Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, January 29, 2018

Scarecrow's Oscar Picks: 2018 Edition

Well, it's that time of year again.  This year's Oscar nominations were announced about a week ago, so it's time to dust off a tradition I've been doing in all 20 years of my online presence.  Yes, it's time for....

Scarecrow's Oscar Picks!  (The logo I designed in Photoshp back in 1997)

Now, as I've been explaining for 20 years, I like to do my Oscar picks a little bit differently.  Everywhere you go, you're going to see the picks for the big categories like Best Director and Best Actor, so I'm going to focus my picks on the categories that only I care about:  Best Original Song, and Best Visual Effects.  Plus, those are the two that I have a pretty good track record in selecting the winners.  I also love animated films, so when the Best Animated Film Oscar came along in 2002, I started doing that one as well.  Let's get to it!

Best Visual Effects

The nominees are:
My thoughts:

OK, right away, we can strike out Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy.  Spaceships whizzing through space, laser guns, blue screen sets, CGI creatures...been there, done that.  Same with Kong.  Yeah, we've seen the giant monkey before.  Now, War for the Planet of the Apes won a lot of praise for Andy Serkis's performance...some even saying he should have picked up a best actor nomination.  So, as that never happened, giving Planet of the Apes the Best Visual Effects Oscar might be the next best thing.  On the other hand, Blade Runner 2049 had a lot of fans, and was praised for the lengths its effects went to to create the futuristic world of 2049, much like how the original film was praised for it's visual flair.

My pick:

Between nostalgia and lots of critical love, I'm putting my money on Blade Runner 2049.

Best Original Song

The nominees are:
My thoughts:

There's a reason why my winning streak started 20 years ago.  It was the height of the Disney Renaissance, and picking the song from the Disney animated film was a sure thing.  So purely for nostalgia's sake, I want to go with Remember Me.  That being said, The Greatest Showman is an old-school musical, ans as we saw with La La Land last year, there's a bit of a resurgence of old-school musicals these days.  So I think this category is going to come down to Remember Me and This Is Me.

My pick:

This Is Me

Best Animated Film

The Nominees Are:
My thoughts:

Well, Pixar is the studio with the most wins in this category, so my gut has to go with Coco.  That being said, The Breadwinner's director Nora Twomey has been circling this category for a while, having directed the 2009 nominee The Secret of Kells and having worked on the 2014 nominee Song of the Sea.  However, they have made some changes to the category this year.  In all the Oscar categories, only people who work in that category could vote for the winner.  For example, only directors would vote for Best Director, actors for Best Actor, and animators for Best Animated Film.  Starting this year, Best Animated Film works like Best Picture...everyone gets to vote for it.  The logic is the same reason why Best Picture was opened up to 9 nominees a few years ago:  it'll open up the category to more mainstream films, and less art house films that no one has heard of.  And no offense to Ms Twomey, but how many of you had heard of The Breadwinner before this?

My pick:


And, as always, as a concession to the mainstream, the biggest of the mainstream categories....

Best Picture

The Nominees Are:
My thoughts:

We're coming up on 10 years now of more than five nominees, and I still don't agree with it.  "It'll open up the category to more mainstream films, and less art house films that no one has heard of!" said the Academy.  But what's happened?  it seems like more art house films that no one has heard of are getting nominated.  That being said, Get Out is exactly the kind of mainstream hit that the critics loved that they wanted to see get nominated.  At the other end of the spectrum, Three Billboards is already being likened by many to this year's Crash, as a movie that's getting wildly overblown.  But still, the giddy thrill for me is seeing The Shape of Water get nominated.  The most nominees this year, with 13.  Who would have thought that a love story between a mute woman and a sea monster from the director of Hellboy would get so much love!  But then, Guillermo del Toro did also do Pan's Labyrinth, which got a lot of Oscar love 10 years ago. 

My pick:

I really want The Shape of Water to win.  And I really want to see it now, too.

One last rant.  Guillermo del Toto was in talks with Universal Studios to come on board with their Dark Universe...their cinematic universe based on their classic monsters, that looks like it began and ended with Tom Cruise's The Mummy.  Del Toro's pet project was a remake of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and del Toro allegedly put a lot of his Black Lagoon ideas into The Shape of Water.  So just think.  In a parallel universe, The Shape of Water wound up being the Creature from the Black Lagoon reboot that kicked off Dark Universe!

The 90th Academy Awards are on March 4.   

