2.28.2011

CiB Oscar Recap

Ah, the Oscars!  The one awards show where there is a 100% chance of no Justin Bieber, no Glee kids, and no Kardashians, or any combination thereof!  We are thrilled to have swept the Oscars with our predictions, having not picked a single upset.  Yay for us!  We considered celebrating with a little box-o-vino while watching, but we figured that would lead to a premature bedtime.  Then we figured we would probably be falling asleep before the end anyway, but at that point we were too lazy to get out of bed.  And since Natalie Portman won, we’ll have to continue watching this awful but seriously important telecast year after year.  With that, we bring you our list of the worst things about watching the Oscars, and the things they finally did to fix them last night:

1.  The Dead Celebrity Popularity Applause-o-Meter: Before last night, this death montage was known to us by this name, since it was consistently four excruciating minutes of dead celebrities, most of whom no one had ever heard of.  Every single person would receive polite golf claps, except the occasional big star who would cause the audience to erupt in hoots and hollers.  Then it was back to, say, a cinematographer who hadn’t worked since the ‘70s.  Golf claps.  That poor man’s family!  People obviously didn’t like him as much as they liked Jessica Tandy.  To fix this, we heard Celine Dion singing over the “In Memoriam” montage.  It would be impolite to interrupt Ms. Dion to cheerfully celebrate the life of Dennis Hopper before the end of the song, so everyone received equal amounts of claps at the end.  Yay for you, and yay for you too, art director from the ‘50s!

2.  The Montages, Good God, The Endless Montages!: Speaking of the Dead Celebrity Popularity Applause-o-Meter, we don’t think we spotted a single other montage last night.  We did briefly fall asleep sometime during the sound effects awards, but normally these pointless time suckers are all over the place.  Good on you, ABC!

3.  The Best Original Song Performances: Okay, so there was no improvement here, except perhaps from fifteen years ago when they would all sing the entire song – all four or five minutes of them, making the show last thirty minutes longer than necessary.  Even though they no longer do this, the fact that they devote more time to showcasing these four nominees than they do even for the acting nominations is cruel.  We understand that they are trying to make a SHOW out of this – but come on, many of us are operating on Eastern Standard Time, and some of us have work tomorrow.

2.25.2011

CiB Oscar Picks!

CiB is super excited about this year’s Academy Awards telecast.  We can’t wait to see the incredible Natalie Portman win for Best Actress over Annette Bening and her overrated performance that our cat could have phoned in after licking a spilled glass of wine off the floor.  If Bening pulls out an upset, we are vowing to never watch the Oscars ever again, so think of all the extra free time we’ll have over the next 70 years!  That’s 245 more hours of free time we wouldn’t have otherwise had!

We seriously can’t even understand how this is even a race.  We have seen The Kids Are All Right twice now, and while it made us want to drop everything, leave Derrick and Philly in the dust and move to beautiful, local, organic California, it didn’t make us want to give Annette Bening an Oscar.  Natalie Portman, on the other hand, was completely immersed in her role in Black Swan and had us believing she was truly succumbing to madness.  And what a champ for masturbating so convincingly on screen!

Our other pick: Christian Bale for Best Supporting Actor in The Fighter.  We have long thought that Bale was one of (if not the most) underrated actors in Hollywood.  He first took our breath away prancing around 19th-century New York singing “Santa Fe” in Newsies back when we were just a tween, completely entranced by that film’s seemingly endless hot teenage newsboy offerings.  Now, his brilliance is finally being recognized!  The fact that he wasn’t recognized at all for American Psycho was just wrong.

We think Melissa Leo will probably win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Fighter, but if we could have, we would have nominated all the women who played her daughters in the film.  Their performances combined outshined Leo by multiple inches of skyscraping bangs, 800 pounds of untoned bodies, and about 24 sets of large plastic earrings.

Best Actor: Colin Firth.  We haven't seen his film, thanks to the only movie theater in Philly within walking distance being a XXX theater, but he will win (let's think of some fun XXX titles for The King's Speech... possibilities may include the words fling, swing, thing, ding, string, wring, peach, beach, reach, and screech.  Have at it!).   We support this win, because we support King George, who begat Queen Elizabeth, who begat Prince Charles, who begat Prince William, with whom we have always had, and will always have, a deep and neverending interest in.

In other news, too bad there isn't an Oscar for best film poster(s).  These are marvelous.  We want!:







2.09.2011

Why I Still Hate Duke

Many of you think the Big Game already came and went on Super Bowl Sunday this past weekend.  Well, you would be wrong.  Tonight, my beautiful and amazing alma mater will continue a storied basketball rivalry against Voldemort's alma mater: a place powered by polar bear tears and unicorn blood, otherwise known as dook.  It is true that dook is ranked higher than UNC at the moment, but that doesn't change the fact that UNC will always, always have hotter girls.

This is a hilarious piece that ran in the Daily Tar Heel in 2007, by Ian Williams '90:

I always hated it when alumni came back and waxed rhapsodic about their undergrad years. "Yes," I would always think to myself, "I know there were kegs in the dorms, I know there was free love outside Bingham Hall, I know that everyone sung in harmony about a perfect world, blah blah blah..."

So why listen to me, you might ask? Well, usually in this spot, the DTH runs an old chestnut I wrote about Why I Hate Dook. I had a Wednesday column back in the Bronze Age of 1990, and I told the story of how my high school visit to Durham turned into a flaming pyre of white-hot hostility.

