Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oscars 2012

Well, it's that time of the year again, when I blog about something I love that is non-sports related; MOVIES! Let's jump right into the nominees, my favourites, and my predictions.

The Artist - DING DING DING, we have a winner. I'd be willing to put $$$ on this winning.
The Descendants - So. Bad.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Disappointing.
The Help - Loved. It. Some pretty incredible, three-dimensional female characters.
Hugo - Booooooring.
Midnight in Paris - My favourite of the nominees! Great for imaginative geeks :)
Moneyball - So friggin' awesome. You don't even have to like baseball to enjoy it.
The Tree of Life - Majorly pretentious snooze fest.
War Horse - Just "okay".

Demian Bichir (A Better Life) - Beautiful performance in an "okay" movie.
George Clooney (The Descendants) - I would have been more apt to nominate his performance in "The Ides of March" as Best Supporting than this garbage.
Jean Dujardin (The Artist) - WINNER! If anyone else wins, it will be grand larceny.
Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) - Such a boring movie, I could barely sit through it. Oldman's performance wasn't much better.
Brad Pitt (Moneyball) - He would be my number 2 selection, but mostly because the rest of this category is pure crap.

Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) - I never realized how androgynous Close is. Brilliant performance.
Viola Davis (The Help) - The kind of performance that eats at your soul.
Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) - Good for her. I LOVED her in this.
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) - Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Streep is simply the best.
Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) - Poor Michelle. My personal favourite female performance of the year, her third deserving nomination won't bear fruit this year. You'll get your Oscar one day, Williams.

Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn) -
Jonah Hill (Moneyball) - My favourite performance of the category. It makes me so incredibly happy to see the dude from "Superbad" with an Academy Award nomination.
Nick Nolte (Warrior) - Wonderful.
Christopher Plummer (Beginners) - Book it. Plummer's gut wrenching performance is impossible to deny.
Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) - Perhaps the most undeserving nomination in years. Ouache.

Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) - I have so much love for this woman and the radiant beauty and emotion that beamed from her in every scene in this movie. It's tough to pick a favourite in this category, because each performance was so wonderful.
Jessica Chastain (The Help) - So delicious.
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) - While I was shocked at her nomination, and would have to rank this performance "last" in this category, I just love this actress so much, and am so incredibly excited and happy for her to be nominated.
Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) - Such incredible depth, such a warranted nomination.
Octavia Spencer (The Help) - My prediction for winner.

Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) - Putting all my eggs in one basket; my favourite & predicted winner.
Alexander Payne (The Descendants) - Please god, no.
Martin Scorsese (Hugo) - Gag me. Not your finest work, Marty.
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris) - This film is so delightful, and the direction is great. Seriously, go see it.
Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) - Please go back to whatever pretentious film school you came from.

The Descendants - Blech.
Hugo - Booooo.
The Ides of March - Finally! Recognition for a great film (and even better script).
Moneyball - My fave and winner.
Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy - Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Bridesmaids - Kristin Wiig is a friggin' Academy Award nominee. How awesome is that?!
Margin Call - Wait, what? I didn't see this one....
Midnight in Paris - <3 I have so much love for this movie. How haven't you seen it yet?!
A Separation - I'll be perfectly honest, I haven't seen this one either. I suppose by opinion in this category is moot.

The Artist - The only nominee worth knowing. In order for a silent film to be even remotely watchable, the score has to be fantastic. WINNER.

You can watch the OSCAR's Sunday, February 26th at 8PM. Then it's a return to plotless, talentless, shameless, tantalizing summer blockbusters. Until next season....

PS. Dear Academy, why no love for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" as the 10th Best Picture nom? Why no love for Leonardo Dicaprio (J. Edgar) or Ryan Gosling (Drive) or Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50)???

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Buyers vs Sellers - The Grey Area in Between

Each year as February draws to a close, and the NHL's trade deadline day looms, a conversation inevitably starts among all hockey fans, in which they attempt to categorize "their" team as either buyers, or sellers. This has ALWAYS irked me, as I don't believe that it's as black and white as people make it out to be. In fact, I take issue with people referring to the Canadiens as sellers. In order to understand why I don't like this label, you must first understand what I consider to be "buyers/sellers"...

Sellers: A team that is unsatisfied with their position in the standings prior to the trade deadline, and has decided to trade away a large portion of their roster in exchange for draft picks and prospects, in hopes of improving their chances of cup contention in the future. In doing so, the organization is making several statements:

1) We are not making a push for the playoffs
2) We are not satisfied with the production of our talent
3) We are entering a rebuilding phase

Buyers: A team who is looking for the missing pieces necessary to complete their roster for either a playoff push, or Stanley Cup contention. The organization is making a statement that says they are pleased with their talent, and are looking to fill in the gaps.

The Habs are neither of the aforementioned. They have pieces they would like to sell that unfortunately do not yield any interested buyers. They also have pieces they will likely deal away who are attractive to buyers. But more importantly, they have an encouraging core group made up of several key cornerstones:

1) Young, developing talent (Eller, Emelin, Desharnais)
2) Future superstars (Subban, Pacioretty)
3) Stellar goaltending (Price)
4) Talented, veteran leadership (Cole, Gorges)

There are other players on the Canadiens roster that could easily fit into their plans for the future, however the aforementioned are those which will play key roles in their immediate success (and by immediate, I mean over the course of the next 3-5 years).

In order to truly be "sellers", the Canadiens would need to enter a rebuilding mode, which is not necessary, as they already possess elite caliber talent. Obviously improvements need to be made, and clearly the status quo is not sufficient (in fact, the problems the Canadiens face are not brand new; they have simply been masked by superior goal tending over the past two seasons that has carried them further than they should have gone. But I digress.)

What exactly WILL the Canadiens do come deadline day? Well, it has been widely agreed upon among NHL insiders for several weeks that the Habs' movable pieces come trade deadline include(d) Gill, Moen & Kostitsyn, the former having already been dealt. The fact that the return on #75 consisted of more than a 2nd round pick is fantastic (side note: Blake Geoffrion, acquired by the Canadiens in the Gill deal, has 1G & 3A in his first two games witht he Hamilton Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate). By trading away any or all of these three players, does not make the Canadiens "sellers".

The labels of "sellers/buyers" are simply a result of hockey fans needing a label to put on the mis-shapen box they insist on trying to cram "their" team into. Yes, the Habs need to retool. Yes, the Habs should (and already have) make moves prior to the trade deadline. However, they are a team that will continue to improve via off-season signings, and draft picks. Yes, this season sucks. But don't despair, Habs fans. This team isn't heading into a long, protracted period of rebuilding, where you can expect to skip the playoffs for a few years. There are already signs of encouragement for the future. So chill out, and stop labeling everything.