happy anniversary!

0031.JPGWell it’s been a year since procrastinationchronicles.com had its first post! Can you believe it? No, me neither. Since then I’ve upgraded from basic cable to standard cable, and don’t think it’s worth the money but don’t know if I could go back. I still have my old school tivo that only records one channel with a back up vcr, that lifetime membership makes it hard to pay to upgrade. Though I admit my next entertainment purchase just might be a flat screen television. I’ve watched more hours on television than I’d like to count. And of course I still spend a moment or two of my time on things other than tv like reading and going to the movies.

Anyhow, hopefully it’s been as fun to read as it has been to write. Thanks for all of your support, keep reading and watching. : )


– the procrastinator

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the balcony is closed

siskel_ebert.jpgSo I spent much of my childhood getting the thumbs up from Siskel and Ebert as to what was worth a go at the movies. With the sad parting of Gene Siskel I never quite grew accustomed to the finally permanent replacement of Richard Roeper. It’s good to get a feel for a reviewer’s taste but if on the whole you don’t agree that much with them, but not in a totally opposite way, it’s hard to see the review as much help.

Roger Ebert has had health issues that have kept him off the show for a couple of years now and a cycle of guest hosts have kept Roeper company. I still found the thumbs up system (with a helpful tag of moderate or enthusiastically so) to continue to be a great awareness on a movie’s merit. But to be honest one of the main reasons I stopped tuning in was because they would give away too much about the movie whilst arguing its worth.

ebert_roeper.jpgWell Roeper has decided not to/was unable to renew his contract and Ebert has decided that he no longer wants to be associated with the current Disney show and he’s taking his thumbs with him. Ebert and Siskel’s widow own the rights… He says the thumbs will be back and Roeper intends to join a new venture that maintains the early integrity that Siskel and Ebert set.

The final show will air the weekend of August 16. Then what do I do? Turn to the clapping or sleeping man in the Chronicle reviews?

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top 5 movies

biggidget.jpgSome friends and I were talking about favorite movies and Citizen Kane came up as someone’s favorite. And although I can certainly appreciate what the film did for its time I had to admit that I found it unwatchable (insert gasp here) and would never put it in my favorite pile.

Turns out although some folks consider favorite movies to be great films, most put their favorites as movies they just would watch again and again. Maybe because they’re great for what they are, maybe because of where you were at when you watched them first, and honestly often because they’re light enough to pop in on any occasion. This brought about the arduous plan of coming up with a top 5.

So here goes (as always I should caveat that this list could vary any time I made it): 

  1. Gidget – I am often without the ability to name a favorite anything, it’s just too great a commitment to one thing and I feel like I am far to complex to have anything sum up my tastes, but… for movies I can honestly say that this is the one, it’s got whimsy, nostalgia, surfing, female empowerment, cute outfits and good old fashioned romance.
  2. Buckaroo Banzai – I’m a fan of the sort of comic book film and this one, bringing a bit of sci fi and camp, was a delight and I am sad there was just the one, but I’ll always be a Blue Blaze Irregular at heart. Other comic flicks I enjoy include Batman Begins, Blade and Josie and the Pussycats.
  3. Breakfast Club – Ah the 80’s and the brat pack and all that crap, I have to say of the teen flicks this one still holds water, though I have to admit that my Nicholas Cage crush began with Valley Girl, and of course who could resist Heathers.
  4. Clueless – This is sort of what I consider the post-80’s 80’s movie, and there’s obviously something about the youngsters that can pull off the drama with a bit of timeliness and fun. Also in the fun category Cruel Intentions and Bring it On.
  5. 13 Going on 30 – Who can resist a romantic comedy done right? It’s a pity they so rarely are but this film is delightful and brings it all together from start to finish.

And yes they’re all a bit fluffy, so with a quick stab at some of the movies that I recall enjoying immensely but wouldn’t necessarily make my top five (not comprehensive by any means and in alphabetical order):

American History X, Amores Perros, Being John Malkovich, City of God, Election, Freeway, Memento, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Riding Giants, The Wizard of Oz, Young Frankenstein

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my must-see movies of 2007

3-10-to-yuma1.jpgSo I like to do an annual top ten movie list, since I typically see a lot of movies. Unfortunately with all the movies that come out at the end of the year that are supposed to be great, I am always quite behind. I have been planning to do a little catch up on dvds but as my dvd player just broke, with ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’ in it (I only caught the first ten minutes). I took that as a sign of the official end of my 2007 movie watching. 

