We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Basketballs! – 2/3/10


Okay, today I’ll introduce y’all to a new type of post that will show up once every so often: “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Basketballs!”  I call it that because, well, the stuff I choose to write on those days will have nothing whatsoever to do with basketball.  Sometimes it’ll be random oddities (like the first two items), or things that happened recently (like my last item where I talk about yesterday’s Oscar nominations and my few beefs with it).

—First on the list: a web site called “Selleck Waterfall Sandwich.”  What is on this site you may ask?  Um, it’s poorly Photoshopped images of Tom Selleck over waterfall pictures… with a random large scale sandwich there too.  It even has a theme song, where someone (I think a kid) just says “Selleck Waterfall Sandwich” over and over again.  Why someone chose to do this (&keeps adding new pictures) is beyond me, but who am I to judge other people’s bizarre obsessions.

—Second, and men, you may wanna skip this one (granted my readers are probably all men except for my Mom), is a penis restaurant in China.  Yup, a place that specializes in balls and shafts of various animals for rich businessmen.  Now, again, those of you guys who’ve kept reading, you really may wanna skip this quote below.  It’s so disturbing and uncomfortable, I can’t help but include the British reporter’s description of how a member gets processed for consumption:

"I ask a chef to show us the preparation of a penis, so that I can get a feel for the process. He enters holding aloft an eye-wateringly large yak’s knob. It’s about 45cm long, but thin, so thin. It’s been boiled gently and – I can’t believe I’m writing this – peeled, except for a hunk of foreskin still clinging on to the end. He cuts the thing in half lengthways with a pair of scissors.As he chops through the very tip of this impressive member, I feel an undeniable empathy twitch in my own penis and a bizarre feeling of nausea in my groin. (I didn’t think groins could experience nausea.) I can’t help yelping in sympathy.He then uses a knife to make hundreds of little snips along the side of the penis and chops the strips into 5cm pieces. When these are dropped into boiling stock, they curl up into little flower shapes that are so incongruous, I can barely believe my eyes."

—Umm, moving onto more normal things: Oscar nominations.  For those who don’t know, this year the Oscars decided to nominate 10 films for best picture instead of the normal five so that they could get a wider range of nominees.  And by wider range they mean not just the great little indies that mainstream America has never seen or heard of like “There Will Be Blood” or “Frost/Nixon.”  Oh, but all the other awards still only have 5 noms.  Yesterday morning they announced that the 10 films that won best picture nominations are: Avatar, Up In The Air, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, District 9, Up, Precious (Based On The Novel “Push” by Sapphire), A Serious Man, An Education, and The Blind Side.

Personally, I didn’t love “An Education,” but lots of others have, so fine.  The only really big headscratcher is “The Blind Side.”  Yeah, lots of people have seen it and it’s made millions, but the same thing could be said about “Transformers” and no one contemplated nominating that for a second.  Critically, “The Blind Side” was pretty much given the thumbs down, or at best a thumbs sideways, but certainly not a thumbs up.  Speaking of up, is it odd that two of the nominees are “Up” and “Up In The Air,” particularly since the second name would work just as well for the Pixar film too?  And I couldn’t stand that we had “A Serious Man” and “A Single Man” come out within such a short time span.  I still have to pause for a second to remember which film was the one called “Serious.”  And even now that “A Single Man” is out of the competition, I still don’t like that there’s also a certain similarity in the verbiage of an Article followed by a Noun in both “A Serious Man” and “An Education.”  Can we really not come up with more interesting titles?  And don’t get me started on how annoying and unwieldy it is to have to write out “Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire.”  Bad enough when we had “Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula,” next we’re gonna combine those two and have a half-hour long title, “Alex David’s Rye: Based On The Novel ‘Catcher In The Rye’ By J.D. Salinger, Adapted By Quentin Tarantino, Produced By Joel Silver, And Coming Out 7/20/2012 At A Theater Near You.”  Soon we won’t have to see the movie, we can just read the title which’ll have the whole story spelled out, but it’ll take 2 hours to read it.  Of course, then recommending that movie could take a long time (“Oh, I saw this great movie title that you should read called ‘Copyright 1977, A Fox Entertainment Production, Long, long ago in a galaxy far away…'”).

Damn, I’m babbling again.  Back on point.  First, lemme be honest and admit I haven’t seen “The Blind Side,” so maybe the millions of critics are wrong and it should be nominated, but I have a hard time believing it.  And while I love indies and smart intelligent films, I’ve got nothing against getting some mainstream stuff in there.  But why not mainstream things that not only were successful, but also got great reviews, like “Star Trek” or “The Hangover?”  If it was up to me I’d’ve added “Where The Wild Things Are” even though many adults had no interest in it ‘cuz it’s from a kid’s book, and no parents would bring their kids to it ‘cuz it’s too adult since it was directed by Spike Jonez and written by David Eggers.  But honestly, Best Pic-wise, “The Blind Side” really is my own quibble, which is pretty darn good.

My other two quibbles are with the writing nominations.  First, I don’t get why “District 9” was nominated under Adapted Screenplay.  It’s not that I didn’t like it, it’s that I’m confused why it was under the Adapted category rather than the Original Screenplay one.  I mean I understand that technically it is an adaptation because the director originally made it as a short and then expanded it into a feature, but that doesn’t seem like a real adaptation job.  The skills to turn a longer, denser novel or a complex, minimal-location play into something that works as a film is a totally different skill set than making your film longer.  If making your film longer is considered an adaptation, then by that logic shouldn’t a sequel, like say “The Empire Strikes Back” be considered an adapted screenplay?  The authors took the characters from the original and adapted them into a longer story.  Is there really much of a difference between the director adding say 80 minutes to the short version of “District 9” than if he now does a sequel with 110 new minutes?

But once again, I digress.  I babble.  And still I don’t edit my writing.

My other writing issue was that I felt that “(500) Days Of Summer” should’ve been nominated under Best Original Screenplay (the nominees were: Inglorious Basterds, Up, The Messenger, The Hurt Locker, and A Serious Man).  I thought “Summer” was a fresh take on the romantic comedy by: 1.Making it non-linear, 2. Making bold choices like the “Making My Dreams Come True” post-coital musical sequence which was a unique way of expressing a character’s feelings that we can all relate to, and which they felt confident enough in that they didn’t need to explain it away as like a dream sequence, and 3. That the writers made a romantic comedy where the two characters didn’t end up together.  Not only did they not end up together, but they made the incredibly realistic choice of not giving Summer a “fatal flaw” to soothe the audience & instead they just had it be a gut punch that while she could’ve been the one for him, he was never the one for her.  Anyway, if I had to cut one of the nominees to make space for “Summer,” I’d choose “The Messenger” ‘cuz I didn’t see it and have only heard mixed thoughts on it.  Or maybe “The Hurt Locker” ‘cuz even though I loved that film, I thought the strength of it was the visceral feeling of suspense generated by the director rather than it being an amazing script.

That’s it for now.  Tomorrow we shall return to our regular basketball-related posts.  But this feature will be back…  Bwah, ha, ha!