Thursday, December 14, 2006

Under Pressure

The Golden Globe nominations are out! Sad to say that I haven't seen any of the movies that are nominated--yet. However, in my defense, some of them aren't in theaters (i.e. Miss Potter, Dreamgirls). This makes me wonder whether such films have a chance if they're not out in time for the public to buzz about it and for the members of the foreign press to hear the buzzing.
For example, when Love Actually was nominated a few years back, it didn't win. It's one of my favorite movies! Several critics, who were predicting the Golden Globe winners at the time, said that it wouldn't win because it was a late entry, and the bees weren't making a sound. Love Actually, and other movies like it, definitely have better chances of winning if they come out sooner--with enough time for the voters to actually see it.

To my surprise, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan snagged 2 nominations: Best Motion Picture and Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical. This goes to show that the award-giving bodies are getting jiggy with it. Quite recently, rap (Lose Yourself by Eminem) and hip-hop songs (It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp) have won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
It's great because the awards shows definitely become more interesting to watch. Hmmm...perhaps, that's why they're handing out these sorts of nominations--to regain lost viewers. Nonetheless, I'm not saying that these type of nominees don't deserve it. Eminem certainly did, and maybe, after seeing Borat, I'll feel the same way about it, too.

Even though I haven't seen any of the movies (Babel leads the pack with 7 nods.), I watch some of the television shows. In this big category, Grey's Anatomy and Weeds are are ahead of the rest. Both are tied with 4 nominations each. Seriously. There are also some first time nominees (Heroes!), which will do wonders for their careers. Penelope Cruz, Beyonce, and Mark Wahlberg are among them--as if their careers are in danger, but every little bit helps, right? Sarah Paulson from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip received a nod for Best Supporting Actress. NBC is probably banking on her to win one for the team, thus, boosting the show's low ratings.
Moreover, there are several celebrities who are up against...themselves. They include Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed and Blood Diamond) and Clint Eastwood (Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima) in the Best Actor and Best Director categories, respectively. Are these kinds of nominations a double edge sword? In the words of Access correspondent, Nancy O'Dell, "will they cancel each other out?" Conversely, is it the more nominations they have, the better their odds are? After all, Helen Mirren (The Queen, Elizabeth I and Prime Suspect: The Final Act) has 3 nominations!
What about those who are nominated for the same role? Johnny Depp is up for Best Actor for reprising his role in Pirates of the Caribbean 2: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Even if he doesn't win (God forbid!), perhaps, the 3rd time's the charm. Look at director, Peter Jackson. He didn't win the Academy Award until the 3rd Lord of the Ring installment came out. It's all politics unfortunately. I mean, I love the Lord of the Ring movies, but I thought the first one was the best.
Also, when I heard Clint Eastwood's response to his loss (He said that his film, Mystic River, was "hobbitized."), my entire face contorted in disgust. I thought, "He's just jealous." Well, as it turns out, he was right. After watching Mystic River, I've got to say that I loved it. It's not necessarily one of my favorite movies, but it was most definitely Oscar-worthy. I couldn't stop talking about it afterwards--even if no one was listening. The twists and turns in that cinematic feat were mind blowing!
Still, no pressure.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Still Addicted

Even as the semester is coming to an end, I find myself still addicted to the media. I am officially hooked on it for life. It is my drug and my anti-drug. It gives me a high, but at the same time, it gives me a reason to not need a rush. There is no cure for what I have. No rehab, no nothing, and yet it is my rehab, my cure.

Still, I'd like to think of myself as a more critical consumer now. I notice and question even more things in the media now. For example, what ads air in the same timeslot as the television shows I watch? Why? I never noticed the short timespam that these ads air and then, suddenly stop. I never really paid attention to the ads on the sides of a webpage. I never heard of Technorati or Digg before this class. So, one could say that I became way more aware of the art of blogging as well.

I managed to learn all sorts of things about all sorts of issues from reading my classmates' blogs. I also learned how to write a good movie review. Hopefully, the movie studios will shell out more good movies for me to watch. In addition, I've become more exposed to websites based on foreign countries. Consider my horizons broadened.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tis' the Season to Be Giving!

