Lisa’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions for February

Well, with the 2018 Oscars finally out of the way, we can now shift our focus to the 2019 race.

As of February, that race is totally cloudy.  The predictions below should be taken with a grain of salt because 1) they’re mostly wild guesses and 2) the Oscar race never starts to become clear until after the summer.  You could probably argue that doing predictions this early in the year is a pointless exercise but here we are!

Best Picture

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Call of the Wild

Captain Marvel


The Irishman

The Last Thing He Wanted

Little Women

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

The Report

Toy Story 4


Best Director

Greta Gerwig for Little Women

Kassi Lemmons for Harriet

Chris Sanders for Call of the Wild

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


Best Actor

Christian Bale in Ford v Ferrari

Robert De Niro in The Irishman

Taron Egerton in Rocketman

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Ian McKellen in The Good Liar


Best Actress

Amy Adams in The Woman In The Window

Cynthia Erivo in Harriet

Saoirse Ronan in Little Women

Emma Thompson in Late Night

Alfre Woodard in Clemency


Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Last Thing He Wanted

Matt Damon in Ford v Ferrari

Harrison Ford in Call of the Wild

Al Pacino in The Irishman

Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


Best Supporting Actress

Annette Bening in The Report

Nicole Kidman in The Goldfinch

Janelle Monae in Harriet

Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Meryl Streep in Little Women


After checking out my pointless predictions for February, be sure to check out my even more pointless predictions for January!

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Cookie Goes To Hospital


I don’t care that the DVD menu says Cookie Goes To The Hospital.


I don’t care that the individual DVD case says Cookie Goes To The Hospital.

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And finally, I don’t care that the back of the complete set of The Kids Of Degrassi Street also says Cookie Goes To The Hospital.

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The title card says “Cookie Goes To Hospital”, so that’s what I’m going with for the title of this episode.

Speaking of goofs, I neglected to include the shot of Ida looking into the camera in the previous episode, so there it is below

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The episode begins by showing us that this is now a series.


As you may have noticed, there are no kids in that screenshot. There are no kids in several black-and-white stills that they show. Apparently all the kids have gone out into the street to pose for the series title card.

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This immediately cuts to the street sign that says Degrassi St. The store said De Grassi?

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The street was named after an Italian named Captain Filippo De Grassi who emigrated to Canada in 1831. I guess some decided to squeeze the two together and others didn’t.

We are now introduced to the secret club that Ida and some of her friends belong to as of this episode. The conflict is that Cookie would like her doll to become a member. It’s against the rules that could easily be modified.

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The rules are cutoff a bit, so I’ll sum them up. It’s a bunch of nonsense to go with the rules they’ll see at the hospital mentioned in the title and the content is stupid as illustrated by one of the rules that members need names that start with an I, C, or N.

Cookie isn’t worried about her doll getting into the club since I guess she forgot about the previous episode where Ida stood by and filmed her doll being taken away by a garbageman.

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This opening scene with Cookie does answer the burning question I had after the first episode. Yes, Cookie did have a backup doll. She also informs us that her stomach hurts.

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After Ida tells Cookie that her doll can’t join, Cookie leaves her doll in the clubhouse because plot, and Ida goes home to watch what I’m guessing is St. Elsewhere. This episode of The Kids Of Degrassi Street was made in 1980, so that’s the show I’m assuming Ida is watching.

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Ida’s mom gets a call. We find out that Cookie had to be taken to the hospital for appendicitis. Ida’s mom says that she should take the doll to Cookie or give it to Cookie’s mom.

Mom, you could get Ida to give you the doll, and then you could get it to Cookie or her mother, being an adult and all. It’s irresponsible as a parent to send your child off to track down a doll, and then have her potentially go to a hospital all by herself to deliver it.

We now cut to Cookie’s dad who will never show up again in this episode because of course he won’t.

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Next we meet Trish–one of the two neglectful nurses at this hospital.

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During their discussion we find out that Cookie’s real name is Kathryn. In addition, she has no idea why they call her Cookie. I’m going to assume it’s so her nickname meets the club rules when it comes to names.

As for the person who plays Trish, that’s Sue A’Court. She didn’t write this episode, but she will write other ones.

Behind Trish is the first person on The Kids Of Degrassi Street who I can find out went on to do some notable non-Degrassi related things. That’s Sara, played by Nancy Lam. She would go on to be a bit of a celebrity chef.

