Musical Sequence of the Day: “Notorious” from Donnie Darko (dir by Richard Kelly)

For today’s musical sequence of the day (which is a temporary feature that I’m doing until Val’s internet is working again and she can return to doing her music videos of the day), we have the “Notorious” scene from 2001’s Donnie Darko.

In this scene, Sparkle Motion performs onstage while, miles away, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) burns down the house of creepy motivational speaker, Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze).  Playing throughout this scene: Duran Duran’s “Notorious.”

Why does Drew Barrymore hate Sparkle Motion?

This is the second scene from Donnie Darko to have been featured in this series.  Check out the “Head Over Heels” scene here.

(And yes, one reason why I love this scene is because I very much related to it.  Sparkle Motion is perhaps the most realistic part of Donnie Darko…)

Musical Sequence of the Day: “Head over Heels” from Donnie Darko (dir by Richard Kelly)

Hi, everyone!

Well, Val is having some internet issues so it’s going to be a few days until she’s able to do another music video of the day.  So, until she returns, I’m going to fill in with some of my favorite cinematic musical sequences!  These are scenes that made brilliant use of music.

And what better way to start things off than with the Head Over Heels scene from 2001’s Donnie Darko.  Directed by Richard Kelly, this scene not only makes brilliant use of the Tears For Fears song, Head Over Heels, but it also manages to introduce every character and set up almost every important relationship in the film.

It’s brilliant but I always find myself wondering what Drew Barrymore had against Sparkle Motion.

To quote Val, “Enjoy!”

Here’s The Super Bowl Spot For Life!

Apparently, there was a Super Bowl spot for a film called Life.  Somehow, I missed it.  Maybe it aired while I was outside, trying to convince the cat to come inside.

Who knows!?

But, what that in mind, here is the Super Bowl spot for Life!  Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal play astronauts and attempt not to get sued by whoever owns the rights to Alien.

Playing Catch Up With The Films of 2016: Demolition (dir by Jean-Marc Vallee)


Jake Gyllenhaal is owed an Oscar.  We all know that.  He should have been nominated for Nightcrawler and, even more importantly, he should have won.  However, for whatever reason, the Academy snubbed him.  Ever since then, we — and by “we,” I mean “me” but “we” sounds better — have been waiting for him to get another nomination.

Last year, for instance, we thought he would be nominated for Southpaw.  Then the movie came out and it turned out to be not that good.

This year, we thought it would be for Demolition.  Then Demolition came out and it turned out to be worse than Southpaw

And really, it shouldn’t have been.  Demolition was directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, who was rightly acclaimed for his work on Wild and Dallas Buyers Club.  Not only did it star Jake Gyllenhaal but it also featured Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper!  I mean, how could you go wrong with all that talent?

But the thing is, Jean-Marc Vallee may have directed Wild and Dallas Buyers Club but also directed the wildly uneven The Young Victoria.  Naomi Watts is a great actress but it’s rare that she gets truly great parts.  Chris Cooper can be great but he’s usually at his least subtle whenever he’s playing a suit-wearing authority figure.  As far Jake Gyllenhaal, he is an actor who was born to play eccentric outsiders.  Whenever he has to play someone who is “conventional,” he can seem miscast.

Now admittedly, Davis Mitchell is only “normal” for a few minutes in Demolition but, for the film to work, you have to believe that he was once a successful investment banker who made a lot of money, lived in the suburbs, and never questioned anything.  Since you never believe that Jake Gyllenhaal could ever not be eccentric, it’s hard to be shocked when Davis starts destroying houses and dancing in public.  Everyone else in the movie is so shocked to discover that Davis had an eccentric side but we’re not because he’s played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

The reason why Davis is acting so strange is because his wife has just died in a horrific auto accident.  Now that she’s gone, Davis finds himself wondering if he ever loved her and questioning his entire life.  What little joy he gets comes from helping to tear down houses and corresponding with Karen (Naomi Watts).  Karen works for a vending machine company.  When the hospital vending machine didn’t give Davis the candy that he paid for, he wrote a long letter to the company and explained that his wife has just died and…