I don't know about you, but I find that it gets harder and harder every year to find the perfect gift for everyone on my list. However, lucky for us (or not), poster ads in malls and commercials on television (i.e. Jamie Lee Curtis advocating boardgames) lend us a helping hand. In addition, several magazines, like Seventeen and People, have also made gift giving easier. In their recent issues (the ones with Paris Hilton and TomKat on the covers respectively), they offer their readers gift ideas. I know, I know. Why would anyone want to buy magazines with those people as the cover stories?

Well, as mentioned before, magazines during this time of year provide gift guides. Plus, many charities will benefit from the magazines' features. So, it's all for a good cause. This is great because you can help out others. In other words, it's a guilt-free trip for spending lots of moolah on Christmas gifts alone. Still, it's not only during this month that magazines feature specific stories annually. For instance, there are back-to-school and prom issues as well. Therefore, the media not only targets different people, but various times of the year, too. When it's Halloween, skulls and pumpkins abound. When it's Valentine's Day, beating and broken hearts are everywhere.

Here are some of the magazines' humble suggestions:
>Design your own Converse shoe here. Five to fifteen percent goes to the fight against AIDS.
>Help out Aldo's campaign to fight YouthAIDS by purchasing this tote.
>Who doesn't love candles? Go over here to pick up some floral candles that will assist UNICEF.
>Get a copy of the book, Two Million Miles by Andrew Macpherson, and a portion will go to the women's cancer research fund.
>Give Mother Nature a hand an buy recycled products like this cute bag made by "a Filipino women's cooperative" or this picture frame made out of bicycle chains.
>How about an indie rock cd? All of the profits go to War Child Canada that helps children in countries at war.
>Snatch up a dog toy here. Everything will go to the Planet Dog Foundation. They "[support] programs."
>Make sure that every season's jolly for your friends. Pay up for The CollegeHumor Guide to College book. Ten percent goes to the pockets of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
>Buy Philosophy's Holiday Blues shower gel at The Ricky Martin Foundation, "which fights global child exploitation," gets 100%.
>Go here for more gift ideas to benefit the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, among many others.

Although, my next and last example isn't for a charity of any sort, in line with the topic of presents, I thought I would mention it. What do you give to people you hate the most? This lady has the answer. Happy shopping!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Eenie Meenie Minie Mo

The activities that the campus-wide reading program generates are the perfect opportunities for networking and making friends, especially for freshmen. For instance, there's the book discussion, lead by the Socrates Cafe, that's open to all at the beginning of the semester. The program is also a vehicle for professors to add items to the syllabus. It's not only with MCOM 072, but with other classes as well. However, it would be more apt if the chosen book was an option for extra credit rather than a requirement.

Moreover, the benefits for the book itself are endless, of course. Certainly, it will become more well-known. I seriously doubt that I would have even known about Nickel and Dimed if it wasn't chosen last year. In line with that, the book that the committee chooses shouldn't be one that's already famous. That would be redundant, for one thing. For another, that type of selection would be futile since most people, in and out of the literary community, have already heard of it. Therefore, Bel Canto and Life of Pi are definitely out of the question.

As for Farewell to Manzanar, I had read it for a class (MCOM 136). So, that and any other book on a class's syllabus already should be excluded from the list. Besides, it was fairly boring albeit enlightening on the Japanese internment camps, which I assume is the reason for its consideration. Now, even though I haven't read the other books, from the synopsis of each novel, I would love Donorboy to be 2007's campus reading program title. Oryx and Crake comes a close second if only for the author. Then, there's Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, which is a collection of stories so, if such a book hasn't been picked before, this would definitely be different.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One Director to Rule Them All

It's a travesty! The New York Times has printed that Peter Jackson, the Oscar-winning director of the incredible Lord of the Ring trilogy, won't be in charge of the big-screen adaptation of its prequel, The Hobbit. Can you imagine someone else being the director of that movie? It really is unthinkable. Jackson has done more than a superb job of bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's novels to life, and the movie studio, New Line Cinema, is casting him aside. What makes it even harder to comprehend is that the studio has rights to the book until 2009 so, why the rush? Jackson explained it all on the website,, just last week.

