Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Olympic Media

Well I have been gone awhile. We went right from the very strange valentines day weekend choices by my resident teen: Moulin Rouge for her red velvet laced party to a cozy night with Lola Rennt with the beau.
Those would not have been my choices for romance, but I am of a different generation.
But then we fell into the Olympics. What a difference four years makes in media! I know I am usually focused on film here, but the lines between media formats are blurring when you can get TV shows (whole seasons of them!)on DVD's and stream movies off the internet. My children won't see the lines between formats, so I feel free to discuss how we accessed the Olympics through media in my Usually About Film blog.
When our local boy Shani Davis last went for the gold, we were visiting the grandparents in Florida and trolling for big screens at sports bars to watch the races. This time we have our own big screen. And we have the internet and social media. So as I am watching the race via HD cable, I can see what's on Shani's facebook fan page and official website and integrate that information (and conversation) into my experience. And when our other Olympic hero Anton Apollo Ohno (I love any athlete that can dance well) was racing, we could check out his twittering, and read recent coverage on his preparation. The race, courtesy of the TV, was the heart of our experience, but the internet allowed us to feel up close, personal and real time about it. It may have felt more real than actually being there would have. It allowed us to communicate back to the athletes, and from what I can see, the athletes feel the love. It was very bizarre to see the uploads that the athletes marching in the opening ceremonies were posting AS THEY WALKED. We got an insider's collage of what the experience was like. And of course, we could replay our favorite parts over and over again, via YouTube and Vimeo and whatever else folks are posting to. Quick search and viola, the entire Olympics experience at your finger tips.

The officially interesting thing to me was that I was completely steering the experience. I was free to digest what mainstream media and the official Vancouver site was putting out, but there were all these other informal ways to access the content I wanted. And there were ways to talk back. We really are in a new era with new media and it will take a while before I can digest what it will all mean, but at first blush, I would say that it puts a universe of choices in your laptop, and editing abilities are going to be a hot commodity--its too easy to overload on information. Our kids are growing up talking back to what's coming out of the screen. And this will change EVERYTHING. Bad news for control freaks, but for now I am having fun immersing myself in Vancouver.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Foodie Flicks

In the winter, at our house, we cook to get through the cold and grey. And wonderful food is in our heads alot as we lobby for improved school lunches as a family cause. But one of the things that gets you through the long winter is FOOD FILMS and it was time to curl up on the couch and watch BIG NIGHT. If that meal doesn't make you head for the nearest trattoria, you have probably already frozen to death. The period details, the relationship between the brothers Primo and Secundo, and the fabulous seamed hose outlining the shapely legs of Isabella Rosellini--I just love this movie and now so do my kids. You can almost smell the risotto, and it made us all head into the kitchen the next day to cook up a storm. We have decided to do a few more food films in this snowy season to warm us up. There are so many to choose from: Like Water for Chocolate (a local eatery does a menu drawn from that film every year for Valentines Day) Tampopo, Babette's feast--I am sure you have a list of your own.
The trick will be to come up with a meal to match the film!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's Oscar Season

Well, we are out of the gate with the nominees announced! And we probably will have an Oscar party again this year--and it will probably end up like last year, where we end up putting on a movie and watching it, instead of the glitterati. See, unless your kids are teen demographic or older, the Oscars are not what I call family friendly. Oh, your little girl, lost in princess fashions, can ogle the dresses on the red carpet,but the event is all about a bunch of films that, for the most part, your kids CAN'T or should not see. This year, family friendly entertainment did better than most years, with UP and the Blind Side, two G rated films, getting nods, but by and large, its a show with a lot of talk about things your kids can't really relate to.
At our house we think that Where the Wild Things Are should have at least gotten a best adapted screenplay nomination--I still predict that that movie will stand the test of time and become iconic, but that's maybe because it spoke to our family more clearly and poignantly than anything else last year.

Last year we totally MEANT to watch the Oscar show. But at some point the kids were getting bored and picking fights so I popped the Bollywood Hit OM SHANTI OM into the player--it has music, dancing and the Indian version of the Great White Way and it was just the sort of Awards Night Inspiration we needed, so we never got back to the Oscars and just watched the summary of winners on the news afterwards. Maybe this year I will get off my proverbial lazy backside and put together a creative clips line up of scenes from previous Oscars.
Or we will substitute an unlikely past winner for the star studded made for TV event. I hate that we are not members of the Academy, or hooked up in any way, so laying hands on the animated shorts that are nominated is next to impossible. And I bet some of the foreign flicks are good too--where oh where to get those.

I know everyone on the planet except me has seen Avatar(I refuse to pay the upcharges and buy yet another pair of 3D glasses--the hype feels like Lemming Central, and 3 D gives me a migraine)and I am happy with my non-with-it status. But what I want to know is where does one access some of the more obscure nominees?? I will say that IMDB is a miracle because you can look up all the past work of the nominees for best makeup and costumes.

So its snowing again, and we have to get through all the Olympics Coverage---now that's real awards ceremonies, eh? before we can put on our sparkly clothes and eat hors d'oevres and watch something Filmic..... so basically, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow." Scarlett O'Hara in the 1939 Academy Award Winner Gone with the Wind.

Monday, February 1, 2010

True Grit

Inspired by the fact that the Coen Brothers will be remaking this fascinating tale of a girl in the hard scrabble American West, we saddled up on the couch and watched one of John Wayne's last rides. He was old, and fat, and magnificent. He finally won an Oscar here. It is hard for a 21st century kid to understand the kind of masculinity that John Wayne represents, especially in this film. He is honorable, but a hard drinker. Kids get the part about taking the law into his own hands, but by Schwartznegger standards, John Wayne is not exactly an attractive hero. We found it surprising that the envelope rated this classic as a G rated movie. I had a snuggly 4 year old in my arms, and I covered her eyes when the bad guys got killed. Luckily she was asleep by the time the rattlesnake appeared--this film is NOT for younger and more sensitive viewers, although it is a wonderful film. It was good to see a Western that focuses on a strong female character. In retrospect, what an interesting film for a 1969 audience.

Also encountered this weekend, Betty Davis, by accident. We came upon Now Voyager while channel surfing and unfortunately had to head out to dinner before the end, so now we will have to rent it to find out how it finished! The thing we most noticed was the harshness and unlikeability of the character, Charlotte. She was glamorous and tragic. And my girls noticed: Complicated. NOT a Disney female. Not made for TV. I am thinking we will have to have a night that is dedicated to those Betty Davis Eyes.