Monday, March 22, 2010

Ep. 2.08 - D-House - Sexual Dungeons and Dragons

On today's podcast, the Spitz's dark past comes back to haunt them as founding members Amanda Arguile and Paul Weigand come down from the hippie Utopia of San Francisco to pay a visit. Bear witness to our bizarre origins as Tony, James, Tim, Erik and myself take you for another roller-coaster-rocket-sled ride down memory lane. Other topics in this episode include: my brother might be a horse, the Bible could be an X-box Greatest Hit, nobody knows how to hum the Jurassic Park theme, and comic book conventions are in every town now.

But wait! There's more! We have a few events to plug. Come see us perform LIVE on Saturday, April 24th at 10:30 pm for a special sketch/improv show at the Found Theater. We will be going on right after their main stage production- the Medical Marijuana Telethon! Check out details here at

On an even wackier note- here's the info for the publicity stunt wrestling match yours truly will be involved in on Thursday March 25th. Will I get my ass handed to me by a high school kid? Will I suplex him into next Tuesday? Will I look fabulous either way? I think we all know the answer to the last question at least. Check out the info at this link here-!/event.php?eid=379109584306&ref=nf

Anyway on with the show- Episode 2.08- Sexual Dungeons and Dragons



Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ep 2.07 - IST - Is That What Skeet Means?

Heads up, hooligans! The gang has returned with another lean n' mean installment of the one and only Cherry Spitz Podcast. So much crammed into so little! We once again acknowledge the thing thing we all love to hate: Star Wars, then move onto Lost, Breakfast With The Beatles, public transit beatdowns, John Mayer, MF Doom and Bob Segar ("Ohhhhh! Like a rock!")


Music Bumpers
Knights of Cydonia by 8-Bit Muse
Dharma Lady by Geronimo Jackson
Rocket Skates by Deftones

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oscar, you so crazy!

Hollywood! Home to the stars! It is their town and their night is coming upon us once again. The 82nd Annual Academy Awards are to be held in just a few days. The Oscars are a time to celebrate the celebrated a little more. Our favorite actors, our most revered films, bestowed with honors that quantify their worthiness to be remembered by us. The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, Silence of the Lambs, American Beauty. These are just a few of the great classic films that will never be forgotten because they won that little gold statue. It elevates the status of your film, or your career, and it elevates our hopes and dreams a little too.

Here is a link to this year’s list of nominees

This year’s awards will be historic and debated as usual. That’s what keeps the Oscars at the forefront of the conversation. As George Clooney said so well in his acceptance speech in 2005,’how do you judge art?’ Real easy, George. Just like this;

The Show

The Academy Awards will be on TV. On a TV channel. At an hour that is consistent to the optimum viewing time of regular jerks at home. I’m not a freaking’ TV guide. Look it up. I can tell you that it’s going to be co-hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. The good Baldwin, the one that’s not fat or a reality TV whore, or dead. And hopefully good Steve Martin, not the House Sitter, Out-of-Towners, Bringing Down the House, Steve Martin. I want classic ‘Lucky Day’ Martin. This will be the first time since 1986 when Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Paul Hogan co-hosted the ceremony.

Like all things of our generation the awards show itself has become a circus of glamour and excess and a whole lot of ass kissing. Interest has waned in recent years. Even Jack Nicholson looks bored and he only attends the show after snorting 10 grams of coke out of an underage colon. I’m not advocating the watching of the awards show. But I advocate an interest in the awards themselves.

The Nomination Process

It should be easy. Get all the Academy members in a room, they all start deliberating, and several hours later they come out with a list of nominees. Or, put all the movie titles in a big circular cage. Give the cage a whirl, and have a scantily clad Mexican woman pull out the nominees. Or you could put the names of all the films from the year on individual cups, pour cat food in and release five cats to choose the nominees.

Any of those alternatives would be a great deal fairer than the way by which films are nominated now. Many of the processes by which a film or actor get nominated go largely unnoticed by the public.
Many people do not know that studios run campaigns for actors and films, sending out actual leaflets and pamphlets and booklets, creating posters and creating video clips all ‘For Your Consideration’. In some cases they have to choose for which film and for which category a certain actor will be nominated for. In 2006, Warner Bros. was faced with such decisions for the films Blood Diamond and the Departed. They had to choose first which film to nominate Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor. The rules for the Academy Awards say that no actor may be nominated twice in the same category in the same year. Meaning Leo could not compete against himself for Best Actor.