Allegedly, New Line Cinema has yet to pay up for Jackson's work on the trilogy. However, the movie studio claims that Jackson has made more than enough money from the franchise and is only pretending to be the victim. Compounded by the prodding of Jackson's company, Wingnut Films (They sued in February 2005.), New Line Cinema ultimately decided to let go of Peter Jackson to the dismay of his fans. Even The Hobbit producer (Saul Zaentz) and star (Ian McKellan) have released statements expressing their disappointment at New Line Cinema's decision.

One has to ask if Harry Potter 1 and 2 would have been as disappointing as they were had Chris Columbus not taken the job? What if Bryan Singer (director of X-Men 1 and 2) remained as the man behind the lens for X-Men 3: The Last Stand? How will the movie adaptation of The Golden Compass fare when the director of American Pie, Chris Weitz, is not only directing but writing the piece? It is only recently that I realized the importance of hiring the right directors for films. They are the ones with the visions. They are the ones who draw in the star power by the mere mention of their names. They are the ones who make or break the difference between an Oscar nomination and an Oscar win.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Calling All Freshness Lovers!

Recently, I saw a Febreze commercial for their new product, Scentstories. With Christmas creeping on us, I thought that would make a great present for my mom because she loves candles. She keeps them around the house, ever prepared for the blackout that will never come. Seriously though, she just adores the scents. Then, I went back on my train of thought, and I decided against buying Scentstories. After all, my mom's picky, and Scentstories wouldn't be the same thing as candles. She'd be limited to the scents available on the Febreze discs that come with the product. Also, I can't buy her just one because what about all the other rooms in the house? Why, they'd be jealous of the one room she puts the Scentstories in.

However, gadgets such as Scentstories aren't possible arsonists. So, they are safer to use than candles. In addition, a CSI: Miami episode replay that I watched a few days ago may have sealed the deal. Basically, they were able to catch the killer thanks to an aromatic disbursement unit. They already knew who was in the room at what time, but it was the unit that revealed to them the time the murder occurred. (Who knew, right?) Although the Febreze product doesn't have that particular function, if I gave an aromatic disbursement unit to my mom and God forbid, anything happens to her, then at least the police would know who did it. It's like a security alarm in that it helps out the authorities, but it smells good while doing so.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Celebrity Moms: An Oxymoron or Just Morons?

Can you believe Gwen Stefani has a new video out already? It's only been a few months since she gave birth to her son. As if that wasn't enough, she'll have an album to match of course. In addition, she's busy with her LAMB fashion line, which is coming out in the spring of 2007. Not to mention the fact that she has her pre-baby body back. I'm torn on this issue of celebrity moms to say the least.

On one hand, they further girl power, if you will, just like any other career mom. We, as women, deserve to have careers as much as men do. (Being a housewife doesn't count.) On the other hand, what about the kids? Families, in which the moms are at work, certainly have dads in the office, too. So, who's left to take care of the children? They don't belong in a world where there's a party every night. Is it selfish of these celebrities to work and have kids? Or is it admirable?

In addition, celebrity moms put even more pressure on women and the "ideal" body. Supposedly, it's much more understandable when a woman has love handles and cottage cheese after giving birth, but not anymore. Thank you, Hollywood! We kneel down and bow before you.

Yeah, right.

Still, I didn't even know about post-partum depression till Brooke Shields. I always had this idea that having kids would be a blast. Sure, I know it's going to be hard with college tuitions and all, but the really ugly side never occurred to me. As it turns out, Kate Hudson went through post-partum depression as well--albeit with less media coverage. It's like post-partum depression is the incest of our generation, taboo-wise. So, if there weren't any celebrity moms, fewer people would know about this illness.

Perhaps, even fewer women would be motivated to get back in shape after their pregnancy. They may not believe that it's possible, or they don't know where to start. Celebrity moms can help them along in this situation. That is, if you want to look at the brightside of their thinness. Moreover, fewer women would be uplifted by the likes of Courtney Cox-Arquette and Julia Roberts who underwent in vitro fertilization and pregnancy late in the game, respectively.