- Someday I should do a “worst of the worst best-picture winner lists,” but even writing that makes me sleepy. I thought of it, however, when a Facebook friend posted Barry Koltnow's worst best-picture winner list from the Orange County Register, approvingly, and ... what can I say? Mr. Koltnow objects to “No Country,” “Rain Man,” and “The Hurt Locker” but not “Crash” and “The Greatest Show on Earth”? His argument against “The Hurt Locker” is particularly lame and could apply to 90% of best picture winners. Plus, yes, travesty on “Shakespeare in Love” over “Saving Private Ryan,” but, in hindsight, the latter shouldn't have won, either, since that was the year one of the greatest movies ever made was nominated. Maybe that's how you should lay it out: what won; what, given the year and guild awards, should've won; and what, in hindsight, really deserved it.
- Speaking of “Crash”: Apparently if it wasn't for Scientology, Paul Haggis might not have gotten where he got and “Crash” never would've won best picture. Another reason to hate Scientology. And, yes, I know a posted a link to Lawrence Wright's piece a few weeks back but I only now just finished it. In the magazine it goes from pages 84 to 111. Oof.
- In this video from Time Magazine, Jesse Eisenberg of “The Social Network” (and “Adventureland” and “The Squid and the Whale” and “Roger Dodger”—nice career so far, kid) talks up seeing Michael Shannon in my friend Craig's Wright's play, “Mistakes were Made.”
- Studios and theater chains should be careful about where they play the trailer for Terrence Malick's “Tree of Life.” Whenever I see it, I lose all interest in the movie I'm about to watch.
- Coming down a bit in quality: The second “Thor” trailer is better than the first. But does this mean the focus of the movie has changed? Or simply the focus of the trailer?
- An organization calling itself the Internationial Cinephile Society picked their best movies of 2010, and their best was my best: “Un Prophete.” Their second-best, “Carlos,” is not in my Top 10; I was actually disappointed in it. So apparently I'm not quite international, not quite cinephile. But stay tuned.
- Pacino to play Matisse? “L'expression, pour moi, ne réside pas dans la passion qui éclatera sur un visage. Elle est DANS TOUTE LA DISPOSITION DE MON TABLEAU!!!”
- My friend Jerry Grillo recounts meeting Stan “the Man” Musial, who was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and whose stats are even better than I thought. Three-time MVP, three-time runner-up MVP. Led the league in hitting seven times, in OBP and slugging six times, in OPS seven times. Retired with 3,630 hits—at the time second only to Ty Cobb, and all these years later still fourth. Has anyone checked George Will's numbers? 3630 hits: 1815 at home, 1815 on the road? Beautiful if true. Touch 'em all, Stan. And Jerry.
- My friend Andy Engelson recounts his recent family trip to Bali. Hate. Him.
- Michael Lind over at Salon.com lists off the reasons why Glenn Beck-bashing is counterproductive. Makes sense. On the other hand, the mainstream media ignores Rush Limbaugh for years at a time and he's only gotten stronger. These guys are weeds; he doesn't need mainstream media light to grow.
- Is this the book that may bring Sarah Palin down? Please please please please. P.S. Thanks for nothing, Bill Kristol.
- Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, amid much protest, is currently attempting to neuter public unions. Paul Kruman says it's about power, not money.
- So how did Gov. Walker get into office? According to Mother Jones, with the help of the Koch brothers of Kansas, who are also infamously attempting to undermine Pres. Obama. The billionaire brothers were the second-biggest contributers to Walker's campaign ($43K), plus they contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors' Association, which spent $65K on Walker, plus they spent millions attacking Walker's opponent. “What's the matter with Wisconsin?” now has the same answer as “What's the matter with Kansas?”
- All of which is a good reminder to buy Phil Dray's book “There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor In America.” (Extra: Here's Phil on “The Daily Show” last October.)
- A ditty by the same name from Billy Bragg.
- Finally, really enjoying Bright Eyes' new album, particularly “Ladder Song,” in these early, crappy months of 2011. Sample:
No one knows where the ladder goes
You're going to lose what you love the most
You're not alone in anything
You're not unique in dying