Hey Oscars, How About Trying For Classy?

Dear Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,

You are the Academy Awards. Start acting like them. You set the bar for awards. Clearly not, however, for award shows.

You do not get a bigger fan of movies or Hollywood than me. I live for this stuff. I was so into the Oscars that for years, my mother and I would check into a hotel for the night so that we did not miss a single moment. My children are now fully involved in all the red carpet coverage and love nothing more than to critique all the best dresses. So, what I am trying to say here is that I am not an average viewer.

Guess what, Academy? You are losing me. And if you are losing me, then I assure you that you are losing millions of “regular” people, too.

Here is the thing. Starting your show at 8:30 p.m. EST and then having it run for over 3 hours and 26 minutes is ridiculous. I don’t even enjoy doing things I actually like for that length of time. So, you have a choice to make…start earlier or start cutting.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

The biggest night of her life, and were you even awake to see her win?

You film people love nothing more than to talk about editing and stuff on the cutting room floor, so get to it. Average people not only do not care about more than half the categories you insist on presenting on Oscar night, we don’t even have the opportunity to actually see that stuff. Best Documentary Short Subject? Excuse me while I comb through my very large stack of mail, but I don’t believe I received that Academy mailer DVD of those selections in my mailbox this year. Besides the fact that categories like that cause us all to lose in our Oscar pools, it also drags the show out even longer.

Best Sound Mixing (not to be confused with Best Sound Editing, an entirely different category)…really? This is 2013…I think we have managed to master “the talkie”, okay. You know when you give that award? On your Scientific and Technical Award night. Because last time I checked, sound mixing is fairly technical. You continue to do exactly what you already do, which is to have a single Hollywood famous person come on stage and recap that event. Boom. I just shaved a good hour and a half off your telecast. You’re welcome.

Also, you don’t need a separate theme for Oscar night. You know what the theme is: the movies from the past year. Or just movies in general if you want to go with that. Want to highlight movie musicals? No problem. Nothing highlights movies better than a movie montage. Start with a clip of The King and I and finish with a clip from Dreamgirls and then when you get to the big moment, boom open the curtain with Jennifer Hudson belting out the sweeping notes from “And I’m Telling You” and guess what you will have…a water cooler moment. The kind that brings the audience to its feet in the theater and at home. The kind of moment that you had with Barbra Streisand last night that sent Twitter into a tail spin. Hashtag that Hollywood.

Either go big or go home is my advice. Honoring the 50th anniversary of the Bond films?Great. Get all the living Bond men and Bond girls on stage and pull back the curtain after playing a clip montage of all the best Bond film scenes. Standing ovation right then and there. Done.

Can you tell I am a fan of the movie clip montage yet? Well, I am. And so is everyone else. Quite frankly, if we could all live our lives in montage moments complete with soundtrack we totally would. And when I am watching *the* award show for films, I want to see lots of them. If I want to watch live musical performances I will turn on The Grammys or The Tonys.

Also, let’s talk hosting. The host of any event (as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler proved so effortessly on The Golden Globes) is supposed to be the person who moves the show along after a big opening number. And by big, I do not mean twenty minutes. It was practically nine o’clock and not a single award had been given out. Move it along host. This is not about you. It is about the movies. Period.

We don’t need the latest comedian as the host. Let’s class up this joint. Get someone who can do that. Pick someone who appreciates the industry and let them run with it.

Might I suggest George Clooney. Or Meryl Streep. Or Denzel Washington. Someone who can command the stage without stealing all the attention for themselves.

You are the Academy Awards, for God’s sake. You are supposed to be the grownups in the room. You know when a grown up tries to use teen slang and it’s unfunny and awkward?  Well, that is how it is when we at home are watching this spectacle. Play to your strengths.

Make all of us at home glad we made watching your show a priority. Don’t make us sorry that you are not a tenth as good as The Golden Globes.

Let them go for the gold. They are really good at it.

You *be* the gold standard.