But the film Blood Diamond also starred Djimon Hounsou in a leading role, probably more of a leading role than Leo. No rules against two actors from the same film competing in one category, but that usually decrease the chances of either one winning. So the easy choice would be campaign Djimon for Best Actor and Leo Best Supporting. And then for The Departed Leo could be campaigned as Best Actor along with Matt Damon, and everyone else would be campaigned for Best supporting Actor. It’s not an extremely controversial decision the studio had to make. The point is that the studios decide the nominees as much as any Academy voter and that does not seem kosher to me.

In fact the weight of an Academy members vote is heavily regulated by the rules of the academy as well. In order for the vote to count for a particular category, that individual voter has to have seen all the nominated films or performances in that category. While this is completely fair and logical it has proven impractical. Many Academy voters do not get to see all the nominated films before it’s time to turn in their vote. The most recent victim of this was 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth, a film everyone widely expected to win Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. It didn’t. It didn’t because many votes that were for that film were disqualified because that voter had not seen all the films in the category.

The Technical Stuff

The awards for editing, sound design, visual effects, etc. are sometimes very hard to determine. And really are probably the most meaningless to your average audience. A lot of films have amazing special effects or are just incredibly visually stunning. The Academy still tries to get a sweeping romance that features great natural visuals in there for art direction and things like that. But more and more these categories are overrun by the big budget effects driven film.

This year I highly expect a clean sweep of the technical awards by Avatar. But these could go all over the place. In some cases this is the only award a film really has a chance of winning. Star Trek for makeup some would think, but a period piece like The Young Victoria is most likely at the head of the class. But most of these categories just don’t even make sense. Transformers 2 gets nominated for Sound Mixing and not Sound Editing? Not starting an outcry on behalf of Transformers, just saying that doesn’t make sense. These are the awards that make the ceremony long as hell.

The Actors

This is the meat and potatoes of the Oscars. The Best Actor/Actress and Supporting Actor/Actress categories are usually a two horse race. The other horses are simply brought to the show to be bid on by dog food manufacturers. This holds true this year. In the Best Actor category the two that stand out as front runners are Jeff Bridges for his performance in Crazy Heart, and Jeremy Renner in the Hurt Locker. The Academy has never been keen on giving an actor multiple Oscars, although it has occurred a number of times. George Clooney and Morgan Freeman both have little gold buddies already, and Colin Firth seems like the guy that accidentally got invited for a being in a movie whose title is easily confused with a good one (A Simple Man- A Serious Man).

Best Supporting Actor could really go to any of these wonderful actors and I would not be displeased. Sometimes Oscars are given for career achievement and not so much for that particular film, i.e. Al Pacino- Scent of a Woman. But I feel like this one is absolutely in the bag for Christoph Waltz, as Col. Landa in Inglorious Basterds. He reaches Hannibal Lecter-esque levels of cinematic villainy. But he could get surprised by Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones. But if ever an actor deserved recognition for a lifetime of grand performances, it would be Christopher Plummer.

This year they have made things real easy for the Actress categories. Mo’nique will win Best Supporting Actress fulfilling the Academy’s recent quota for an ethnic winner. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick will cancel each other out because they are nominated for the same film, Up in the Air. Maggie Gyllenhaal is simply there. Penelope Cruz won just last year. And I fear that Penelope Cruz is slowly becoming the next Meryl Streep, being nominated every year whether she deserves it or not.

And speaking of Mrs. Streep, she won’t win. Like it or not Sandra Bullock will be an Oscar winning Actress. Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep have both won already and are the token, classic nominations, that helps justify the other nominees. Carey Mulligan seems like a real long shot and this might be the last time you’re even really aware of her existence. Same can be said about Gabourey Sidibe in Precious but she’s the only real competition I see for Sandra Bullock. But this is Sandra’s year. That wildcat, that congenial, internet hacking gem of an actress will be bestowed an Academy Award for a role playing the most generic of white southern corn bread American women in a film that ranks just above Rollerball in both the sports and inspirational genres.

The Directors

This could be a very tight race. I will say that there is no doubt in my mind, that the film whose Director wins, will not be named Best Picture. James Cameron could win it again, if Avatar is having a big night up to that point, expect him too. Quentin Tarantino seems like the favorite to win it. The film itself is a masterful display of his various talents as a filmmaker, but a win would be more a career achievement. Lee Daniels for Precious and Jason Reitman for Up in the Air are nice stories. Glad they get a moment in the spotlight but it is neither ones year. I expect Reitman to have many more chances though.

Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker is a weird surprise. Not cause she’s a women, but because she directed Point Break. Yeah that FBI surfer movie. Hrm, so the director of Point Break and one of the stars of Speed could win Academy Awards? Holy shit, is Keanu Reeves going to get one in the next year too?! Whoa.

The Films

For the first time since 1943, the Academy has expanded its list of nominees for Best Picture of the Year to ten, from the usual five. Why did they do this? Simply, many critics have felt the last several years have produced such a plethora of worthy films that many have gone completely unrecognized by the Academy. Last year most notably The Dark Knight and Wall-E were overlooked for Best Picture nominations. So it was decided to expand the tournament to ten.

The advantages of doing so would be more apparent in other years before. 2005 in particular had an amazing number of outstanding films that went completely unrecognized by the Academy, such as Lord of War, History of Violence, Jarhead, and The New World. Worthy films that if given a chance to compete, might have just as easily surprised the field as Crash did. But in this particular year, 2009, we had a drought of fantastic entries into the cinematic library. The field of nominees this year is not particularly inspiring to the memory of the classics that have won before. The winner seems pre destined to live out history on a list of Best Picture winners that were undeservedly crowned. The Greatest Show on Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, and Shakespeare in Love, those will be this year’s brethren.

But a winner must be decided, and if you’re having trouble figuring it out, I can help. I approach this like a scantron examination. A multiple choice quiz if you will. In a multiple choice, you begin by eliminating answers you know to be completely wrong. In this case the similarities between certain films are the key to unlocking the winner.

The two most obviously similar films are Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire and The Blind Side. Both of these films are about the perseverance of two very large African American teens through the adversities of the ghetto and an underprivileged life. Standard Oscar fare, I’m not sure either is a worthy candidate, but the fit into a category that the Academy likes very much. But the similarities cancel out, to make these films losers.

Next are the two war films. Inglorious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s violent World War II opus. Great flick with lots of slow paced tension building, and an amazing finish. The Hurt Locker, a film about an Iraqi war bomb unit. Lots of tension and drama, fueled by the risk our soldiers bare in the fight against terrorism. Both films have equally atrocious villains, both take place in war time, and both take place outside the United States. Inglorious Basterds lacks any real main character, focusing on an array of characters that develop the plot rather than the plot developing them. And Hurt Locker lacks any real plot at all. They cause each other to lose.

Up and Up in the Air are both about old men learning how to live life again while thousands of feet in the air. And they both have up in the name. Too similar they lose. And I am extremely perplexed that Up was even nominated for this category at all. First of all it now becomes the second animated film to be nominated for Best Picture, the first being Beauty and the Beast. Not to put Up down( ha ha ha ha ha!) but, seriously it now holds that distinction over oh I don’t know, Aladdin, The Lion King, or The Iron Giant! Its inclusion in this category hurts its chances of winning in the category Best Animated Film. That category almost certainly belongs to Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox now.

A Serious Man is about a Jewish man in the 60’s living in a Midwest suburban landscape, fighting to find his place in a world he seems unfit for. District 9 is about Aliens in the 2000’s living in a South African slum, fighting to find their place in a world they seem unfit for. The exact same movie.

That leaves An Education and Avatar. Actually An Education has more similarities to A Serious Man, as both are sort of coming of age films that take place in the 60’s. An Education features some fine performances and perhaps memorable characters, but its story is formulaic and uninteresting. While Avatar is a behemoth at the box office, it too is formulaic by todays standards, borrowing story elements from Pocahontas and Dances With Wolves. Many have complained about this, albeit very ignorantly. To say that being similar to a critically applauded, Award winning, sweeping classic of a film is no insult. But in Avatar’s case it might be an overstatement.

Are any of these films truly worthy of being bestowed a title of Best Picture of the Year? Not really. Inglorious Basterds and District 9 are probably the only ones that could win without completely insulting every movie lover out there. None of these films stands out as lasting entries in the world of cinema. Except one. Its already changing the way movies are made, watched, and experienced, for better or worse.

The Best Picture of 2009 will be Avatar.
Try to enjoy the show now.

(The Author of this article would like to note that he has not seen any of the nominated films but one.)
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