The Weekend Reader – February 28ish (Oscar Weekend Edition!)

Oscar weeeeeeeeeeeekend! Let’s get ready to… um, eat popcorn in front of the TV in pjs? (Sound right?)

BUT WHAT ABOUT LIAM NEESONS, THO?

(I try not to pimp movies often, but Non-Stop is the type of movie that explains why I love writing thrillers so much. And can we talk about Corey Stoll? Can he be in everything already?)

Seriously, I know it`s too late for this year, but can we work on getting Liam Neeson a special Ass-Kicking Oscar next year?

OK, that`s not classy enough for the Oscars. Let`s call it the Lifetime Achievement In The Moving Arts Specifically Isolated In The Lower Extremity to Human Posterior Contact in a Spectacular Fashion Award.

Not to worry- we have a whole year to name it.

Once you`ve circulated your request to the appropriate offices, you can treat yourself to either:

The best commercial you`ve ever seen involving macaroni, cheese and turtles

or

Give yourself (and others) all the High Fives you can stand (there`s an app for that!)

There should be enough reading to tide you over from opening night of Non-Stop to Oscar Sunday, speaking of which…

THR talks to Brutally Honest Oscar Voters (emphasis on the brutal)

Five shocking stats about Oscar and Gender

In film festival news:

Enter your film to be judged by the greatest film jury, possibly, ever

James Franco has earned his own film festival

This just in! A bulletin from the Marvel Universe (and it`s not about the pizza boxes. Also, is it weird that Loki is on the Supreme Pizza? No, of course it`s not. I didn`t get a picture, but I will. I will.)

And the good stuff:

An interesting Buzzfeed video that will help you Change the way you look at women

Forbes talks about Why women can`t make movies

Slate talks about why it`s OK for The women on True Detective to be treated like garbage (I would love a huge, critical hit show where women both matter and aren`t totally sexualized objects. That would be cool.)

And, lastly, if you`re thinking about starting up a campaign that benefits girls and women, hit up Indiegogo and they will kick in some extra funds on International Woman`s Day.

In fact, International Woman`s Day is coming up soon! In fact, I think it`s a whole week now (go figure- half the population gets a week of celebration… yay.) But, there are so many accomplishments worth celebrating that I will try to pull out as many as I can.

Because we are all about celebration here. So congrats to all of this weekend`s winners, and to all the award season winners in general. And to Liam Neeson.

You know, for next year.

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RIP Harold Ramis

I often wonder if there was a comedy void in the 1970s and 1980s. I don’t know much about that time (I have a bit of an excuse- I wasn’t alive for a bunch of it). But I do know that, as a child, comedies seemed like they really got very good sometime in the early 80s. We had a VCR and VHS tapes were rented and bought with all sorts of funny stories to watch. Aside from old Disney cartoons, we didn’t have a frame of “children’s entertainment” in the house, either.

I remember how much I loved Ghostbusters, in particular. I often had tea parties and silly adventures with my Slimer and Stay Puft toys. Ghostbusters was not very scary and a bit sci-fi and it was really funny. It was perfect. For me, anyway

I saw Ghostbusters again really recently- I remember seeing it pop up on a hotel room TV somewhere. I was exhausted- too tired to even find the remote. So I just left it on. I thought I’d fall asleep, anyway. But I watched it all the way through. And I still loved every frame of it.

I had seen it relatively recently on the big screen as well. The awesome program TIFF ran in Toronto all throughout last summer- TOGA! The Reinvention of American Comedy– featured talks with folks like Ivan Reitman and John Landis. TIFF threw out the welcome mat to everyone, to enjoy the simple beauty and silly slapstickery of these films on the big screen. For me, I was having a lousy summer, and holding those precious admissions in my hand kept me looking forward to the next week, the next talk and screening. It made me feel a little more normal, a little more connected, than I had felt in a while.

There was Animal House and Stripes, Caddyshack and Meatballs. And my beloved Ghostbusters, which didn’t really seem to age all that much, or all that badly. I admit, maybe my big kid heart was still hanging on to it too tightly. But Ghostbusters, and all the other movies on that list, still seem tinged with timelessness to me.

And I admit, because I have to say it out loud, that my first thought when I read the headline about the sudden passing of Harold Ramis early yesterday was “That’s the end of Ghostbusters 3”. Harold Ramis, who I loved as Egon and grew to appreciate as a funny and fearlessly sharp writer and director, was just gone. No long goodbye. No Ghostbusters 3. I’m selfish and horrible for even thinking it, I know, especially because I got so much benefit from this very one-sided relationship already.

Harold Ramis made us laugh. He made me laugh, which was never an easy task. And, as selfish as I am, I don’t just miss him. I miss all the movies I wish he’d made…

Sorry, Venkman. I’m terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.