84th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sincerely,

Ashley, a Very Unimpressed Oscar Viewer

The Top 10 Movie Moments You Will Want To Play On a Loop

Now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, known to the non-Hollywood types (i.e. all of us) as the Oscars, has seen fit to include 87 movies for Best Picture, instead of the old-school five, we decided the sky is the limit for us.

So when our favorite Monday link-up, Monday Listicles put up their topic for this week, we were in baby. Speaking of baby, no one puts her in the corner, you hear? See how we did that, all slick and smooth. I know, it is as if we are dedicated filmophiles or something! Thanks Ally for an awesome suggestion!

In no particular order, we are offering you 10 Movie Moments to get your Monday started right.

**Disclaimer: Some of these clips may contain language not suitable for little ears or office workplaces, so slip on your headphones before you play them.**

1. Sixteen Candles: So, we couldn’t figure out a way to embed the entire film on the site without crashing our server, but we did choose one of the moments that still manages to give our teenage selves goosebumps and heart-melting happiness. How many of you dreamed of this moment in high school?

2. Love Actually: This is another one of those movies where it is almost impossible to pick a single scene or moment to fully capture our love for this film. We would argue it is probably one of the most watchable films of all time. But, this scene inspires everyone in the audience (including Ashley who is on record as being firmly against public dancing) to want to “jump” from their seats and join in!

3. Dirty Dancing: Don’t even stop us, y’all. Never in the history of film has there ever been a scene that more made us wish to be Jennifer Grey. Or Baby Houseman as she is obviously known in our minds for all time. You know what Johnny Castle, we will do the lift with you. In front of the entire crowd. Just even watching it again for this post made our hearts beat faster.

4. A Few Good Men: Remember that disclaimer earlier? Well, it applies now. So, put on your headphones for this one. You know what Jack, actually we *can* handle the truth. We are all about the truth here at The Dose of Reality.

5. Say Anything: Lloyd Dobbler. You were the greatest. With your classic speech about what you wanted to do with your life (not build anything, make anything, sell anything that has been built or made, to paraphrase) and your love for Diane. Nothing beats the moment with the boombox, though.

6. The Sound of Music: Who else learned the musical notes from watching the yearly viewing of this film? Surely, it could not have just been us, right? Back before their were Betamax or Blu-Rays there was the family gathering together to watch the Von Trapp family have their lives changed by Maria.

7. The Princess Bride: Sure, we could have given you the classic “As you wish” scene, but really, everyone knows that one. And every other fantastic scene from this classic film. We decided to do a bit of a mash-up, because it made us laugh.

8. Raising Arizona: Does anyone cry better than Holly Hunter? Or should we say Ed, as she is known in this hilarious movie. Watching clips from this made laugh all over again.

9. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: From start to finish this movie produced quotable moments and classic scenes, but this one is an all-time favorite.

10. Gone With the Wind: No list would be complete without including what could be argued as the most quotable movie line of all time.

 

Everyone wishes they had popcorn now, right? And a jumbo box of Junior Mints, too, we are sure. Tell us in the comments which one is your favorite or what movie you are shocked we did not include.

MondayListicles

 

Hollywood, You Totally Owe Me This…

My sister has been visiting and since I have not seen her in real life in almost a year, we have had a lot to catch up on. Some really, really important stuff, y’all. After all, when this much time has passed between actual visits, you can’t sit around talking about nonsense like nail polish colors and Thanksgiving shopping lists. You have to dive in and get straight to the heart of what is truly on your mind.

In our case, that pretty much means we are talking Hollywood. And watching a ridiculous amount of TiVo. Hey, all eight episodes of Homeland don’t watch themselves in just 24 hours, you know.

We covered everything from how amazing Argo was (if you have not seen it, run straight to the nearest cinema!) to the shocking split of Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman (seriously, if there was EVER a Hollywood couple destined to be together forever, wasn’t it them??!!). Somehow we segued into what it would be like to be famous. And by somehow, I mean I totally steered the conversation that way by talking about Ryan Gosling being the greatest ever and how it is completely on my 2013 goal sheet for him to save my life.

