I'M LOVIN' IT! AND THE NUTRITION GESTAPO AIN'T GONNA STOP ME!
featured an op-ed-cum-review-cum-entusiastic-endorsement from the Chicago Sun-Times written by Richard Roeper
of the new documentary Super-Size Me
. The premise of the film is that the filmmaker, one Morgan Spurlock, committed himself to eating three full meals a day at McDonald's for a month, and, if they asked him to super-size his meal, he had to say "yes". The results?
"He packs on the pounds, his cholesterol soars, and he becomes lethargic and depressed, much to the horror of his vegan chef girlfriend, who compares his fast-food experiment to a heroin binge and complains about Spurlock's decreased libido: "He gets tired easily. I think the saturated fats are starting to impede the blood flow to his penis and he's having a hard time, you know ...""
Well, no shit, Sherlock! Eating unhealthy amounts of fast food is unhealthy! To quote one of my favourite movies: "Wow, what a totally amazing excellent discovery... not!
Except... except, here's something I can't seem to find mentioned even once in the Roeper piece: the word "moderation". Any food can be unhealthy if eaten in large enough amounts, though, admittedly, overconsumption of greasy fast food gets to be unhealthy a lot quicker than, say, overconsumption of kiwifruit; I don't deny that. However, see, here's the thing... most people don't eat three super-sized meals a day at McDonald's every day. As long as you're fairly active and don't eat an overabundance of junk food the rest of the week, one or two meals a week at McDonald's isn't going to hurt you. Really, this stunt proves nothing, other than, as I mentioned before, "overconsumption is unhealthy" (and this is the human equivalent of a laboratory rat-level consumption, when they're overstuffing rats to prove something will give you cancer if eaten in unrealistic amounts, make no mistake). This is almost a David Letterman "Stupid Human Trick", and all this guy really deserves for his troubles is a "fucking medal", as in "What do you want? A fucking medal?"
But, of course, Morgan Spurlock's getting a lot more than just my "fucking medal"**, he won The "Director's Award" for Best Documentary
at the 2004 Sundance Festival over the past weekend. My guess, whatever the merits of the film, and, it's probably fairly funny to watch from an entertainment perspective, he won because of the fairly obvious dual subtexts of the film: the anti-corporate/anti-globalization/anti-capitalist hit piece aspect (McDonald's being one of the primary symbols of evil globalization to the "Let's smash shit up!" anti-WTO/anti-FTAA/anti-everything "protest" types) and the anti-meat aspect (McDonald's also, of course, being one of the primary villains to the PETA wackos
, and it says right in the Roeper piece that Spurlock's girlfriend is a vegan cook! What do you think he thinks about McDonald's?). Not to mention the insunation that the sort of ordinary American that likes to eat at McDonald's every so often is a simpleton, unable to think for himself, instead of being able to say "no" when asked if he wants to "super-size it". All this plays very well to the couscous-eating "Limosine Liberals" from Hollywood
whom congregate in Park City, Utah, every January for Sundance.
(Ah... I have a lot more to say about this, but it's very late, so, as I haven't posted much lately and as I've written enough for you to get the gist of what I want to say, I'll continue it on Friday.)
**Note to Mr. Spurlock: My "fucking medal" is only a figurative medal; it doesn't actually exist.
GOOGLE TERMS: Wayne's World
, Wayne, Mike Myers, Ron Paxton, "Suck Cut", South Park
, "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls".
ENJOY BURNING IN HELL, 'SPLODEYDOPE ALI JAARA!
Proving once again that Israel needs to get a move on in building the anti-terrorist wall, homicide bus bomber Ali Jaara
'sploded himself up sending himself to the good ol' Lake of Fire, which wouldn't be a bad thing in and of itself except that he killed ten Israelis in the process, in the 'splodeydopes' favourite venue, a bus. What's especially sick this time, highlighted in bold by Little Green Footballs
, is that the homicide bomber was a police officer, supposedly trained to serve and protect, but I guess Arafatistan... erm, I mean (so-called) "Palestine" is sort of like Bizarro-world in Superman
sometimes, where the opposite of the way things outght to be is true, like ambulance drivers ferrying homicide bombers to kill.
For once, the family of the recently-'sploded seem to be acting like normal human beings and aren't celebrating his murderous demise.
"In the refugee camp of Aida, on the outskirts of Bethlehem, the bomber's distraught parents said he was a quiet and devout Muslim who showed little interest in politics. Jaara left a note saying he was avenging those killed in Gaza a day before.
