only too happy to name their designer and jeweler and make up people and Serena Williams even answered by saying ” ____ _____. They dress me every time.”  Being dressed? She is literally ceding control like a toddler. She probably sees this as some sort of Cinderella deal, get dolled up by the fairy godmother and go out on the town till midnight et cetera. I think it would be a very tempting offer.

Favorite Speech of the Night:

Graham Moore, screenwriter of The Imitation Game. He got personal as you can, but still somehow kept it light and inspirational. Good guy Graham was a much-needed dose of caffeine in a lagging part of the show. Another great speech was given by Lonnie and Johnny better known as Common and John Legend. Their performance and their speeches (seconds later?) were powerful.

Favorite Joke of the Night:

Not many. My favorite was by far the comedy stylings of John Travolta. The hapless former ballet dude and disco god put his foot in his mouth last year by mispronouncing Idina Menzel’s name while introducing her, and he spent the whole telecast yesterday trying to tapdance his way out of that. Seeing how insecure a big star can be is really charming in a way, getting all sweaty and nervous and making jokes that don’t make sense, it’s the first time I’ve empathized with Travolta. Not your fault that she’s got a tongue-twister of a name Johnny!

The Awards:

My favorite of the nominated films was The Grand Budapest Hotel though I wholeheartedly believe the best movie of 2014 was Nightcrawler which was criminally under nominated. Jake Gylenhaal deserved a Best Actor nomination at the very least. He also came up with the concept for this trailer for the film:

Another overlooked performance was Chadwick Boseman in Get On Up. He was a mesmerizing James Brown, a top-notch song and dance man who also captured the exuberant joy and tortured genius of the Godfather of Soul. I also especially loved A Most Wanted Man, the very last movie Philip Seymour Hoffman made. His portrayal of a beat-down by life German spy carries the film and his German accent is great. Another performance that stayed with me is Miles Teller in Whiplash, he was in my tempo and I thought as deserving of a nomination as the abusive JK Simmons. The two things the Oscars made me want to watch even more than I wanted to before were Selma and Citizenfour. By the way, pretty ballsy moment by Ed Snowden’s girlfriend picking up the Best Documentary Oscar onstage for her boo.

Quick points:

-Eddie Murphy has not aged in twenty years, that’s what no booze or drugs and a lot of money and a healthy lifestyle gets you.

-Lady Gaga killed it, I expect she’ll be doing The Sound of Music on Broadway in a few years.

-Rosamund Pike is gorgeous when she’s not killing dudes.

-Bradley Cooper’s third straight Best Actor nomination! And that’s not even counting my favorite performance of his, as the voice of Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy.

-Meryl and J-Lo in a film adaptation of Broad City? I’m in.

As usual, the Oscar show was so overblown, I started wondering about the director of the Oscars, he’s under major pressure and he can’t even direct these actors! Wondered how they manage all these shots and movement…Check out this clip of what it looked like behind the scenes during my favorite Oscar moment in history and you’ll get an idea.

Dennis Rodman, who are YOU wearing?  

A Whole New Feeling

This eerie gray introduction scene to The Hudsucker Proxy captures New Year’s Eve so perfectly. I love every shot of the buildings in 1958/1959 New York, every written word is amazing and pin perfect AND the narrator’s voice is so good:

Come midnight it’s gonna be 1959. A whole nuther feeling. The new year. The future. Yeah, ole daddy Earth fixin to start one more trip round the sun, everybody hoping this ride-around be a little more giddy, a little more gay…”

I Suppose You Think You Raised Hell.

Miller’s Crossing. (1990)

I could argue it is my favorite Coens movie, and also my favorite gangster movie, along with Goodfellas (also released in 1990). Miller’s Crossing is very different from any other gangster film because of the trademark wit and clever wordplay that was so often the signature of the early Coens stuff. It’s on full display here with a firecracker cast ripping amazing one-liners in perfect time like they’re jazz drummers, and with the regularity and punch of the Tommy guns Leo’s gang favors.

This zany, brilliant, criminally underrated gangster movie is incredible in it’s scope and authenticity depicting the criminal underworld of 1930s America. The set design and costume design sing, it’s hard to fathom this was before the advent of green screen special effects, some of the backdrops and shots are so gorgeous.

Best Movies 2006-2011: Why So Serious?

This last week, I took it upon myself to investigate and determine ONCE AND FOR ALL what was the best movie of the past 5 years (2006-2011). Granted, best is a meaningless word really. What does best mean to you other than your personal favorite? That being said, I have personal favorites among many forms that I would never suggest are the best of the lot.  So, best? I suppose it means that it has to be something or someone whose merits you could argue are better than others in its genre? Something that stands the test of time. Something that strikes a chord. Something where the writer and director and actors have all come together in perfect harmony and created something glorious. In the parlance of our times, Something SIIIIIIIIIICK…

Anyway, these were some of the answers my friends gave me when I popped the big question. What is the best movie of the past five years?

No Country For Old Men

There Will Be Blood

The Departed

The Prestige

The Lives of Others

The Wrestler

Blood Diamond

In Bruges

Pan’s Labyrinth

Son of Rambow

Wristcutters: a love story

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Persepolis

Wall-E

300

Avatar

District 9

Of course, these being my friends, I also received answers like Ghostbusters and Duck Soup. Yeah, I love them. Although I haven’t seen or didn’t enjoy some of the movies listed above, I could see them being considered the best. In my own head, the short list of my favorite movies of the past five years is as follows :

The Secrets in Their Eyes

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Inglorious Basterds

The Prestige

The Lives of Others

Little Miss Sunshine

The Dark Knight

I love them all but if forced to make a case for one, I would go with, drum roll please…

THE DARK KNIGHT.

Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’ came out in the summer of 2008 with almost unprecedented hype. Part of this was just due to the fact that it was marketed as the summer blockbuster of the year and it was also due to the sad passing of Heath Ledger some months before it’s release. For these reasons and more, this Batman movie (the first one without ‘Batman’ in the title) was hyped up to saturation point. And then it miraculously delivered. I remember I went into the theater almost angry. I had been through months of waiting. I had hustled for tickets. I got to the theater early only to have my friends show up late. And so it was that I ditched their front row seats and found myself sitting alone in the best seat in the theater (halfway up, bang in the center). And I loved it. From the very first shot, the slow steady zoom-in of the glass building and the window shattering, I was enraptured. I think it’s the best movie of the past few years because it’s almost impossible to make a huge pop-corn movie that is universally loved. People go into these things jaded. They want to rip the movie. It’s not smart enough for some. It’s too mass-marketed for others. It’s cliché. It’s guys in tights. The Dark Knight is incredible because it combines great acting and directing with a cracking script that perfectly mixes humor and drama, comic book madness and metaphors for modern life events. I think I love the movie more than most because there are anywhere between ten to twenty lines that stand out for me. Also, this movie stars the three-headed monster of Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart and Heath Ledger, all perfectly cast. I have forever been obsessed with movies starring a trio of strong male leads (Quiz Show, LA Confidential). It’s just something I like. Perhaps it’s not the best. Maybe it’s just my favorite. Although I don’t think it’s that. Everyone loves to have their favorite movie be something independent, something cool – Forgetting Sarah Marshall or The Big Lebowski, something along those lines but The Dark Knight attempts more and delivers more than any other movie has in the past half a decade. It’s a monster. But it’s still goddamn good – and I don’t even like studio summer movies. It is literally the only summer movie hit I would ever call a favorite film.

So without further ado, here is a great scene from the film, a nice dinner conversation between Bruce Wayne, Harvey Dent and company. A complete non spoiler and it illustrates how well written and constructed the film is.