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Power Rangers

He we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, watching movies and blogging about them, because a friend once told me it would be a neat thing for me to do.  Good thing he never told me to go jump off a bridge.  Anyway, today, we touch upon the 2017 gritty reboot of Power Rangers.  This is in my notes at July 3, 2017.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Lego Batman Movie

Time to roll again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  Watching movies, blogging about them, all because one day my best friend said to me, "Hey, do you know what you should do?"  Today, I'm watching The Lego Batman Movie.  This is originally in my notes at July 2, 2018.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Logan

Time to roll out Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I blog about one of the movies I own, because really, I've got nothing better to do.  We start moving on to films that came out a year ago with Logan.  This is in my notes at May 28. 2017.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Basic Instinct

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog about a movie I own, because I own 'em, so I may as well watch 'em.  Today, we'll take a look at Basic Instinct.  This is in my notes at May 21, 2017

Monday, January 01, 2018

Random Thoughts from Christmas Vacation

When I was a kid, I collected Christmas specials.  Every holiday season, whenever a new animated special would come along, I would record it.  In the end, I had three VHS tapes full of holiday specials.  I meticulously catalogued them, so I wouldn't accidentally get a duplicate.  And, of course, when I started building my first website 20 years ago, I posted my catalogue online.

Which meant that, every year around this time, I would get a half-a-dozen e-mails or so requesting a copy of A Mouse, a Mystery, and Me.  This particular special was a mainstay on Edmonton television, no doubt because it was actually filmed in Edmonton.  I'm starting to suspect that ITV (now Global Edmonton) was actually a co-producer, as I've noticed the Allard name quite prominent in the end credits.  (Charles Allard was the founder of ITV, and a pretty big deal in Canadian broadcasting in the 70s and 80s.)

The special is about the kidnapping of a department store Santa, and a kid enlisting the help of the mystery novelist in the neighbourhood to investigate.  Turns out our mystery novelist has a writing partner, a talking animated mouse named Alex, and together they get to the bottom of who kidnapped Santa.

Anyway, I could never present a copy on VHS to anyone because, by the time all this started going down, Mom had taped over my collection with Coronation Street.  Luckily, we now have this thing called YouTube, and I see someone else has posted A Mouse, a Mystery, and Me.


As I've been talking about on social media, I fell in love with this documentary series on Netflix called The Toys That Made Us, which is all about the classic toys lines of the 1980s. Brought back a lot of strange memories.

I loved the episode about G.I. Joe.  When I first started taking up action figure collection as aG.I. Joe toy line was starting to wind down.  I would take a look at the G.I. Joes for old times sake, before heading over to the Star Trek aisle.
G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Actioin Soldier.  Pic from YoJoe.com
G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Action Soldier
Pic from YoJoe.com
hobby in my teen years, it was when the classic 3.75"

In 1994, for the 30th anniversary of the G.I. Joe franchise, Hasbro made these beautiful figures.  They were exact re-creations of the original 12" Joes from the 1960s, only shrunk down to the 3.75" scale that was popular at the time.  So you could have the original Action Soldier and Action Marine having adventures alongside the new guard like Duke and Snake Eyes.  They were in lovely collectors boxes, and came with accessories up the wazoo.  The Action Soldier had a little bunker, the Action Pilot had the real working parachute pack...all kinds of good stuff. 

I remember always taking a look at them at Toys R Us, always seriously considered buying one or two for my fledgling collection, but ultimately not picking one up.  I kind of regret that, now, because, even back then, I thought they were really, really cool.

I see collectors are selling them for around $50 on eBay now, so if I ever have a little more disposable income....

I see that the animated special Happy New Year, Charlie Brown is starting to enjoy a resurgence in recent years.  I remember it being part of my Christmas special collection all those years ago.  Because the universe hates Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown has the Christmas vacation homework assignment to do a book report on War and Peace.  But he has difficulty reading the novel as he's constantly getting distracted by the preparations for Peppermint Patty's epic new years party.

Like this cute little musical number, where they all take dancing lessons so they can dance on New Years Eve.

Just because this is the kind of information I've filled my head with...the singer of that song is Desiree Goyette.  She wrote and performed a lot of the songs in Garfield and Charlie Brown animated specials throughout the 1980s.  Did some voice acting, too, as perhaps her most famous role would be Nermal, the self-described "world's cutest kitty cat," on Garfield and Friends.  Doing a quick google of her, I see she's still quite active as a singer/songwriter.  Does mostly gospel now. 

You can tell when I watch Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, because I'll always take to twitter to share Charlie Brown's new years resolution:  "You know how I typically dread the entire year?  Well this time, I'm only going to dread one day at a time." 

Actually I do like that entire scene.  It opens with Peppermint Patty asking Charlie Brown if he has any good rules for life in the new year.  Says Charlie Brown:
  • Keep the ball low
  • Don't leave your crayons in the sun
  • Use dental floss every day
  • Don't spill the shoe polish
  • Always knock before entering
  • Don't let the ants get in the sugar
  • Never volunteer to be a program chair
  • Always get your first serving
  • Feed your dog whenever he's hungry
So please.  Take those words with you into 2018!