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Trish decides to explain to Cookie where her appendix is located in the best way possible. Cookie thinks it’s in her stomach. Trish corrects her by pushing on it, which in turn causes her pain. Go figure!

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Cookie brings up her doll with Trish. Cookie would like it to be there with her. Cookie says that her parents don’t know where her doll is at the moment. She tells Trish that a person named Ida knows. You’d think Trish would go to the front desk to tell the one in charge to keep an eye out for Ida and ask Cookie’s parents, like her father we saw previously, about Ida, right? Nope!

Ida and Noel, played by Peter Duckworth-Pilkington, show up at the hospital and get into an elevator. He looks at the camera to make sure it is okay to press the button.

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It’s time to meet Ida as an adult if she doesn’t change her ways concerning the club rules.

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Make sure you read the rules below because while the episode will show them over and over again, I’ll spare you the repetition. These are the hospital’s equivalent to the club rules and they are enforced to the same extent.

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The kids try to go in to give Cookie her doll, and the nurse at the front desk takes the doll to give to their friend who they even say is named Kathryn Peters making it easy for her to have it sent to Cookie’s room. Nope!

She cuts them off and refuses to do anything but say that she didn’t make up the rules before shooing them away from her.

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Noel has a plan to get by the nurse at the front desk, played by Annette Tilden.

While they go off to put Noel’s plan in motion, it turns out that Trish had enough time to find a replacement doll, but still can’t be bothered to go to the front desk to mention Ida, Cookie’s doll, or anything to be passed along to Cookie’s parents.

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Cookie isn’t entirely innocent here either since it appears that she spoke with at least one of her parents between the time Trish was last here and now. Apparently this is something to keep bringing up with Trish, but not her own parents. The parents that know who Ida is since it is Ida’s mother who was called to tell Ida that Cookie had appendicitis and to find the doll.

Meanwhile, we find out the plan to get past Desk Nurse is for Ida to try to sneak past by walking behind a hamper.

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After being caught, Ida is sent away again.

A doctor comes in to explain a few things to Cookie, but we aren’t here for competence, so let’s go back to Trish.

Along with saying a few other things, she lies to Cookie. She says she’ll look around for Ida. She doesn’t look around. In fact, after a short scene with Ida and Noel, she comes in with the anesthetic.

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I will give the episode credit here for having Trish explain to Cookie exactly what they are going to do to her. She even allows her to stick a needle in the other doll to show her how the anesthetic will be administered.

While this was going on, Noel came up with another plan, which was to have Ida put on a Groucho Marx mask and try to walk by Desk Nurse. I get the feeling Noel isn’t the brightest of kids that live on Degrassi St. While we’re on the subject of Noel’s plan, where did he get that mask from anyways?

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As you can see, the plan went over swimmingly.

You’d think at this point that Desk Nurse would begin to think that if two small children have tried this many times to get past her, then perhaps it is something worth asking them about or asking security to look into. Of course she doesn’t. Let’s never mind the little matter that there are two kids under the age of 12 that appear to be unsupervised constantly trying to get past her desk.

Trish, after still not going to the front desk, injects Cookie with the anesthetic. Yet again, Cookie emphasizes just how important this doll is to her. Remember that this isn’t something the hospital doesn’t take into consideration given the fact that Trish brought in another doll for Cookie. It’s just that for whatever reason, Trish doesn’t want to do the bare minimum to find Cookie’s doll. Cookie gives Trish Ida’s phone number. You’d think Ida or Noel’s parents might be wondering where their kids are at this point.

Finally, finally, Trish goes to the main desk to try to do something about this doll situation. Within a couple of minutes she finds the doll. Does it help at this point? Nope! By the time Ida reaches Cookie, she is seconds away from going under.

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In other words, all of this just made Cookie’s experience leading up to her surgery a more uncomfortable and potentially frightening experience.

After surgery, Ida and Noel pay a visit to the recovery room so that we can see the devil doll at the bottom of the screen.

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Afterwards, Ida changes the rules to allow Cookie’s doll to join the club. End of story. Ida learned her lesson and Cookie will probably be scared of hospitals from now on.

Geez, they certainly muddled the lesson they were trying to teach with this episode, didn’t they? I understand why they pushed the parents into the background. It is a show for little kids. However, in the case of an episode such as this, it makes them out to be horrible parents.

Despite my issues with the episode, it, like the show, does a good job with its portrayal of the kids. Unfortunately, the parents’ stuff will continue to come up in later episodes.

