Ask 411 Movies 3.04.13: Like Kissing Your Sister!
Posted by Leonard Hayhurst on 03.04.2013
Why do viewers hate Breaking Bad's Skyler White? Has there ever been a tie at the Oscars before? Was Seth McFarlane the worst Oscar host ever? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
I had the worst year ever in the 411 Movies Zone Oscar pool. I only got 11 of 24 categories correct. This is because I overestimated the academy holding to their stodgy roots and awarding Lincoln more than they did. I wasn't surprised that Argo took best picture, but that it overcame so many obstacles in my mind to do so. For it to win best picture without having a best director nomination for Ben Affleck and only nabbing two other trophies, for best film editing and best adapted screenplay, is pretty unprecedented. I didn't see everything that came out last year, but Argo was the best film I saw in 2012, certainly.
I think Seth McFarlane did okay as Oscar host, but he was trying too hard. It was known he was going to be hip and controversial and I think he played into that too much. There were a lot of jokes he knew were going to get a bad reaction, so he had a comeback ready to soften the blow. There's no question a joke about John Wilkes Booth shooting Abraham Lincoln is going to get booed, so he tempered it with the 'too soon' gag right after. You do that a few times and it works, but it gets stale when you do it for every introduction segment. The opening was entertaining and outside the box. Probably no one thought the 2013 Oscars would include Captain Kirk, sock puppets, a song about boobs and the Trans-Am from Smokey and the Bandit.
The James Bond tribute was crap. There were no Bond babes, no villains, no henchmen and, worse of all, no James Bonds. I read rumors the Oscar producers were trying to get all the Bonds, but Sean Connery was a hold out. I hope that didn't derail plans. I would have had Daniel Craig introduce Roger Moore. Then have Moore introduce Shirley Bassey. She sings "Goldfinger" over the montage. Then you cut back to the stage and you have every single person from a Bond film you can scare up, putting the big names up front. Hopefully, you could get Honor Blackman and Ursula Andress to represent the Connery era since he apparently wouldn't do it.
Everyone always complains about the Oscars being long and boring. Here is my plan to trim that:
1) It might be unpopular, but you take all the categories nobody cares about and have them in an online exclusive ceremony earlier in the day. This would include the short subjects, sound mixing, sound editing, makeup and hair, production design, costume and visual effects. You've cut what you need to present on the main telecast by half.
2) No miscellaneous musical numbers or extra segments. Each best song nominee gets performed and that's it. You, of course, do the in memorial reel and a segment going over the governor's awards, technical awards and the online winners from my idea above. The opening monologue is five minutes.
3) No presenters. The host gives out everything.
4) Limited commercial interruptions. You find one or two major sponsors to back everything and have five minutes of commercials about every half hour so the folks at home can hit the bathroom and get more nachos.
What Leonard Recently Watched Dark Skies is a fairly competent slow build horror thriller until it's derailed by a weak and unsatisfying ending. Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton are great as a normal couple with two sons plagued by aliens. Their reactions and how they cope with the extraordinary circumstances around them, along with regular problems they have like lack of money and job loss, are very realistic. In that way you can relate, like and feel for them. J.K. Simmons is also strong and effective in a cameo as an alien expert.
From the beginning the audience knows aliens are the problem, even before the characters do. The narrative is straightforward and paying off one of the two most likely outcomes would have been fine, but director and writer Scott Stewart felt compelled to throw in a twist. He puts a scene in at the end showing all the dots that could have been connected throughout the movie, but the problem is there is nothing to tip off the audience that they should have been trying to connect any dots in the first place. You don't go one way, then slam the other way while pointing and saying 'see, it's in there.' It's just a filmmaker trying to prove he's smarter than the viewers, but it's hard to play along if you don't know you're supposed to. I'd give it 6.5 out of 10.
Obscure Television Series of the Week
Title: It's Your Move
Air Dates: Sept. 26, 1984 to Aug. 10, 1985
Cast: Jason Bateman as Matthew Burton, David Garrison as Norman Lamb, Caren Kay as Eileen Burton, Tricia Cast as Julie Burton, Adam Sadowsky as Eli, Ernie Sabella as Eli and Garrett Morris as Principal Dwight Ellis
Premise: This is the series that gave us Jason Bateman and the guy that played Steve on Married...With Children. Bateman's Matthew is the type of smooth talking teen con artist only found on television. He sold term papers, bugged his sister Julie's slumber parties for dirt and broke his single mom Eileen up with men he didn't approve of. The latest was their new next door neighbor Norman, a would-be writer. However, Norman proved more tenacious and smart than most. Norman and Matthew often butted heads, but a terse mutual respect developed.
Ask 411 Remembers
Actor Dale Robertson, 89, died of lung cancer Feb. 27. He was known for the western television shows Tells of Wales Fargo, Death Valley Days, Iron Horse and J.J. Starbuck. He also did a little singing as the below clip from Hee Haw demonstrates.
Actress Bonnie Franlin, 69, died March 1 of pancreatic cancer. She's best remembered as the lead in the television series One Day At a Time.
Q: I read there was a tie for the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing, between Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall. Is that the first tie in Oscar history, or have there been previous ties?
