January 18, 2006


Suicide Is Painless--At The Box Office (Ed Driscoll, January 18, 2006)

Somehow Hollywood just keeps finding ways to make their upcoming Oscar Awards in March as politicized as possible. First there's the films in competition for the main awards, which include such Red State favorites as Syriana, Good Night, and Good Luck, Munich, and Brokeback Mountain. Then there's the choice of Jon Stewart from Comedy Central's Daily Show as the host.

And for the piece de résistance, as they in Old Europe, last week, it was announced that the Academy will be awarding an honorary Oscar to Robert Altman. [...]

[C]oming later this year is Altman's next film: the movie version of A Prairie Home Companion written by Garrison Keillor. The day after the 2004 election, Keillor told a Chicago audience:

"I'm trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to born-again Christians," Keillor smirked. "I feel if your citizenship is in Heaven-like a born again Christian's is-you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If born again Christians are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?"

Pretty funny bit on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning yesterday--they read off the list of Golden Globe winners to see if either of them had either seen the movies and actors or even heard of them. Being straight white men they hadn't for most.

In Movies, Big Issues, for Now (DAVID CARR, 1/18/06, NY Times)

It is an odd moment in cultural history, with the year's string of weighty contenders, plus less-heralded efforts like "Munich" and "Jarhead," doing their own form of reality programming. (Imagine: Only two years ago, our big Oscar-film issue was whether Frodo and Sam would destroy the ring.)

The current movie mood was probably inevitable. In an atomized news media culture, Jon Stewart is not the only nontraditional source of political thought. His selection as host of the Oscars can be read as one more reaction to the shock of the election to the industry's liberal elite and perhaps a sign that it may be willing, for the moment anyway, to grab that opportunity with both hands.

"With 'Syriana,' 'Good Night, and Good Luck' and 'The Constant Gardener,' some people are saying it is almost a 70's revival in terms of political movies," said Rachel Weisz, who won for her supporting role in "Gardener."

Imagine being so isolated from your own culture that you think the messages in the drivel he writes about here are weightier than those in the films Americans are actually watching, like The Passion, Lord of the Rings and Narnia?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 18, 2006 9:16 AM

Hollywood and especially Keillor care not a jot, but I personally take great comfort in my indifference to both.

Posted by: Genecis at January 18, 2006 9:35 AM

The Jon Stewart thing really shows how out of touch they are. He's often pretty funny and I know he is popular amomg younger viewers. But he is on a cable channel only. How many people actually watch his show? In raw numbers, probably far less than those who watch the WB.

Stewart brings hipness but zero audience. So, these awards will bring the lowest ratings ever.

Posted by: Bob at January 18, 2006 9:39 AM

Keillor must really be feeling the advancing years. Nothing else explains his hostility towards Christianity but the fear of death.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 18, 2006 9:48 AM

The thing about Stewart as host is that his fame has been built almost totally on political humor, about three-quarters of it liberal, as opposed to past hosts, like Johnny Carson or even (for one disastarous show) David Letterman. Both did/do political humor and both are/were liberals, but it's not their end-all, be-all for their popularity.

Since Stewart has shown all the signs over the past year or two of suffering from Bill Mahr Disease, in which you feel drawn to eschewing straight comedy to speaking Truth to Power, and since he's also shown mild signs at time of Bush Derangement Syndrome, if I were the ABC public relations department, I would have the apology forms already filled out and ready for e-mailing and faxing by the time the show goes on-air March 5.

Posted by: John at January 18, 2006 9:59 AM

He can't be worse than Whoopi Goldberg.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at January 18, 2006 10:03 AM

Imagine being so isolated that one would look with longing back to the 1970's. (shudder)

Posted by: Mikey at January 18, 2006 10:13 AM

I don't even care that Stewart is liberal. Why shouldn't liberal Hollywood have a liberal host to host a show honoring all those liberal-themed movies?

The big mistake with him hosting is that he's a one-trick pony with that schtick he does. He's essentially the straight-man anchor to all the funny "reporters" on The Daily Show. His glaring weakness is in engaging with his studio audience.

