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by Crispin Kott

8 Mar 2010


It’s not uncommon for viewers of any given Academy Awards ceremony to ask themselves, “What the hell was that all about?” Everything from misguided fashion choices to befuddling speeches goes under our own personal WFT-o-scope.

Last night’s ceremony provided countless moments from which to hang our sarcastic hats on, but none hit the mark for me like the John Hughes tribute.

John Hughes’ sudden death last year shook many of us of a certain age to our former teenage core. While generations who followed also found a kinship in the marginal rebellion and pimply angst of Hughes’ colossal run of ‘80s comedies, those of us who lived it tried to convince ourselves and others on Facebook and Twitter that the films were somehow a reflection of our own lives. And maybe in some small way that’s exactly what they were.

It made sense to feature a tribute to Hughes at last night’s Oscars, and the montage which opened the proceedings did a fine job of condensing some of our favorite moments from some of our favorite films, some of which may even have stood the test of time.

But then it all crashed to a terrifying halt. Out stepped a rogues’ gallery of actors from some of Hughes’ most successful films. Only two - Matthew Broderick and John Cryer - looked comfortable at all, the former having spent much of his career on the stage, and the latter still reveling in his career resurgence as a television sitcom actor. But the rest of them, that was something altogether less endearing.

We all knew Anthony Michael Hall was no longer the skinny kid from those early flicks, the transformation having begun when he was struck with Martin Lawrenceitis (an actor who made his name on playing a lovable doofus, then decided it was time to be the cool guy with less convincing results) right around the time of Johnny Be Good.

There was Macaulay Culkin, who’d spent his entire adult life trying to escape having been that irritating kid in the first two Home Alone movies acting like Mick Jagger on the Ed Sullivan Show when they made him switch the then-provocative lyrics to “Let’s Spend the Night Together”.

Molly Ringwald’s choice to wear a Pete Burns costume was an odd one, but compared to Judd Nelson’s sweaty, twitchy delivery and futuristic zoot suit outfit, it was pretty tame stuff. Ally Sheedy came off okay by comparison, but she was pursing her lips so tight, I thought my television was going to crack.

With 4/5 of the cast of The Breakfast Club making the scene, it was also hard to wonder why Emilio Estevez took a pass. Was he even asked? Did he realize it would turn into an ugly debacle? Furthermore, would it have been more of a tribute to speak to some of these actors on film instead of parading them out on stage and making the current crop of young go-getters in the audience like Tyler Lautner and Kristen Stewart wonder what their own lives might one day become (that moment comes at 3:50 in the attached YouTube video)?

Hughes deserved a tribute, and he got at least half of one worthy of his role in American cinema. If you weren’t a fan, perhaps you feel the latter half told the story better than the montage. But if you loved Hughes’ films, you’ll have to work hard to forget the second half before ever trying to watch one again.

by Matt Moeller

8 Mar 2010


Upright Citizen Brigade creators, Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts have returned to television with a new show called Players on Spike TV. The show’s concept is that Matt and Ian are brothers that have opened a sports bar in Phoenix, a framework in which the improved chaos and hilarity will ensue. Personally I have a deep hatred for sports, so I’m a little worried about the subject matter. I’m a little put at ease by the fact that I’m a huge fan of Walsh and Roberts work, especially their work in UCB. I also quite enjoyed Sports Night, Aaron Sorkin’s first show, which was based around an ESPN-like sports show, so I know it can be done. The show premiered last Tuesday, and it airs every Tuesday at 9:30 pm central on Spike TV. Check out the official trailer and a hilarious faux press piece that they shot to promote the show. 

 

by PopMatters Staff

8 Mar 2010


Indie it-band headlined Saturday Night Live this past weekend…

by Jessy Krupa

7 Mar 2010


The Academy Awards used to be one of the biggest annual events on television, but up until last year, its TV ratings kept going down. Though some people are clearly heavily into the whole thing by throwing “Oscar parties” and betting on who will win what, most people won’t even bother to watch the whole show. Some people argued that this was because the movies that America cared about weren’t usually nominated. This year’s show, with its ten best picture nominees, will either prove or refute that theory.

In years past, however, a major portion of the audience just tuned in to see what everyone was wearing. The Oscars were more than just the source to see the most famous people in Hollywood celebrating the best movies of the past year; it was also a major pop culture event. It was big news in 1973, when Marlon Brando refused his “Best Actor in a Leading Role” award and chose Sacheen Littlefeather to make a speech in his place. In 1985, Sally Field drew laughs because she said, “You like me! Right now, you like me!” during her “Best Actress” acceptance speech, and in 1998, everyone talked about how Roberto Benigni climbed up on the seats on his way to accept the “Best Foreign Language Film” award. However, in today’s 24-hour news cycle, instant YouTube world, nobody misses anything big. There are multiple entertainment news shows on air that will tell you about everything that happened and many websites, PopMatters included, that will list who won what.

That’s why I won’t be watching the Oscars, even though most of the broadcast networks have bought into the hype, with only CBS offering anything new. They’ll be showing an episode of The Amazing Race based around the sites in Germany where the Beatles got their start. If you’re lucky enough to have cable, there’s a few former Oscar winning movies on, including The Dark Knight on Cinemax, Goodfellas on AMC, and Saving Private Ryan on TNT. Alternately, you could have a DVD marathon of your favorite movies and avoid all of the commercials while you’re at it. After all, you’re not missing anything.

by John Lindstedt

5 Mar 2010


This Funny Or Die video features almost all the iconic presidential impressions from Saturday Night Live all in the same room, some reprising roles they haven’t played since the ‘70s.

The only notable absence is Phil Hartman’s Ronald Reagan. Hartman is sadly no longer with us, but he is impeccably replaced by Jim Carrey, who used to play Reagan back in his early days logging time on In Living Color.

All in all, a pretty momentous event for comedy and political enthusiasts alike.

Here’s one of the old legendary Phil Hartman sketches…

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