A: Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty tied for best sound mixing. It's not the first time there's been a tie in Oscar history. In fact, one of the performers on the show knew exactly what that felt like.
Barbara Streisand for Funny Girl and Katherine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter tied for best actress in 1968. The first tie was in 1932 when Frederic March for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Wallace Beery for The Champ were named best actor. This wasn't an exact tie. Beery won by a vote, but academy rules at the time allowed for two winners to be named if the final tally was within three votes. This was later changed.
In 1949, A Chance to Live and So Much for So Little tied for best documentary short. Best documentary feature was the category in 1986 when Artie Shaw: Time is All You've Got and Down and Out in America tied. The last tie before this year was in 1995 when It's a Wonderful Life and Trevor were named best live action shorts.
Q: Was Bob Saget always a raunchy standup, or did he change to go against the Danny Tanner persona?
A: Last week we talked about raunchy comedians who had squeaky clean TV images. Chief among them would be Bob Saget who starred on Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos.
Saget, 56, is a native of Philadelphia. He studied film at Temple University and won a Student Academy Award award of merit, yes from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the student equivalent of an Oscar, for the documentary Through Adam's Eyes about a boy who received facial reconstructive surgery. He went to the University of Southern California for graduate school, but quickly dropped out to pursue stand up comedy. Saget has said in interviews he was young and cocky, thinking he didn't need any further schooling to make his way in the world.
Saget said in a recent interview I found from the Vancouver Sun that he always liked to do projects completely different from his stand up comedy. He said he started doing stand up at 17. It didn't feature a lot of swearing, but did have some sexual humor and weird ideas. It was the small part of a doctor in the Richard Pryor movie Critical Condition that led to a stint hosting a morning show on CBS. He was let go after five months for being too edgy, but landed Full House shortly after. After the first season, Saget said ABC showed him a reel of people getting hit in the nuts and said he would host a show like that no problem.
A lot of people were introduced to Saget's raunchy side with The Aristocrats in 2005. In the above interview, Saget said he was goaded into doing such a raunchy version of the joke about a showbiz family trying to land a talent agent by filmmakers Penn Gillette and Paul Provenza. Saget said he doesn't try to be shocking or vulgar, but simply wants to create a set that fits his sense of humor and he views standup as a real craft.
Enjoy the below clip from early in Saget's career with Rodney Dangerfield. I heard Saget say on a tribute to Dangerfield that he was the only person he ever met that could use the word cock as an adverb. After first seeing his act, Saget said Dangerfield told him, "boy, you don't know cock."
Q: Hey Leonard seeing as how the geniuses at ABC canceled Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 and there are still some episodes that haven't aired do you think they'll eventually air them down the line, or maybe save them if the put out a DVD box set.
A: I really liked The B---- in Apartment 23, but haven't caught many episodes this year. In January, ABC announced that it was pulling the show from its lineup with eight episodes left to air of its second season. The next day, the show's stars on Twitter confirmed the series had been canceled. James Van Der Beek said there were eight episodes left unaired and he didn't know what ABC's plans for them were. ABC has not announced at this time if the episodes will be aired or released on DVD or through other means, like online. Traditionally, networks will use unaired original episodes of canceled shows during the doldrums of summer on bad nights like Fridays and Saturdays. It's better to burn them off than just let them set.
The series was on the bubble of cancellation last year with an average of 5.7 million viewers per episode. That was with the hit Modern Family as a lead in. This year it was moved to Tuesday night and earned a terrible 2.8 million viewers per episode. It's rating in the key 18-49 demographic went from 2.3 to 1.1, per the Nielsen Ratings.
Q: why won't skyler die!?!?
A: My question back to you would be who is Skyler and why do you want that person to die? A quick Google search reveals the most notable Skyler currently in popular culture is Skyler White, the wife of Walter White on Breaking Bad. She's played by Anna Gunn. Coming out of season five of the series, Skyler's relationship with Walt had dissolved to the point of pure hatred as she has battled depression and emotional breakdowns relating to fully accepting Walt's criminal activities. She took the couple's children out of the home and gave them to her sister Marie. This led Walt to tell Marie about her affair with Ted, turning Marie on Skyler. Skyler even took to smoking at home to exasperate Walt's condition from lung cancer and has promised to keep the kids out of the home until Walt dies.
Her actions toward Walt has caused a backlash against the character, not so much Gunn, from fans. I Hate Skyler White is a Facebook page and T-shirt. In a July interview with "Rolling Stone," Gunn said she felt some of the vitriol against her character was a general cultural phenomenon that responds to similar male and female characters in different ways. Walt is championed and people like him as a bad ass anti-hero. However, Skyler shows some of the same personality traits and people jump on the character. Gunn said she understands that fans relate to and like Walt, but there does seem to be a double standard when it comes to such male and female characters on television.
So, yeah, why won't Skyler die? Because that would really drain a lot of the emotional and dramatic tension from one of the best programs on television cited by critics and fans.
Next week, we'll look at the best stuntmen, extras and stand-ups to become actors, a possible Porky's remake and what happened to the cast members of the original movie. Be sure to send more questions and I'll see you then.
"If you're a prince, there's hope for every ape in Africa."