When the piece ran, I thought my friends would disparage the obviousness of it - writing a column about hating Dook? Jesus, that's like shooting barrelfuls of cod! Instead, the column ended up on refrigerators across the Piedmont, and it taught me two lessons. First, don't overthink your duties; and second, never underestimate the hatred for Durham Clown College.

A whole cottage industry has since grown out of the UNC/Dook rivalry; two big-selling books, endless coverage on ESPN, and gigabytes of Photoshopped files featuring Mike Kryshwqhskdi. What used to be private disgust is now a public phenomenon, and it raises the question: is Dook still worth hating?

I assumed, like everyone does, three things would happen to me once I graduated. My views would become more conservative, I wouldn't be allowed to sleep past 10am anymore, and my passion for beating Dook would gradually drift away. I would grow hair on my ears and suddenly think sitcoms were funny.

I'm here to tell you these things don't necessarily happen. I grew more obnoxiously liberal, I got a writing gig with flexible mornings, and my eye-twitching contempt of Dook's basketball team grew even more intense. They seem to manufacture loathsome jerks year after year.

How can you watch any random press conference of Koach K and not feel this man is a modern-day Narcissus so fixated on success that he's happy to throw his own players under the bus? A tightly-wound mess of resentment and profanity, the toxic combination of a control freak with a thinly-veiled persecution complex?

Yes, I was a psych major.

And believe me, I wouldn't bet three cups of snot there isn't some person just like me in the other camp, the Dook fan who has his own dime-store theories on why Carolina is a blight on the athletic world. But I wouldn't trade places if the Buddha himself showed up wearing a navy blue unitard.

I'll tell you why: I got to choose my church. Having grown up without an organized religion, I adopted the Carolina Way. I adhered to the Dean-Gut-Roy belief system, and incorporated it everywhere: doing things the right way; playing hard, smart and together; valuing your family above all.

We all burst from Chapel Hill in a plume of gorgeous blue smoke, wafting to all corners of the globe where other like-minded souls await. The "sky-blue mafia" has beds for you in Manhattan, an internship in Hollywood, a coffee in Prague, and we'll let you get in front of us in line at the K&W in Rocky Mount.

There is no old boy's network, no secret handshake. All we share is an affection for a town on a hill, and this: when we see Dookies clogging our TV, our lips curl and we seethe a little inside. The week of the big game, we find ourselves canceling appointments.

Is Dook still worth hating? Take a look at Sean Dockery slugging Tyler in the mouth. Spend a Saturday night next door to a Dook fraternity. Find yourself in the midst of the Kameron Krazies, a numbnut group of ravenously twee dorks who shellac their nipples with blue food coloring, scream cruel and deeply unfunny crap at opposing teams, then jump up and down with the mindless lockstep of the Communist military.

There's just so much to despise! Every religion must have its Devil, and ours are Blue. Dook is the gift that keeps on giving, and whether you're in an 8am Econ class trying to stay awake, or in your nursery trying to get your daughter to sleep, we're in it together. Break his ankles, Ty! Punch it home, Rey! God bless them Tar Heel boys!

Ian Williams, a 1990 music/psychology graduate, lives in Los Angeles and New York, writing for television and movies.


2.08.2011

We Put Birds On Things

Derrick has introduced me to Fred Armisen's completely insane new show on IFC, Portlandia.  The show strives on the idea that "the dream of the '90s is alive in Portland," where young people move to retire.  Derrick and I have always dreamed of living in the Pacific northwest for a brief period of time: riding bikes everywhere, asking our waitress for the life story of Daniel, the chicken we are about to consume, wearing an outfit of Birkenstocks and reclaimed bottle caps, and spending our days rescuing tri-limbed cats and dogs.  Luckily, this show allows us to live vicariously through its endless array of emo hipsters!

A few months ago, we walked into three stores in downtown Brooklyn, one right after the other, and each one had more birds in it than the last.  We had to give up shopping that day because I developed a serious Tippi Hedren complex.  You can imagine our excitement upon viewing our new favorite sketch: "Put A Bird On It." 


2.01.2011

Cat Bath Noir

This is a deep and thoughtful motion picture that looks like it fell right out of an NYU film class. And it may or may not be inspiring me to create my own red carpet CiB event this awards season. Enjoy the sadness below!

How To Earn Extra Money Without Getting A Second Job

The best time to begin a workout challenge is the day you somehow injure your neck.  It's also a good idea to start working out heavily and competitively on a day you decide to give blood.  And, as an added bonus, if you throw in some beautiful freezing rain, you just might have walked right into the least challenging challenge ever.

Since Derrick and I have been living on such a limited income for the past year and a half, I've decided it's time to start pilfering money from my colleagues so I can afford that extra box of wine every month.  So, I organized a workout challenge wherein whoever (whomever?) works out the most hours after four weeks wins 70% of the entry fees, and whoever comes in second wins 30%.  There are some real Competitive Cathys here at the office, but my coworkers obviously have no idea what I am capable of. 

I am reminded of an office workout pool Derrick joined back in Colonial times when he was working.  He ate nothing but beef jerky for weeks and on the day of his final weigh-in, he fasted and wore three pairs of sweatpants and three sweatshirts and worked out for hours in an effort to lose every ounce of water he could afford. 

He won several hundred dollars, which we presumably blew on food.

Yum.