  • 3:10 to Yuma – I love Christian Bale and this movie worked for me as he played a simple rancher just trying to keep his family afloat and he, and his son, get drawn into the transport and life of robber Russell Crowe.
  • The Lookout – Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job as a guy who survived a car accident with memory issues and gets caught up in a bank robbery.
  • Michael Clayton – George Clooney plays a lawyer who ‘fixes things’ and gets caught up in a case that he might not be able to, or want to fix, Clooney and the supporting cast are excellent as the tension builds.
  • Atonement – I actually read this book and though I liked it I was a little thrown by the three separate pieces which this movie was able to meld together in a lovely sweeping war/romance/period piece.
  • Gone Baby Gone – The Affleck’s are doing well as Ben directs Casey in this Lehane novel adaptation of Boston detectives working a kidnapping.
  • Eastern Promises – I was expecting to hate this latest Cronenberg from the previews, why is this idiotic woman Naomi Watts getting involved with the Russian mob and attractive but dangerous Viggo Mortenson? But the mafia life and Watt’s involvement are compelling, and Viggo is crazy good, or good at crazy.
  • Into the Wild – Another movie I expected to not love as we watch this young guy go… into the wild… knowing he won’t come out. And though I thought the ending could have been handled a little better, they did a great job wrapping a story around this character and his journey.
  • No Country for Old Men – I will admit that I didn’t love this Coen brother’s movie, but I did think it was really well done as small town folks follow the money or the bodies.
  • Lars and the Real Girl/Waitress/Juno – Of these Lars was my favorite with real originality and heart but they got some similar indie buzz so I thought I’d address them together. They did some great things as films free from big studio restraint can and I love that people loved their simple characters and stories and writing, they’re such an important part of the annual film options.

I have noted to date what movies I’ve seen so you’ll know I didn’t official hate ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ for example, though I may have (I mean really, the guy just blinks), but I just haven’t seen it yet. And I should caveat although this list is in a loose order, I would potentially put them in a different order each time I tried to make a list. I also sadly didn’t have a great cheesy movie this year, teen film, action or otherwise, good thing the next Bat Man is coming out soon.

For a full list of 2007 movies I was referring to the 2007 Academy Eligible list.

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and the show went on

heiglWell the Oscars were neither canceled nor postponed thanks to the writer’s strike settling. We were sort of wondering if they had enough time to write jokes for Jon Stewart, and if maybe he might not have been better off just winging it. If he started one more joke off with saying something nice and then… like ‘how great is that Julie Christie, (wait for audience applause) speaking of great…’ I do generally like Stewart and enjoyed him previously so I’ll cut him some slack and admit some chuckles but overall he lacked spark and wit.

And the presenters overall were fine. Owen Wilson rushing through his lines, but nice to see him out again. But what was up with some of the choices on who presents, I get the whole former winners, but Mily Cyrus? I just don’t know. (Though she was maybe the hottest of Barbara Walter’s guests, but I would have axed her and stuck with Juno’s Ellen Paige, we agreed not two youngin’s – and a friend questioned doesn’t Barbara normally only have three guests – but this is all mostly irrelevant.)

tilda swintonOverall there were no real surprises, except maybe that I won my Oscar pool. Oh and maybe that they let that nice girl who co-won the song for ‘Once’ come back on stage after she didn’t get a chance to thank folks. No one in my group picked the documentary but all the hype really was for ‘No End in Sight,’ though it’s still sitting on top of my TV unwatched in its Netflix sleeve.

And most importantly there were very few seriously stunning dresses and few stinkers. I admittedly tend to nitpick so there were a number of dresses that I generally liked but had an issue or two with. I thought Katherine Heigle’s was near perfection. The simple red dress was just the right color and cut on her, and it had just enough detail to make it interesting. And the rest of her look complimented it, and her, wonderfully.

ddlewisIn the stinker category, I hate to say it because I love the quirkiness, but I just couldn’t get into Tilda Swinton’s one sleeve muumuu, and her clean skin and stark hair just didn’t do it for this look. And I hate to pick on a spouse but the woman with Daniel Day Lewis could learn that less is more. The red bow sleeves and the giant center jewels scared me every time they panned to him.

And if you missed the rest of the awards you can catch the winners at http://www.oscars.org/80academyawards/nominees/

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and the nomination goes to…


Well it’s that time again… We’re still waiting to see how the writer’s strike will affect the Academy Awards show but today the nominations are out. I did mention these might be the only awards I follow didn’t I? Well I think it might be true.

I’ve got some more movies to watch before I can accurately pick the winners in my Oscar pool. Though we’ve all agreed watching the movies is a detriment to voting because you allow yourself to be swayed by what you want, or don’t want, as opposed to what will win. Let’s just say I thought I learned my lesson about standing on principles the year my refusal to vote for Titanic sunk my hopes of a win.