PS: This was the illustration for last year’s TIFF TOGA! program done by my friend and brilliant artist Deena Pagliarello. Check out her Tumblr for more sketches and concepts from it as well.

 

The Weekend Reader February 14! HAPPY LOVE DAY!

Enjoy it while it lasts, because we all know what happens after Love Day:

Lots of (random) links today:

 

I treat this time of year like Thanksgiving- I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes me happy and what I can do for others. So, just because it’s Love Day, here are (very random) things you’ll love:

And me? What do I love? I love you guys. You’re all such awesome creatures- throwing yourselves against the walls, trying to knock ’em down and let more of us in. Keep working hard. Keep accomplishing great things that seem impossible. And keep being excellent to each other along the way. 

Olympic News We Love: Gus Kenworthy Wins The Olympics (And Puppies)

So many inspiring stories have come out of this year’s Winter Olympic Games. This is one of those, but with puppies:

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Gus Kenworthy has just won all the Olympics. We now return you to your regular programming.

The Weekend Reader – February 7ish

Folks, just a reminder that everything really is awesome:

In very brief yet larger and non-animated news:

How to get ahead in filmmaking (via The Guardian)

A career-spanning interview with producer Jeremy Thomas (who’s helped to make way more movies than you realize), right on the heels of the confirmation of High-Rise, led by the brilliant Ben Wheatley with the screenplay to be provided by Amy Jump.

Oh, and you know women- the people who make up more than half the population? Yeah, them. Well, in Hollywood, pay for women overall declines rapidly after the age of 34. Awesome. Hello retirement!* (via Indiewire)

*As an aside to this, if one more person equates a woman’s sexual desire/reproductive age with her ability to do a job- ANY JOB- there will be consequences. Just sayin’.

Until next week, a shout out to the Fat Girl Food Squad for making life more awesome. Awesome is the word of the week. Pass it on.

Woody Allen And A Strange Twist Over Broadway

Don’t forget, there is always more strangeness to be had…

The Wrap asks a fair question, given the talk around town: Will the Woody Allen Scandal Torpedo ‘Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical’?

I don’t know what has happened, or what will happen, in the portion of the universe that Woody Allen occupies. I’m going to be really honest about what I do know- he’s not my favourite filmmaker. So many people raved on how much I would looooooove Midnight In Paris, for example. I admit, it’s as close to loving a Woody Allen film as I’ve ever gotten (Come on- Set in Paris? Corey Stoll as Hemingway?! Tom Hiddleston as F. SCOTT FITZGERALD?!!!!1 Ahem.) But I didn’t love it nearly as much as the chorus of recommenders thought I would. But this?

Yes, please. More.

And that’s all I know for sure.

But, randomly (and the real point of this blog post), I noticed the article included this related link: Broadway Audience White, Middle Aged and Female, Study Finds and I went all WHAAAAAAAA?

If you read the entire article (and I recommend that you do), it basically states the Broadway audience is in their 40s and female. My question is what, exactly, is the “Broadway Audience”? There’s a pretty heavy divide between musical theatregoers and those who see plays, for example. And using selective surveys at 34 productions that only amounts to a cross-section that includes 5,000 or so voluntary respondents? How accurate is this data, really?

Considering it’s taken from 11.58 million attendees who saw a Broadway show last year… Ummm…

I like to think everyone sees live theatre as often as they can. It can be tough, based on where you live and what your life involves, but I know you want to.

And admission is always the first step on the right path.

 

Men We Love: Jon Hamm (for Hamm Club)

Duh. Of course we love Jon Hamm. We have eyes and ears… and even if we didn’t, we have a pulse. And I’m pretty sure everyone who has a pulse is a member of the Jon Hamm Fan Club (Hamm Club? Is that a thing? I’m trademarking it if no one else has…)

But, you ask yourself, what special reason do we have to love Jon Hamm  even more today? Well, mostly, for having lunch.

You see, Hamm Club President (not only the president, also a member) Mister Jon Hamm himself is auctioning off the chance to have lunch with him (via Charitybuzz) to benefit the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. In case you’re not familiar with the foundation, here’s the brief blurb from the auction page:

“Jon will lunch with the lucky winning bidder and a guest in New York City or Los Angeles, depending on his schedule, while helping to support women filmmakers through the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

Donated By: Jon Hamm”

It really doesn’t get any better than that.

(PS: To the winner of the auction: Please be sure to ask him if he’s cool with calling the fan club Hamm Club…)

Unfortunately, this pitch does not have a starring role for Clive Warren. But it does have, well… I don’t really know what it does have going for it. But this makes me laugh. And, when you have to gather your nerve up to pitch, you need to keep in mind – no matter what you’re trying to pitch – that there is little to no chance that it will be as… um, convoluted (?) as “Bryan’s Brain”.

The Weekend Reader – January 17ish

Sooooooo late… But I guess better late than never? Anyhow…

More soon!