See, this is one of those films that is so relentlessly quirky and full of scenes that are supposed to be profound and thought-provoking that it’s kind of a drag to actually try to describe the film’s plot.  I mean, it actually kind of ticks me off to think about all of the contortions that Demolition goes through in its attempt to convince us that it actually has something important to say.  (I was shocked to discover that it wasn’t based on a Nicholas Sparks novel.)  It’s one of those films that obviously has the best of intentions but it’s so overwritten and overdirected and overly portentous that anyone who has ever had to deal with depression will get annoyed with the simplified and shallow way that Demolition deals with it.

Demolition was supposed to be an Oscar contender last year but it’s release date got moved back and I can understand why.  The movie’s a mess.

Here’s hoping that Jake Gyllenhaal gets a great role next year!

The Las Vegas Film Critics Society Take A Gamble With Their 2016 Nominees!

Let’s take a gamble with the nominees of the Las Vegas Film Critics Society!

(Ha ha — I’m so cute.)

Anyway, the winners will be announced tomorrow!

Best Picture
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Nocturnal Animals
Hell or High Water

Best Actor
Chris Pine – Hell or High Water
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress
Emma Stone – La La Land
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
Amy Adams – Arrival
Annette Bening – 20th Century Women

Best Supporting Actor
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
Ben Foster – Hell or High Water

Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Viola Davis – Fences
Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Best Director
Garth Davis – Lion
Theodore Melfi – Hidden Figures
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
J.A. Bayona – A Monster Calls
Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

Best Original Screenplay
Manchester by the Sea
The Witch
Hell or High Water
La La Land

Best Adapted Screenplay
Hidden Figures
Nocturnal Animals
A Monster Calls

Best Cinematography
Nocturnal Animals
La La Land
Rogue One

Best Editing
La La Land
Nocturnal Animals
Hacksaw Ridge

Best Score
Nocturnal Animals
La La Land

Best Song
“City of Stars” (La La Land)
“How Far Will I Go” (Moana)
“I See Victory” (Hidden Figures)
“The Great Beyond” (Sausage Party)
“Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song) (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping)

Best Action Film
Captain America: Civil War
Rogue One
Hacksaw Ridge
Doctor Strange

Best Documentary
8 Days a Week
OJ: Made in America
The Eagle Huntress

Best Costume Design
The Witch
Fantastic Beasts
Love & Friendship
La La Land

Best Visual Effects
Jungle Book
Doctor Strange
Fantastic Beasts
A Monster Calls

Best Art Direction
La La Land
A Monster Calls
Fantastic Beasts

Best Animated Film
Kubo and the Two Strings
Sausage Party
Finding Dory

Best Foreign Film
The Handmaiden
Toni Erdmann
The Salesman

Best Comedy
Don’t Think Twice
The Edge of Seventeen
Sausage Party
The Nice Guys

Best Horror/Sci-Fi
The Witch
The Neon Demon
10 Cloverfield Lane
Don’t Breathe

Best Family Film
The Hunt for the Wilderpeople
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Ensemble
Hidden Figures
Manchester by the Sea
Hell or High Water

Breakout Filmmaker
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Robert Eggers – The Witch
Kelly Fremon Craig – Edge of Seventeen
Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert – Swiss Army Man
Nate Parker – Birth of a Nation

Youth in Film
Madina Nalwanga – Queen of Katwe
Lewis MacDougall – A Monster Calls
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Hailee Steinfeld – Edge of Seventeen
Alex B. Hibbert – Moonlight

Here’s the Latest Trailer For Demolition!

Much like Miles Ahead, Demolition is another film that was briefly pegged as a certain 2015 Oscar nominee until its release date was moved back to 2016.  Jean-Marc Vallee’s follow-up to the wonderful Wild, Demolition features Jake Gyllenhaal as a recent widower who struggles to deal with his grief.