Posted by: Matt Cohen at January 18, 2006 10:17 AM

I used to listen to Prarie Home Companion in the 1980s, and it was actually good back then. (Then Keillor "retired," and NPR put on the Noah Adams Prarie Clone Companion, but that's another discussion for another thread.) Part of what made it good was that Keillor seemd to have a real affection for Pastor Inqvist and Father Wilmar (pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsiblity) and the other denizens of Lake Wobegon--and their real-life counterparts in real small towns--even as he was mining comedy from their daily lives.

In more recent years, he's declared his absolute contempt for everyone outside his elite circle of wealthy blue-state snobs. (Sample: "It [the 2002 election] was a dreadful low moment for the Minnesota voters. To choose Coleman over Walter Mondale is one of those dumb low-rent mistakes, like going to a great steakhouse and ordering the tuna sandwich.") It's hard to listen to a Lake Wobegon story anymore without hearing more than a little tinge of mockery.

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 18, 2006 10:51 AM

Mikey, Agree totally with your shudder, but I doubt she is old enough to remember anything about what a reall ugly decade the '70's were

Posted by: jdkelly at January 18, 2006 12:07 PM

Pretty funny bit on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning yesterday--they read off the list of Golden Globe winners to see if either of them had either seen the movies and actors or even heard of them. Being straight white men they hadn't for most.

OJ: You're that sure about Greenberg?

Posted by: AC at January 18, 2006 1:20 PM

A fraternity brother of mine, who gay guys always hit on, works there and Greenburg has never put any moves on him....

Posted by: oj at January 18, 2006 1:37 PM

Altman may realize his dream of making a movie more boring than Quintet.

I dislike Altman's movies except for California Split, a great (yes, great) movie about gambling, and The Long Goodbye, which for some reason I have to watch when it comes on cable late at night even though it bugs me (parts of California Split irritate me as well). Both were made in (and are about) the 70's and feature Eliott Gould.

Posted by: Carter at January 18, 2006 2:08 PM

Jon Stewart wasn't anybody's first choice to host the Oscars. He was the first one to say yes.

Posted by: erp at January 18, 2006 2:32 PM

Isn't Keillor a lapsed Lutheran? And yet he sounds as hostile as Harry used to. I think the comment about his fear of death is right.

Posted by: ratbert at January 18, 2006 3:51 PM

Isn't Keillor a lapsed Lutheran? And yet he sounds as hostile as Harry used to. I think the comment about his fear of death is right.

Posted by: ratbert at January 18, 2006 3:52 PM

oj: Greenie is not gay, but he is a metrosexual.

Posted by: pchuck at January 18, 2006 5:28 PM

A significant difference.

Posted by: oj at January 18, 2006 5:33 PM

Do we all listen to Mike & Mike? I thought you guys were all listening to Imus or NPR.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 18, 2006 6:11 PM

Variety is the spice of life...within narrowly prescribed boundaries, of course....

Posted by: oj at January 18, 2006 6:35 PM

Not only do we listen to Mike&Mike, but some of us (me!) watch the simulcast on ESPN2. Good stuff, but they must stop it with the disrespect of my Broncos:(

Even though it's only been on since 1/3, I have to think that the next Nielsen ratings will show Mike&Mike to have better ratings than Imus.

Posted by: Brad S at January 18, 2006 6:35 PM

1. Who is Greenberg?

2. "Isn't Keillor a lapsed Lutheran?" IIRC, he grew up in a church called the Plymoth Bretheren, about which I know knothing. I don't know how this relates to his ditching Margaret Moose and running off to Denmark.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 18, 2006 9:35 PM

Mike & Mike is great. I sometimes like Colin Cowherd; although a couple of weeks ago he was praising Clooney's Syrianna as a "thinking man's movie". I absolutely loathe Dan Patrick and his little friend Keith Oberman.

I have to say I really dislike ESPN television and the Sportscenterization of sports. I can't stand the booyahs and the smarmy/smart-alec comments. This includes referring to people as T.O. and A.I. and referring to shows such as P.T.R. Also, what is up with ESPN Hollywood starring that guy Slater from Saved By the Bell?

I tell ya, it is bad for sports.

Posted by: pchuck at January 19, 2006 12:22 PM
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