Maybe this year I’ll be stronger, though I have to admit I might already be in trouble, I liked but wasn’t in love with the two seeming frontrunners No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, and I thought Juno was cute enough, but Best Picture? We’ll see if Atonement or Michael Clayton will sway me, though I’m not sure Michael Clayton is playing anywhere maybe it will return to wider release.

Following are some of the major categories and for those of you interested you can see the full list of nominees at http://www.oscars.org/80academyawards/nominees/

Best Picture
“Michael Clayton”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

George Clooney, “Michael Clayton”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “There Will Be Blood”
Johnny Depp, “Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
Tommy Lee Jones, “In the Valley of Elah”
Viggo Mortensen, “Eastern Promises”

Cate Blanchett, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
Julie Christie, “Away From Her”
Marion Cotillard, “La Vie en Rose”
Laura Linney, “The Savages”
Ellen Page, “Juno”

Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
Javier Bardem, “No Country for Old Men”
Hal Holbrook, “Into the Wild”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Charlie Wilson’s War”
Tom Wilkinson, “Michael Clayton”

Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, “I’m Not There”
Ruby Dee, “American Gangster”
Saoirse Ronan, “Atonement”
Amy Ryan, “Gone Baby Gone”
Tilda Swinton, “Michael Clayton”

Julian Schnabel, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Jason Reitman, “Juno”
Tony Gilroy, “Michael Clayton”
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, “No Country for Old Men”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood”

Adapted Screenplay
Christopher Hampton, “Atonement”
Sarah Polley, “Away from Her”
Ronald Harwood, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, “No Country for Old Men”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood”

Original Screenplay
Diablo Cody, “Juno”
Nancy Oliver, “Lars and the Real Girl”
Tony Gilroy, “Michael Clayton”
Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava and Jim Capobianco, “Ratatouille”
Tamara Jenkins, “The Savages.”

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not so golden globes

globeSo I didn’t watch the Golden Globe ‘announcement’ show last night because my cable went out. I did read today that the NBC version where the announcements were slightly delayed, as hosts tried to make it all entertainment, was painful to watch, whilst E! and TV Guide were able to just show the straight up announcements made by folks such as Dayna Devon of Extra and Mary Hart of Entertainment Tonight. Not much to see. The main selects for Motion Picture were Atonement (Drama), Sweeny Todd (Musical or Comedy), and The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (Foreign Language). And for Television Series we got Mad Men (Drama) and Extras (Musical or Comedy). For the full list of nominees and winners you can check out the official site at: http://www.goldenglobes.org/nominations/

The fact that my cable stopped me from watching isn’t entirely true, my cable did go out, but I was debating whether to Tivo the show anyhow. I mean we all knew it wouldn’t be worth watching and I don’t particularly care who wins at this. For some reason I never care about awards for television, maybe because I already know what I like and it won’t effect what I watch. Or maybe I think there are generally too many great underrated shows and actors who don’t get appreciated, and too many cable shows that I don’t watch who do, for me to really generate enthusiasm for winners or disdain for those not honored.

And for films I have to say I generally structure the couple months of my movie watching leading up to the Academy Awards around the nominees and have been in an Oscar pool since I can remember. But the Globes aren’t particularly noteworthy for predicting the winners and I find division on film nominations between Drama and Musical or Comedy typically make for an odd pool of nominees particularly for the Musical or Comedy category.

As a side note about my cable, I know this is typical but I went to sleep Friday night with cable working, and I turned on my television Saturday and it wasn’t. I called my service provider and I got a guy trying to walk me through some ‘trouble shooting’ before sending a guy out. But my television and tivo and vcr and dvd are all wired together in a somewhat complicated manner that checking each connection through my entertainment unit is a huge pain. And I wasn’t expecting to touch any of that until I got my new flat screen tv. So unless someone unplugged something or a rabbit chewed through a wire (someone in my office had this happen, but he has a rabbit) I think it’s a problem with the cable. We’ll see sometime between 3 and 5:00 today.

As for strike news we’ll see if things get resolved before the Academy Awards, or if they can reach a sort of a la carter negotiation like Letterman with his shows, but it promises for a rough season in too many ways. Also of note the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Television and Motion Pictures Producers met yesterday to try to hash out their contract which could either indicate what sort of deal the writers could get (or could have gotten), or of course worst case scenario lead to another strike. Fingers always crossed we can wrap up this mess with equitable agreements for all.

Oh and I loved this J. Emilio Flores for New York Times photo of the unused Globe props being carried away.

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must-see movies of 2007

no countryTis the season for tv repeats, end of the year Top Ten lists, and leaving your house to go to the movies. For those folks who screen movies early, here is a compilation of what some are calling the Best of 2007, including nominations from awards and such. Those marked with an * are winners, or number ones, the cream of the crop some might say.

Who is getting the most votes? Who do you agree with? Take a look and see. I’ll update the list as new picks are out and some time in 2008 I will have seen enough movies to feel like I can do my own little top ten list.