My sister feels like her success as a famous person would be limited. She described how annoyed she would be if she just wanted to say, run into the grocery store for a can of cream of chicken soup, a can of green beans and some fat-free pudding cups (I could write an entire post just on her weird eating habits alone…which we all know would actually make her PERFECT for Hollywood!), and five people stopped her to say how much they loved her. By person five, she said she would become less effusive and much more brush-off. Bad news if person five turned out to have a blog, huh? 😉

I, on the other hand, feel that I would make an awesome famous person. I feel like I would be incredibly gracious and nice and fun, because I know exactly what it is like to love an actor/actress so much that you actually feel like you know them. Like you just totally *know* you were supposed to be real-life BFFs.

Then my sister felt the need to remind me that I don’t really actually like compliments and in fact, have been known to have a difficult time accepting them. She tried to tell me that my current method of deflecting praise could in fact be seen as rude to a potential fan. And obviously, if I was famous, I would never want to come across as anything but fantastic. Let’s just say I once had an encounter with a very famous actress who I used to think I loved and then her behavior really turned me off. Think less “Pretty” and more “Steely” in demeanor and attitude.

So, you know how when you are trying to get over a phobia, the best way to go about it is to immerse yourself fully in the experience. Like, if you are afraid of snakes, then you go spend the weekend at a snake farm draped in more snakes than Cleopatra and voilà at the end of the weekend, you are either cured of your snake phobia or dead.

Obviously, the real answer for me is to become famous. You know, like maybe on a reality show of some kind where they take an average, suburban mom blogger me and instantly transform her me into a world famous celebrity. Does she crack under the pressure of trying to take the kids to dance while surrounded by paparazzi and adoring fans? Can she hold up on the red carpet at an awards show? When Ellen invites her on to talk about her latest project, does she go all fan girl or keep her cool under pressure and act like this is just a random Tuesday in her life? Who is not watching this potential train wreck smash hit on NBC/CBS/ABC/OWN?!

I could be given my own personal celebrity handler to coach me through the ropes of fame…it would have to be someone like Tori Spelling who could relate to my desire to be a real mom while balancing all the attention that comes from celebrity. We could have all the shots of us chatting like girlfriends, while I cry about how much harder it is than I ever imagined it would be all those years poring over People Magazine in the pedicure chair grocery store check-out line. How I will never again judge a celebrity for being seemingly rude to a fan, because who knows, maybe they themselves are just having a rough day.

My celebrity handler could totally coach me on posing for photos that make me look skinny, even without the support of SPANX and all about how no matter how dark the restaurant is, it is certainly better to eat in my sunglasses. Who really cares about seeing your food, when we all know I would only be eating the equivalent of a lettuce leaf and a couple ice cubes. Thank God The Beverly Hills Hotel (where I will no doubt be staying) has amazing room service, since we all know this girl cannot live on salad alone!

The season finale could be a sit-down interview with Oprah and the un-“Pretty” actress from my past. I would find out that the night she was so rude to me was one where her little daughter Mabel Moonwish (this is not her daughter’s real name, although in Hollywood it totally could be!) was really sick with a fever. It turns out even the most famous celebrities can’t be “on” all the time. Oh boy, would I feel like I learned something then, right? Wouldn’t the whole audience, really?

I am so glad I got to stand next to Tom and not “her”!

And obviously, at the end of it all, I would become completely able to accept praise in a kind and gracious manner. I could do the final “talking head” (Lisa totally taught me this term while watching The Bachelorette) about how now I was ready to teach my daughters all about compliments because I would lead by example from my own experience starring on “So You Think Are Famous and Can Hang With the Stars Because You Have the X-Factor?”.

The name of the show is just a rough idea. Allison Grodner, I am totally open to changing that, of course.

But really, Hollywood, after all the years I have spent supporting you, isn’t it time *you* gave back to me?