Jaara's father, Munir, said his son was the only breadwinner in a family of 11, and had been hoping to start a family. "I was expecting to marry him, not to bury him," the father said.
Jaara's mother sat on a mattress on the floor, crying. She carried a picture of her son in a police uniform with his police-issue assault rifle."
Either they're relatively decent folks or they're just upset that he did it after Saddam could no longer send them checks for $25 000. One or the other.
Hmm... I wonder if Mumia Abu-Jamal
(a.k.a. Wesley Cook a.k.a. Guilty McCop-Killer) will expound on this incident in one of his online columns
? I bet he has mixed feelings about it... on one hand, several eeeevvvviiiillllll Zionists died, which he'd probably consider to be a good thing, but, on the other hand, he'd have to celebrate the achievement of a police officer. Well, Mumia
, look at it this way: he may have been a cop, but, not only did he kill Zionists, now he's dead himself, and I know how much you like dead cops... for you, this must be a two-fer!
Anyhow, Little Green Footballs
also linked to this 5 minute long very graphic video of the murder scene
, which you should watch just to remind yourself of what Israel has to defend herself against. Hillel Montreal
should transfer this file to VHS (or DVD now) and show it on one of their monitors next time they have a display in the Atrium on the second floor of Concordia's Hall Building. Or, even better, hijack one of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights
anti-Semitic video events (just write "Death to Jews" on the video label and they'll be bound to show it... I mean, technically, it's an apt description for what's on the tape).
OSCAR PREDICTIONS... well, "PREDICTION", actually
Sorry, I don't know if it's the extreme cold or the fact that I actually went to class last week that is sapping my desire to blog. But here's something I can get excited about. Early Tuesday morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for this year's Oscars, to be held on February 29th, so, amazingly (due to it being a leap year), the Super Bowl and the Oscars will be together in the same month, though just barely.
But I haven't seen all that many "Oscar Bait" films this year, with the only serious Best Picture Oscar contenders I've seen being House of Sand and Fog
(which was very well-acted, though I don't know if it was "deep" enough for the Academy) and Lost in Translation
(which was pretty good, though the film felt a little too thin plot-wise, being more about the atmosphere of tourists and professionals being in a foreign country yet never really blending in, sticking with other foreigners, but Bill Murray definitely deserves an Acting nod) and the only potential Best Picture nominees I'm still angling to see being In America
and Tim Burton's Big Fish
and... maybe... (heard very mixed opinions from people I trust) Last Samurai
. I never got around to seeing Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
and I don't think I will until it's on DVD; they're well-made films, and I can understand the appeal of them because I have family members into it, but I find lengthy, complicated battle sequences involving orcs or other magic creatures just to be tedious endurance tests. I'm not saying they're bad, but I'm saying they're not my bag, and, since I'm not exactly a "professional" critic, I don't need to see it, especially when there's a lot I'd rather see.
Needless to say, I won't bother making predictions for the live-action categories.
Okay, the only category I can speak with some expertise on is BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
, where I've seen basically every potential nominee except for Satoshi Kon's Tokyo Godfathers
, which hasn't opened in Montreal yet (and wasn't at the Fantasia festival last year... wah!). Since far fewer animated films were released in North America in 2003 than were in 2002, there will be just 3 nomination berths.
This is what I predict the Academy will choose,
-The Triplets of Belleville
with the winner being Finding Nemo
. I know it's Pixar's year, and Finding Nemo
enjoyed stunning success at the domestic and overseas box-offices and even beat out The Lion King
If I were the Academy, this would be my choice:
with the winner being... Millenium Actress
I thought Finding Nemo
was great and all, and I will be happy to see Pixar getting a BAF at last, but I still find it to be the most pedestrian of the five Pixar films, me being one of the few people whom likes Monsters, Inc.
best out of the five because I felt the world of Monsteropolis had more "life" to it than any of the other Pixars and because Steve Buscemi's "Randall" (the chameleon monster) gave the film much more of an edge than the other four. While, from last year's nominees, I still think Lilo & Stitch
is better than the overrated Spirited Away
, at least I understand what it is about Spirited Away
that the Academy preferred, Spirited Away
being a much more layered film than Lilo & Stitch
, the Academy usually seeming to go for things that are "deeper" (none of the layers in Spirited Away
ever really connected with me). That's just personal preference. On the other hand, for the inaugural BAF award two years ago, to this day I don't know why Monsters, Inc.
was beaten by the fairly entertaining but vastly overrated Shrek
. Even if I played the "artistic merit" game which I find pretentious, I would have thought the Academy would have taken more to a film with true heart and not just an extended, computer animated Fractured Fairy Tale
with a bunch of pop-culture references and thinly-veiled penis jokes and jabs at Disney and Michael Eisner. So Pixar will get the award it deserved to get two years ago.