  • Across the Universe – GG
  • After the Wedding – RS
  • American Gangster – CCA, GG, PT, RR
  • The Assassination of Jesse James – BM, LS, MLS, MSN, NBR, SFFCC
  • Atonement – CCA, GG, MLS, MSN, NBR, NYFCO, PH, PT,  RC, US
  • Away From Her – DE, Sat
  • Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – AFI, MLS, NYFCO, OG, PT, RS, SAT, TV
  • Beowolf – RC
  • Black Book – RS, TV
  • The Bourne Ultimatum – NBR
  • Breach – RS, SK
  • The Bucket List – NBR
  • Charlie Wilson’s War – BM, GG
  • Children of Men – SK
  • Dan in Real Life – MLS, RS
  • The Darjeeling Limited – NYFCO
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – AFI, BM, CCA, DE, DGA, MSN, NYFCO*, TV
  • Eastern Promises – GG, PT, SAT, TV, US
  • Flanders – MLS
  • 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days – AOS*, LS
  • Golden Door – MLS
  • Gone Baby Gone – RR, SK
  • Grace is Gone – DE
  • The Great Debaters – GG
  • Great World of Sound – GA, TV
  • Grindhouse – OG, PH
  • Hairspray – GG, SAT, US
  • The Host – PH
  • I’m Not There – AOS, GA, LS, MSN, NYFCO, OG*, PT, US
  • In the Valley of Elah – RC, RS, SK
  • Into the Wild – AFI, AOS, CCA, DGA, GA*, PT, MSN, NBR
  • Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis – OG
  • Juno – AFI, CCA, GG, NBR, NYFCO, PH, PT, RR, SAT, US
  • Killer of Sheep – RC
  • The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters – PH
  • The Kite Runner – CCA, NBR
  • Knocked Up – AFI, AOS, LS, PH, PT, SAT, US
  • Lady Chatterley – LS
  • Lars and the Real Girl – NBR, SAT
  • Little Children – RC, SK
  • The Lives of Others – BM, OG, SK
  • The Lookout – RR, SAT, SK
  • Margot at the Wedding – GA, MSN, SAT
  • Michael Clayton – AFI, CCA, DE, DGA, GG, NBR, NYFCO, OG, PH, RR*, RS*, TV
  • A Mighty Heart – US
  • The Namesake – GA
  • No Country for Old Men – AFI, BM, BSFC, CCA*, DE, DGA, GG, LS, MLS, MSN, NBR*, NYFCC, NYFCO, PH, PT*, RC*, RR, RS,  SAT*, SK*, US
  • No End In Sight – DE, LS, OG, RC
  • Once – BM, OG, RR
  • Paprika – TV
  • Paris Je T’Aime – RR
  • Persepolis – BM, DE, LS, NYFCO, RC
  • Ratatouille – AFI, AOS, BM, DE, MSN, PH
  • Redacted – MLS
  • Revolution Summer – MLS
  • The Savages – AFI, AOS, BM, DE, PH, RS
  • Shoot ’em Up – Sat
  • Superbad – OG, RR
  • Sweeny Todd – AOS, BM, CCA, DE, GG, NBR, NYFCO, PT, RC, US
  • Terror’s Advocate – AOS
  • There Will Be Blood – AFI, AOS, CCA, DE, DGA, GG, LAF*, LS*, MSN, NYFCO*, PT, RS
  • 3:10 to Yuma – SAT, SK
  • 12:08 East of Bucharest – AOS
  • 28 Weeks Later – SK
  • Waitress – RC, MLS
  • The Wind That Shakes the Barley – TV
  • Zodiac – LS, MSN, OG, RR, TV, US

AFI – Boston Society of Film Critics, BM – Bob Mondello on All Things Considered/NPR, CCA-Critics Choice Awards Nomineess, DCFC-DC Area Film Critics Association, DE – David Edelstein for Fresh Air/NPR, DGA – Director’s Guild of America, GG-Golden Globe Nominations, GA-Gotham Awards, SK-Stephen King (seen in 2007), LAF- LA Film Critics, MLS – Mick LaSalle for SF Chronicle, NBR – National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, LS – Lisa Schwarzbaum for EW, MSN, NYFCC-New York Film Critics Circle, NYFCO – New York Film Critics Online, OG – Owen Gleiberman for EW, PH – Peter Hartlaub for SF Chronicle, PT – Peter Travers for Rolling Stone, SAT – Satellite Awards, SFFCC – San Francisco Film Critics Circle, RC-Richard Corliss-Time, RR – Richard Roeper for Ebert and Roeper, RS-Richard Shickel-Time, TV – TV Guide, US-US Weekly

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