 

 

This Column Is Going to Be Rated “R”

I was having a text conversation with a good girlfriend over the weekend about the movies we saw at ages that shock us today. Kramer vs. Kramer or The Jazz Singer, for example. Anyone remember a little movie called The Blue Lagoon? Know what I remember from it? Naked Christopher Atkins. Probably because I saw it around the time I was seven. Did your parents let you watch movies that you would never let your kids watch today? Share some examples in the comments

I have been thinking about the movie choices that my parents made for me and my sister, when we were children, and how totally inappropriate so many of them were. And these were smart, educated people, so what could they have been thinking?

Was it that the movie studios had not yet expanded to a PG-13 rating system, therefore slapping a PG rating on things that, today, would never merit such a lightweight label; or was it that they just didn’t think about how lasting the images of Jennifer Beals taking her clothes off for money would be on my eight-year-old brain?

These lasting images, by the way, occurred in the movie, Flashdance – a film my mother took both me and my sister to see when it came out in 1984. When I brought it up to Laura recently, how the main character in the movie was a welder by day and a stripper by night, she said, “Really? Yeah, that totally went over my head; I was just in it for the dancing.” And she was, to the point that for months afterward, she would put on leg warmers and apply masking tape to her little preschooler feet and dance the afternoon away in our foyer. I, on the other hand, was totally, completely aware of what I had seen and still to this day can vividly recall certain scenes that I am probably still not old enough to watch.

Let’s jump forward a year to a sweet, innocent kid friendly movie called, Jagged Edge, which quite frankly, by the title alone, should have let my parents know that it would not be an appropriate choice for me at age NINE; but there I was in the theater, with them, watching it as the film opened with a brutal murder.

My mother always used to brag about how I was mature for my age, but I will tell you that I didn’t feel very mature when I spent the next 3 months sleeping on a pallet on the floor, next to their bed. Because of the nightmares that someone was going to stab me to death, thank you (Mom and Dad) very much.

There seemed to be no thought process as to whether inappropriate language, sex or violence might be a good idea for us to be exposed to, at what anyone in their right mind would realize would be very impressionable young ages.

Laura recounted for me how she vividly remembers going to see Lethal Weapon 2 at age nine (What was it with age nine and movies with violence spelled out right in the title??) and how my mom attempted to cover her eyes during the totally naked sex scene with Mel Gibson and Patsy Kensit. Seriously, y’all, that is like me taking Emma to see something like The Fast and the Furious (or worse, like Monster’s Ball) next year. I am not even kidding when I say that I debated, for weeks, about allowing her to see the Disney movie, Prom, because I thought it might be too grown-up for her.

Here is the hypocritical part though, when my mother went totally double standard on HERSELF. When Top Gun came out in 1986, I was ten years old. Now Top Gun had all the makings of awesome for me; because, by that age, I loved action movies, obviously, since I had been watching them for years. So, I was ALL about seeing me some Top Gun.

And then my mother pulled the ‘no’ card on me. Say WHAT? She told me that after having seen the film (I am guessing this was an evening when they had managed to procure a babysitter?) with my dad, they decided that it was too adult for me to see, because – and hold on to your popcorn here, people – there was a KISSING scene between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis that was too graphic.

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I am not even lying at all. This was her line in the sand. This, really? Kissing, with tongue? To Berlin’s Take My Breath Away? So, Jagged Edge, with murder AND sex was okay; but once the camera guy applied the soft lens and started the love-making music, the brakes went on. I am not exactly sure when I was able to convince her to change her mind, but I am pretty sure it was not while Top Gun was still available on the big screen.

I think it stands to reason that my mother would have argued that she was not doing anything that her own mother would not do, because, as it turns out, my grandmother took my sister to see Thelma & Louise when she was ten; and then, she promptly fell asleep, missing any chance to cover her innocent granddaughter’s eyes during the less than appropriate scenes that were coming her way.

And I guess it never crossed anyone’s mind that while covering our eyes may have shielded us from seeing the worst moments in these films our ears were still picking up plenty of future knowledge.