In the credits, we find out that Degrassi royalty was involved in this episode.

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Phil Earnshaw would go on to be the cinematographer and director of episodes in the franchise up to and including Degrassi: Next Class. Kit Hood was around for quite awhile. Linda Schuyler was with the franchise the entire time.

Since doing a post on Ida Makes A Movie, I have since found out that, at least according to Wikipedia, the first four episodes were short films that were then turned into a series and originally aired as after-school specials. Why was the first episode the only one not to include an introduction on it for the DVD release? I don’t know.

See you next time!

  1. The Kids Of Degrassi Street
    1. Ida Makes A Movie

Cleaning Out the DVR Pt. 22: Winter Under the Stars

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I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, and since my DVR is heading towards max capacity, I’m way overdue! Everyone out there in classic film fan land knows about TCM’s annual “Summer Under the Stars”, right? Well, consider this my Winter version, containing a half-dozen capsule reviews of some Hollywood star-filled films of the past!

PLAYMATES (RKO 1941; D: David Butler ) – That great thespian John Barrymore’s press agent (Patsy Kelly) schemes with swing band leader Kay Kyser’s press agent (Peter Lind Hayes) to team the two in a Shakespearean  festival! Most critics bemoan the fact that this was Barrymore’s final film, satirizing himself and hamming it up mercilessly, but The Great Profile, though bloated from years of alcohol abuse and hard living, seems to be enjoying himself in this fairly funny but minor screwball comedy with music. Lupe Velez livens things up as Barrymore’s spitfire…

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Music Video of the Day: What About Us? by Gary Clark, Jr. (2019, dir by Savannah Leaf)

Today’s music video of the day comes to use from Austin’s own Gary Clark, Jr.

The video for What About Us? takes place in and around a trailer park and it really does capture the feel of the place.  Now, before anyone asks, I’ve never lived in a trailer park but I’ve visited more than a few.  Trailer parks are often both ominous and hopeful at the same time.  While you definitely see some people who have fallen on hard times, you also see a lot of acts of small kindness.  There’s a community spirit to a good trailer park.  When you’re on the outskirts of “acceptable” society, it’s always good to have people who you can depend upon.

This video was directed by Savannah Leaf, who also did the video for Clark’s This Land.  The gorgeous black-and-white cinematography is credited to Isaac Bauman.  Bauman has served as director of photography on several music videos.  He’s got 66 credits listed at the Imvdb, including Avicii’s Broken Arrow.

(We miss you, Avicii!)


Film Review: Murder by Numbers (dir by Barbet Schroeder)

First released in 2002, Murder by Numbers is one of those films that seems to be pop up on Cinemax every couple of months.  It’s not really that good, though it has its fans because if features Sandra Bullock being all self-destructive and one of the film’s villains is played by a young Ryan Gosling.

Ryan Gosling is Richard Haywood, child of privilege.  He’s handsome.  He’s funny.  He’s popular.  He’s spoiled.  He’s often high.  And he’s totally psychotic.  Richard wants to commit the perfect crime and, fortunately, so does his classmate, Justin (Michael Pitt).  Justin is a fiercely intelligent introvert who spends most of his time reading and writing and playing with his computer.  He’s got a crush on Richard’s ex, Lisa (Agnes Buckner).  From the minute that Lisa showed up and started talking to Justin, I was concerned.  I was like, “Is this another movie that’s going to feature someone named Lisa being murdered?  CHERISH ALL OF THE LISAS IN YOUR LIFE, PEOPLE!”

Anyway, Richard and Justin do end up killing a woman, though not Lisa.  They go through a lot of effort to frame the school’s pervy janitor, Ray (Chris Penn), for the crime.  And they nearly succeed, though Detective Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock) is way too smart to fall for their tricks.  Unfortunately, no one believes anything that Cassie says because she has a shady past and a drinking problem.  Even her sympathetic new partner, Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin), thinks that it was probably Ray.

Literally everyone on the police force tells Sam that Cassie is unstable and not to be trusted, which leads to an interesting question.  If everyone’s convinced that everything Cassie says is wrong, why does she still have a job?  Why do they still assign her to cases?  It’s like, “We’ve got a murder that we have to solve!  Let’s give it to that detective who we think never gets anything right!”