People may be surprised that I put Brother Bear
up there, but, while I didn't think it was on the same level as The Lion King
or Lilo & Stitch
, I thought it was much better than what most of the critics thought of it, and the plot similarites to The Lion King
were exaggerated, since both have characters whom feel responsible for the death of another even if they weren't really to blame, however, most of what came after the premise is completely different. As annoying as the trailers made the character (or characters?) out to be, I didn't even mind the Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis-voiced moose, though maybe that's my Canadian bias talking. It doesn't deserve to win, but I think it does at least deserve a nod.
The Triplets of Belleville
had very interesting, quirky visuals, and visuals are especially important in animation, make no mistake about it, because, if you have a good story but uninteresting visuals, what would be the point of animating it? However, even on a purely visual basis, I'd still like Finding Nemo
, Millenium Actress
, and, yes, Brother Bear
more, and I didn't think the story or the individual situations in The Triplets of Belleville
lived up to the promise of the first crazy few minutes of scratchy, black and white animation in that bawdy-yet-Disney-esque nightclub.
Yes, I am very biased, hoping to see Millenium Actress
get nominated and win, seeing as how I was at the world premiere in Montreal in July 2001
and I got to see Satoshi Kon up close after the presentation, doing little sketches of Mima from Perfect Blue
for anyone whom asked. Well, it's a "tour-de-force" through the history of slightly alternate reality Japanese cinema (but based on actual films with just a few elements changed for copyright purposes) from the years leading up to World War II, through the reconstruction and up to about the 1970s (though there's one specific Tampopo
reference, and that didn't come out until 1986). I found it to be a lot more interesting than Spirited Away
even if I only got a few of the Japanese film references, and I loved the narrative device of the interviewer and cameraman being able to film inside Chiyoko's memories somehow (and even interacting in minor ways). If the memories had been done straight with no intrusions from the film crew, I think the film would have had too much gravitas for my tastes... I needed the comic relief. (I also love that Kon leaves it unexplained how they are able to enter into her memories; any explanation would insult our intelligence and would, in fact, be extraneous to the story.) But, sadly, I don't think it will be nominated, as Dreamworks' Oscar hopes seem pinned on The House of Sand and Fog
and they've done nothing reported in any of the anime sites I read (or at Oscar Watch
) in terms of campaigning for Millenium Actress
to even be nominated, and it got so little distribution in theatres, few major critics even noticed it. Think of that next time you bash Disney for its treatment of Ghibli films, that Disney treated Spirited Away
and Lilo & Stitch
equally in terms of the Oscar campaign, and that Disney put Spirited Away
on over ten times the amount of screens pre-Oscar as the other major studios give the anime films they distribute (and then moved it up to nearly 800 screens after it won the Oscar, even if the public didn't respond all that much).
If a Satoshi Kon film does get nominated, it will be his more recent Tokyo Godfathers
, which quickly got released in North America (unlike Millenium Actress
, which was finished in 2001, but wasn't released in Japan until 2002) to take advantage of Oscar season, and for which Samuel Goldwyn films did put a "For Your Consideration" ad in Variety
. I haven't seen it, so I can't really comment, but it's about a few of Tokyo's homeless "untouchables" finding a baby and trying to return it to its parents, and it's played up much more for laughs than Kon's previous two films (Millenium Actress
and the Hitchcock-esque Perfect Blue
), not that that's neccesarily a bad thing. The bizarre ending sequence, as described in this Village Voice review by J. Hoberman
, makes it sound like it's worth the price of admission just to see that alone. But, it doesn't seem to have the critical momentum of The Triplets of Belleville
, and I don't know if we'll ever see two non-American animated films nominated in the same year.
As for Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
, it wasn't even submitted for nomination. Its 2001 release date in Japan may be too early, and, while it's a worthy enough addition to a very good series, I don't think it stands up that well on its own. And some scenes drag.
I guess I'll find out if I was right on Tuesday, but, take note that I was 100% spot on last year before the awards were announced
, right down to Spirited Away
winning, even if that took some people by surprise.