I have to admit that I’ve seen the first trailer for Demolition about a hundred times now (it plays before every film at the Alamo Drafthouse) and I’m kind of sick of listening to Gyllenhaal talk about that damn vending machine.  That said, I’ll watch Jake Gyllenhaal in just about anything.  If I could force myself to sit through Southpaw, I’m sure I’ll be able to handle Demolition when it opens in April.

Here’s the latest trailer for Demolition!  Unfortunately, it opens with that same endless vending machine monologue but it does go on to reveal that one of my favorite actresses, Naomi Watts, is in the film as well.  So, that’s a good thing.

Here Are The Winners of The 2015 Hollywood Film Awards, Whatever The Hell Those Are.


Oh my God, y’all — the Hollywood Film Awards were held on Sunday and a bunch of potential Oscar contenders were honored!  Which all leads to one very important question:

What the Hell are the Hollywood Film Awards?

As I pondered that question, I realized that I had vague memories of sitting through the Hollywood Film Awards last year.  The ceremony was broadcast on CBS and it was distinguished from other awards shows in that there were no nominees.  Instead, only the winners were announced.  It was so amazingly dull and I can remember watching it and thinking, “Awards season has finally jumped the shark.”

(And this was even before Sasha Stone and Jeff Wells had their annual breakdowns…)

Anyway, the Hollywood Film Awards for 2015 were given out on Sunday and I’m assuming they weren’t televised.  (I was busy watching A Student’s Obsession anyway…)  You can find the winners below.  For the most part, it’s a pretty boring list (and why give out awards in November?) but it does allow us an early glimpse into some of the films and performers that are contending for Oscar gold.

Here’s the list.  Along with a gif of a kitty showing just how excited he is over Awards Season…



Career Achievement Award presented to Robert De Niro by David O. Russell.

Producer Award presented to Ridley Scott (“The Martian) by Russell Crowe.

Director Award presented to Tom Hooper (“The Danish Girl”) by Amber Heard.

Actor Award presented to Will Smith (“Concussion”) by Jamie Foxx.

Actress Award presented to Carey Mulligan (“Suffragette”) by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Supporting Actor Award presented to Benicio Del Toro (“Sicario”) by Reese Witherspoon.

Supporting Actress Award presented to Jane Fonda (“Youth”) by Laura Dern.

Breakout Actor Award presented to Joel Edgerton (“Black Mass”) by Johnny Depp, Dakota Johnson.

Breakout Actress Award presented to Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) by Armie Hammer.

New Hollywood Award presented to Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”) by Ryan Gosling.

Ensemble Award presented to “The Hateful Eight” by Quentin Tarantino.

Breakout Ensemble Award presented to “Straight Outta Compton” by Ice Cube.

Comedy Award presented to Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”) by Selena Gomez.

Breakthrough Director Award presented to Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) by Steve Carell.

Screenwriter Award presented to Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (“Spotlight”) by Mark Ruffalo.

Blockbuster Award presented to “Furious 7” by Kurt Russell.

Song Award presented to “Furious 7” (“See You Again”) by Vin Diesel.

Animation Award presented to Pete Docter (“Inside Out”) by Amy Poehler.

Cinematography Award presented to Janusz Kaminski (“Bridge of Spies”).

Composer Award presented to Alexandre Desplat (“The Danish Girl,” “Suffragette”).

Documentary Award presented to Asif Kapadia (“Amy”).

Editor Award presented to David Rosenbloom (“Black Mass”).

Visual Effects Award presented to Tim Alexander (“Jurassic World”).

Sound Award presented to Gary Rydstrom (“Bridge of Spies”).

Costume Design Award presented to Sandy Powell (“Cinderella”).

Make-Up and Hair Styling Award presented to Lesley Vanderwalt (“Mad Max: Fury Road”).

Production Design Award presented to Colin Gibson (“Mad Max: Fury Road“).

"Yawn. These awards are boring..."

“Yawn. These awards are predictable and boring.  You disappoint me…”