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February 2017

The Oscars a.k.a. Holy Plot Twist, Batman!

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The craziest moment in the history of the Oscars. Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

Early on in last night’s 89th Annual Academy Awards telecast, it seemed like the night was going to be verrry predictable. Some of that was good, like when Viola Davis finally won the Oscar she’s probably deserved since birth. Other more predictable moments weren’t so great, like Casey Affleck‘s win for Actor in a Leading Role. I mean, all you have to do is look at should-have-won Denzel Washington’s face to know how I, and many others, feel about that.

And, of course, “La La Land” won a whole bunch of awards, including Production Design, Original Song (for “City of Stars,” stopping Lin-Manuel Miranda from achieving EGOT glory), Original Score, Cinematography, Director for Damien Chazelle and Actress in a Leading Role for Emma Stone. It seemed all but definite that the movie-musical would take home Best Picture at the end of the night, and then it did….until it didn’t.

In one of the most insane things, if not the most insane, to have ever happened at an Oscars telecast (and that includes a streaker, various protest acceptance speeches and whatever this was), midway through the acceptance speeches from Team “La La Land” one of its own took the mic to say that the beautiful and moving “Moonlight” (which, in my opinion, was absolutely the best film of 2016) had actually won the award. And he wasn’t kidding.

In an unbelievable turn of events (that is reportedly still being investigated), presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the envelope for the previous award given out, Actress in a Leading Role, which was won by “La La Land’s” Emma Stone. Beatty, confused by the fact that Emma’s name was on the card, hesitated before handing the card to Dunaway who read “La La Land’s” name. Both Beatty and Dunaway don’t seem to jazzed about what happened, and neither did host Jimmy Kimmel, who said somewhat jokingly that he’ll probably never be welcomed back again.

While it’s incredibly frustrating that this fiasco took away from “Moonlight’s” much-deserved moment in the sun, there is hope that the whole ordeal will bring awareness to the film and people who might not have been familiar with it will check it out. Needless to say, I don’t think anyone is going to forget this win anytime soon.

What did you think of last night’s Oscar telecast? Are you also still shaken by the mixup? Do you still believe that other shows (*cough* Grammys *cough*) had a similar mistake? Share your thoughts in the comments. And, before I go back to developing my own conspiracy theory about what happened involving Matt Damon and a prank gone horribly wrong, I’ll tell you to be like Team “La La Land” and…

Stay classy.

Jenn

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Here’s the Story of the Time I Saw Steven Spielberg (And Judd Apatow) in the Wild

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Proof that this story is true. Photo credit to my cousin, Laura.

We are less than a week away from the Oscars, and while it might make more sense for me to make an Oscars prediction post, I’ve decided instead to tell you all a story. (Plus, I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m hoping for “Moonlight” to win all the awards, even ones it wasn’t actually nominated for.)

 

Celebrity run-ins are always exciting. There’s just something about seeing someone you’ve watched on TV or in the movies in person that feels so surreal and crazy, it can often be hard to believe it’s actually happening. I’ve had my fair share or random celebrity run-ins, from holding the door open at an Old Navy for John Waters to sharing an elevator ride with Cynthia Nixon to even sitting a few rows and an aisle away from Meryl Streep at a Broadway play. And while all of those run-ins were special, the story I’m about to tell you beats them all (Except maybe Meryl. Nothing beats Meryl. Except for Emma Stone at the Oscars, hopefully.) because in this story I spotted not one, not two, but three mega-stars, all in one place.

 

The first mega-star I knew I was going to see, since he was the star of the thing we were all there for. I was in the audience at “Lucky Guy,” a Broadway play written by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks. So yeah, Tom Hanks was there. Mega-celebrity number one, check. My mom and I had gotten the tickets a month prior when we were in town to see another show, Alan Cumming‘s essentially one-man version of “Macbeth,” which was crazy and awesome. The only good seats left were on opposite ends of the center row, so we accepted the fact that we would not be sitting together and got the tickets. This may not seem important to the story, but trust me, it is.

 

Another seemingly not important but important element to the story is the fact that whenever my family is in a place where we might have a chance of seeing some stars, we play the celebrity spotting game. First person to spot someone (and get visual confirmation from someone else) wins 10 bucks. Now I don’t want to toot my own horn, but let’s just say I’ve scored many Alexander Hamiltons in my life. My mom has only really taken home the prize once, when she insanely spotted actor Hamish Linklater on the street in New York. What can I say, she was a big “The New Adventures of Old Christine” fan.

 

She equally insanely spotted Linklater again in the audience at “Lucky Guy” and had all but claimed victory for the day. Little did she know, however, that I had my eye on the back of a head four rows up that looked a lot like famed filmmaker Steven Spielberg. It might sound crazy that I thought a guy looked like Steven Spielberg from simply the back of his head, but it just looked to strangely distinctive I couldn’t let it go. I looked around to see if anyone else in the audience was eyeing him and spotted a couple in orchestra right trying to clandestinely snap a shot. I knew then that I wasn’t crazy. He finally turned around and I was 100 percent confident that it was Steven Spielberg in the flesh. I got visual confirmation from my cousin Laura, who was sitting next to me, and shot a quick text to my mom on the other end of the row before the lights went down for the first act.