Sandra Bullock does her best to bring the self-destructive Cassie to life but she kind of runs into the huge problem that she’s Sandra Bullock and she has such a firmly entrenched screen presence that it’s difficult to take her seriously as someone who spend her free time sitting on a houseboat, getting drunk, and obsessing on the past.  You really want her to give a good performance because it’s impossible not to root for Sandra Bulllock but she’s just too miscast.  You keep expecting Matthew McConaughey to show up, playing a bongo drum and trying to cheer her up.

Far more convincing is Ryan Gosling, who plays Richard as the type of guy that we all knew in high school.  You know he’s a jerk.  You know you should stay away from him.  But he’s just so much fun and he has so much money!  Unfortunately, Gosling is so charismatic that Richard quickly becomes the only compelling character in the film.  I mean, if you have the choice between watching Michael Pitt, Ben Chaplin, or Ryan Gosling, who are you going to go with?  You’re supposed to hate Richard and hope that justice catches up with him but instead, you find yourself hoping that he’ll sneak out of the country and spend the rest of his hiding out in South America or something.

So, as a result, the film really doesn’t work.  (It also doesn’t help matters that it’s directed in a rather detached fashion by the king of ennui, Barbet Schroeder.)  But it’s interesting to watch, just for a chance to see a future star in the making.  Gosling steps into a rather underwritten role and basically takes over the entire damn movie.

It’s also worth seeing for the scene in which Sandra Bullock gets attacked by a baboon.  It’s a weird moment and Schroeder screws things up by mixing in a flashback to Cassie’s past but still, it’s a baboon attacking Sandra Bullock.  That’s not something you see every day.

Music Video of the Day: Killing Spree by Chromatics (2008, dir by Alberto Rossini)

Who is getting killed and who is doing the killing?

The video kinda starts out like a typical Friday the 13th-influenced slasher film so I’m sure that would lead many to suspect that Jason Voorhees or some other immortal backwoods zombie is lurking around in the shadows, carrying a machete.

I think it’s just as possible that the video could be an homage to a 70s redneck rampage movie.  So, maybe the threat is coming from a toothless mountain mnn.  I will say, however, the real-life toothless mountain men are always a lot nicer than they’re portrayed in the movies.  Or at least, they are if they’re the type of mountain men who grow weed instead of cooking meth.

Or maybe it’s the dog.  I’m tempted to blame the dog but that’s just because I have a long-standing fear of dogs.  Way back when I was like ten, my family went to a lake and there was this big dog that showed up out of nowhere and followed us around everywhere and acted really friendly.  But then, suddenly, it stopped, took one look at me, and started to growl.  My mom told me not to move while my uncle tried to calm it down.  Of course, telling a terrified ten year-old not to move almost always has the opposite effect and, before I knew it, the dog was charging right at me.  Anyway, I kinda blacked out at that point so I’m not sure what exactly happened next.  Apparently, my uncle was able to hold the dog off until its owners finally showed up and retrieved it.  For years afterwards, I was absolutely terrified of dogs but now I’ve reached the point where they only make me nervous.

(It’s sad because, deep down, I really want to like dogs, if just because they make me feel so guilty if I don’t act happy to see them.)

Anyway, regardless of who is or is not getting killed or doing the killing in this video, this is still another wonderfully hypnotic mood piece from Chromatics and this atmospheric video is the perfect companion piece,



Book Review: ROCK-COVERY – Not Your Mother’s Meditation Guide by Kim Jorgensen-Richard

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And now for something a little bit different…

Blogging about classic films and pop culture isn’t my only passion. Full Disclosure: I’ve personally been in recovery from alcohol and all other substances (and trust me, there were a LOT of other substances) for the past 15+ years. For the last ten of those years, I’ve worked in the substance abuse treatment field, helping others find their own pathway to recovery. Along the way, I’ve met a lot of good people in the field who share my passion for helping those who struggle with addiction issues. One of those is Kim Jorgensen-Richard, with whom I once shared an office, and when I started a new job this past January, Kim was working in the same building (in a different program).

Author Kim Jorgensen-Richard

I discovered I wasn’t the only writer in the house: Kim recently achieved a lifelong dream and wrote…

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Documentary Review: Studio 54 (dir by Matt Tyrnauer)

Here’s two things that you should know about me:

First off, I am a huge history nerd.  History fascinates me the way that some people are fascinated by football or video games.  I’m always interested in learning about the way the world used to be and I think one of the biggest problems that we, as a society, have right now is that too few people actually know much about anything that happened before they were born.  For that reason, I absolutely love documentaries.