 

Act one finishes and I turn my phone back on to see if my mother has responded and see a text that says “Is that Judd Apatow?” Did my mom think that Steven Spielberg looked like Judd Apatow, of “Knocked Up” and “Freaks and Geeks” fame? Then I saw the actual Judd Apatow walk up the aisle past me and I knew that no, she had not been sorely mistaken. Judd Apatow was there too. And not only was he there, he was sitting in the row in directly front of Spielberg. When he got back to his seat I got to watch him and Spielberg chat (probably about making box-office hit movies like it’s no big deal) and my cousin got to take the above picture, proof of our crazy day. (The play was also great, by the way. I feel like it’s important to mention that.)

 

I told myself that if I happened to be walking up the aisle near either Spielberg or Apatow after the show I would say something to them, but I never got the chance. I left the theater the pedestrian way and they left the theater the fancy superstar way, which probably involves a series of hidden doors. It was exciting nevertheless, and has definitely stayed with me in the following years. Oh, and we decided that no one should get the 10 bucks. We were all winners that day.

 

Have any great celebrity run-in stories? Does you family also play the celebrity spotting game? Can you think of any other celebrities with distinctive head shapes? Tell your tale in the comments. And, before I go back to preparing for the Oscars, always remember…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

“Detroiters” Is Yet Another Comedy Worth Checking Out

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Tim (left) and Sam (right), stars of “Detroiters.” Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

These days it can seem like we have an almost overwhelmingly big collection of great comedies on TV. From “Atlanta” to “Broad City” to “The Good Place,” comedy, in it’s many forms and styles, is shining. It feels almost excessive to add another new show to the pile, and yet Comedy Central has with “Detroiters,” a charming series that, if its pilot is any indication, is more than ready to join that great group.

 

Starring and created by Sam Richardson (“Veep“) and Tim Robinson (“SNL“), the show follows two best friends (Sam and Tim, naturally) who take over Tim’s Dad’s ad agency in Detroit and try to make it big in advertising. They mostly make their money doing those cheesy local commercials that you always see and wonder “whose idea was that?” but they have hopes for something bigger, as evidenced by their attempts at getting a Chrysler ad in the pilot. Whether they get the gig or not (I won’t spoil it for you) it seems pretty clear that their friendship and determination will endure.

 

It’s also really really funny, offering up a mix of silly, sharp and surprisingly sweet that feels somewhat new, at least to me. One scene finds them trying to break a glass wall in their office for no apparent reason, another finds them greeting garbage truck drivers before they head out for work in the morning, a moment so unexpectedly heartwarming I actually said “awww!” out loud when I watched it. It seems like a lot of comedies either go for the acerbic or the absurd and “Detroiters” provides a nice middle ground.

 

While it may seem like there couldn’t possibly be any more space in your TV viewing schedule (I know the feeling), I suggest you make room for “Detroiters.” In a time where we desperately needs laughs and heart, this show seems like it will provide both in spades.

 

Have you watched “Detroiters”? What did you think? Are you still mad about Adele beating Beyonce for Album of the year at last night’s Grammys? I think Adele is too. Make your pitch in the comments. And before I go look up Anderson .Paak, whose Grammy performance last night with A Tribe Called Quest was one of my favorites, I’ll leave you like I always do…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

My Favorite Ad From the Super Bowl, Because Who Actually Likes Football?

Like many people all over this mostly nice nation of ours, I don’t like football. I have plenty of reasoning for it, which you would probably hear in detail if you ever suggested we watch a game. I also just like baseball better. But I do love a large cultural event and so every year without fail I watch the Super Bowl. I’m of course not watching for the actual game; again, like many, I watch the Super Bowl for all of the snazzy new commercials and the even snazzier Half Time show. It’s almost like the NFL knows that there are people all over being forced to watch the game (because that’s where all of the fun party snacks are) so they provided us with our own entertainment during the breaks. How nice! Now, if only they could get that pesky concussion issue under control…

 

It seems like a lot of people would like to pretend the outcome of the game never even happened (given it’s slightly eery similarity to another recent event where the bad guy inexplicably won) so instead let’s all be like me and focus on everything else! Lady Gaga was the Half Time show performer and did a great medley of some of her biggest hits that  started with “God Bless America” and ended with her catching a football and jumping into an abyss. Now that Lady Gaga is a bit more subdued, I guess that’s the closest we’ll get to the meat dress-wearing, bleeding at the VMAs Gaga of yesteryear. It was pretty darn awesome though.

 

As for the commercials, they were largely poignant and surprisingly politically-tinged. My favorite though, was neither of those things. The above commercial, for some drink called Bai which I’ve never heard of but am now strongly considering checking out (good job, ad!), features everyone’s favorite weird guy that lives down the hall, Christopher Walken, dramatically reciting the lyrics to what should maybe be our national anthem now, *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” with one of its key singers, everyone’s favorite boy bander made big, Justin Timberlake, looking on stoically. It’s simple and subtle and a wonderful example of what a Super Bowl ad can be. Sure, it’s fun to watch Melissa McCarthy smash into things (I’d argue it’s way more fun to watch her play Sean Spicer on “SNL”), but sometimes all you need is an Oscar winner and a newly minted Oscar nominee sitting on a fancy couch to get your point across.

 

What did you think of the Super Bowl commercials? Have a favorite one of your own? Still full from all the hot wings you ate last night? I feel you on that. Tell me your new diet plan in the comments. And, like I’ve said many a time before…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

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