Secondly, my two favorite 20th century decades are the 20s and the 70s.  If you think about it, both decades have a lot in common.  In both the 20s and the 70s, American reacted to a national trauma by essentially saying, “Fuck this.  I’m going to have a good time.”  After the trauma of World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic, Americans in the 1920s reacted by retreating to speakeasies and idolizing gangsters and tycoons.  In the 1970s, American dealt with the aftereffects of Vietnam and Watergate by retreating to discotheques and drugs.  It’s all a part of the cycle of history.  When confronted by a combination of trauma and humorless scolds (whether they’re preaching prohibition or governmental reform), many Americans will decide to seek pleasure instead.

(Interestingly enough, the wild parties of the 20s and the 70s were both ended by a combination of a financial crisis and a new presidential administration.)

The 20s and the 70s are especially relevant today because I think we’re on the verge of entering another decade in which people are going to pursue pleasure above all else.  Right now, America is dealing with several traumas and while the humorless scolds may currently be getting the majority of the media attention, there’s a definite backlash brewing.  People are getting tired of being told they have to do this or that they can’t say that.  If the world’s going to end anyway, the thinking will go, we might as well enjoy our final days.

With all that in mind, it’s no surprise that I ended up watching the 2018 documentary, Studio 54, on Netflix last night.

From 1977 to 1979, Studio 54 was the Manhattan discotheque, a nightclub that was populated by the rich, the famous, and the coked up.  Depending on which side of the cultural divide you called home, Studio 54 represented either everything that was good about New York in the 70s or everything that was bad.  It was place where people could be themselves but only if they were famous enough or interesting enough to convince the people working the door to let them in.  In Spike Lee’s ode to New York in the 70s, 1999’s Summer of Sam, John Leguizamo and Mira Sorvino may have been the most glamorous couple in the Bronx but not even that was enough to get them through Studio 54’s front doors.

Through the use of archival footage and interviews with some the people who were actually at Studio 54 during its heyday, Studio 54 shows how two young men, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, opened a nightclub in the sleaziest part of Manhattan and quickly became the undisputed kings of New York nightlife.  Perhaps the only thing quicker than their rise was their fall.  A combination of drugs, hubris, and the IRS led to not only Schrager and Rubell losing Studio 54 but also spending a year in prison.  After they two were released from prison, they found success opening up another nightclub and several hotels.  Rubell died in 1989, his official cause of death listed as being hepatitis and septic shock complicated by AIDS.  Schrager has gone on to become one of the world’s top hoteliers and received a presidential pardon in 2017.

Though the film is largely built around interviews with Ian Schrager, it’s the deceased Rubell who dominates the majority of the story.  As Schrager himself puts it, Schrager was an introvert who thrived behind-the-scenes while Rubell was an extrovert who loved hanging out with and being seen in the company of the rich and famous.  One of the most interesting themes of the documentary is that, even though he made a fortune by embracing the LGBT community and its culture with Studio 54, Steve Rubell himself remained closeted.  Rubell, the film suggests, created 54 so he could finally have a place where he could be himself in a way that he couldn’t be in the outside world.  When we see archival footage of Rubell being interviewed during 54’s heyday, we see evidence of both his charisma and his decline.  There’s quite a contrast between the fresh-faced, enthusiastic Rubell who we see at 54’s opening and the exhausted-looking Rubell that we see a year later, slurring his words and looking at the world with dark-circled, bloodshot eyes.

Schrager, unfortunately, never comes across as being as compelling a figure as Rubell.  In his interviews, Schrager is open about some things but there are other times when he seems to shut down.  Schrager tells us about all the work that went into getting Studio 54 ready for its grand opening but, when it comes time to discuss his own arrest for cocaine possession, he becomes evasive.  I guess that’s understandable because, really, who wants to relive being arrested?  But since Shrager’s arrest set off the chain of events that eventually led to 54’s downfall, it’s hard not to regret the feeling that we’re not getting the full story.

The same could be said about this documentary as a whole.  It’s frequently fascinating and I loved seeing all of the old pictures of people like Andy Warhol and Liz Taylor hanging out at Studio 54.  If you’re interested in the McCathy era, you might want to watch this documentary just for the chance to see Roy Cohn show up at Rubell and Schrager’s attorney.  And yet, you watch the film and you regret that it didn’t dig even deeper into both what Studio 54 was and what it represented to people in both the 70s and today.  Studio 54 is a good place to start but, by the end of documentary, you still feel like there’s more to the story than you’ve been told.