On second thought ...
Here's my favorite: "The Wizard of Oz's" Wicked Witch of the West.
"You're in a tough spot if 'Wicked' is right there in your name, but WWW isn't exactly the most image conscious celebrity in Oz, either: She kidnapped Dorothy, threatened to drown her dog and tried to set The Scarecrow on fire, all to get her hands on the girl's ruby slippers. Foot fetish or not, that was some stone-cold villainy.
"Hold on a minute there:
"Remember that the Witch wasn't after Dorothy, and she wasn't trying to rule the world. All she ever wanted was those slippers. Say, how did Dorothy acquire those magical shoes in the first place? Why, by taking them off the blood-drenched feet of the Wicked Witch of the East. Who she just murdered. Who also happened to be the Wicked Witch of the West's sister.
"Let's look at the whole 'accident' from the West Witch's perspective:
"The Witch sisters are hanging around Oz, minding their own business when some random teenager crushes a woman to death with a house, killing her instantly in an act of domiciliary manslaughter. Next, the teenager waltzes out and corpse-loots the victim's shoes (some sort of creepy kill-trophy, no doubt) which under every inheritance law in the universe damn well belong to the deceased's surviving family.
"From where we stand, the Wicked Witch of the West had every right in the world to bludgeon Dorothy to death with a sock full of toxic batteries, but what did she do? Absolutely nothing. She just wanted her shoes back, and every action that she took was motivated by that want. Then, of course, Dorothy raises an army in the form of a giant, talking lion, a man made of metal and an unkillable scarecrow, steals the Witch's broomstick and kills the Witch, staging a nice little Witch sister reunion in the afterlife."
The explanation ...
This is why Corey Haim was excluded from SAG's In Memoriam reel:
"Kathy Connell, producer of the 2011 SAG Awards, tells Zap2It that it is one of the 'hardest decisions" to have to choose who will be included in the In Memoriam reel each year.
"'To be honest, he was [included],' she explains. 'We had two memorial packages, a longer version and a shorter version. He was in the longer version and unfortunately the show was running long. We had to use the shorter package which did not include Mr. Haim.'
"She continues, 'We were very sad to be forced to use the shorter package.'
"Friend and former co-star Corey Feldman says that he was not surprised by the SAG omission, telling The Hollywood Reporter 'We have become used to not being honored by our peers in the industry.'"
Sheila O'Malley's ode to Melissa Leo
Here's what Sheila writes about Leo in "The Fighter." I couldn't agree more:
"Leo’s performance has been described almost universally as “over-the-top”, but I beg to differ. There are certain pubs in southern Rhode Island and south Boston filled with larger-than-life people like Alice. I recognized that woman immediately. She’s a gun moll without the gangster (and the gun), an even lower-rent Lilly Dillon from 'The Grifters,' ruthless in her goals, and motivated by blood loyalty. Alice is followed around by a terrifying brood of dead-eyed daughters with spritzed bangs, who sit around aimlessly waiting to see what their mother will do, anticipating her battle cry so that they can follow suit. Leo’s performance is an attention-getter, for sure, loud and tough and funny, with big gestures and even bigger hair.
Hopkins' tops box office
Though many insiders claim it's the power of Anthony Hopkins that drew audiences to his newest picture, "The Rite" over the weekend, I say ... sort of.
It's really those billboards spread all over Los Angeles. All over the place. As in, everywhere. Even I, who ventures outside the cave infrequently, have seen Hopkins' face staring me down from, seriously, block to block. It's like Seattle and Starbucks. One on every corner.
I had no idea what the movie was about, though I gathered something to do with horror and religion, and as a result, I came home and looked the damn thing up to find out more. The billboards worked! Even as they got on my nerves.
Still, I figured "The Mechanic" would win over "The Rite."
Here's more from TheWrap:
"The power of Anthony Hopkins playing a priest compelled just enough moviegoers to make Warner's "The Rite" the No. 1 film at the domestic box office, grossing an estimated $15 million this weekend, according to studio data.
"A handful of other films took in $11 million each this weekend - notably the Ocar-nominated 'The King's Speech' - still leaving the box office a weak 16 percent behind its performance last year.
"'The Rite' came in on the low side of pre-release tracking for the exorcism-themed film, which had a production costs of around $40 million while garnering a B score from Cinemascore.
'We predicted a gross in the range of $14 million to $16 million, and we came in right in the middle,' said Dan Fellman, president of distribution for Warner Bros.
"Some tracking firms had 'The Rite' grossing $18 million or slightly more.
"Oscar nominees did brisk business, notably The Weinstein Company's contender 'The King's Speech,' which surged 41 percent to take in $11.1 million at 2,557 theaters. The film led the nominations pack with 12 nods from the voting academy.
"The weekend's other new wide release, CBS Films' low-budget remake of the Charles Bronson ode to pro killing, 'The Mechanic,' grossed $11.5 million, beating its studio's publicly stated estimate of around $8 million."
A video wrap-up
The 'Midnight Cowboy,' 'Goldfinger' composer passes away at 77
He will be greatly missed in the film community and has created some of the most enduring movie scores ever, from "Beat Girl" to the James Bond films to "Midnight Cowboy" and more.
Here's a wonderful Vanity Fair piece (written by Bruce Handy) about Barry before he passed away. It encapsulates his magic quite well:
"I was a melancholy kid, and growing up I found myself drawn to bright but melancholy music: Simon and Garfunkel, the gloomier Beatles tunes (George Harrison’s stuff), Smokey Robinson’s 'The Tears of a Clown,' and—a less likely favorite—the soundtrack to 'Midnight Cowboy,' which for years my parents played every night at cocktail hour, so much so that even now, whenever I hear it, I get a potent sense memory of the smell of gin and tonic. The soundtrack combined pop songs, including Harry Nilsson’s plaintive version of 'Everybody’s Talkin’, with a handful of orchestral cues, notably the movie’s main theme, with its loping, bittersweet melody played on harmonica.
"I hadn’t seen the movie—it was rated X when it came out in 1969, and I was 10—but the music spoke to me. It was sad but also glamorous, urban, and it had scope, a kind of wide-screen sweep—the score for a Western re-written as an Eastern. As I got older, I realized it was witty. And when I finally saw 'Midnight Cowboy,' I realized the music fit the movie’s odd meld of comedy and pathos perfectly: underneath it all, like the losers played by Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, the music yearned.
"I knew from the LP jacket that John Barry had written the instrumentals and supervised the rest, which didn’t mean much to me until I saw my first James Bond movie, 'You Only Live Twice.' Watching it (in re-release) at the age of 11 was a revelatory experience, like mainlining a brand of movie heroin formulated especially for pre-adolescents—a peak filmgoing experience I’ve never really equaled. I noticed Barry’s name in the credits for that too. The same guy who did the sad, sparkling music for 'Midnight Cowboy' also did that sexy, almost excruciatingly exciting James Bond music? This may have been my first intimation of what 'genius' means. Or at least 'range.'"
Crazy good ...
Which movie won? Considering it's positive buzz, it's not so, like, crazy.
Read here, from MSN:
"A film about young lovers in a long-distance relationship called 'Like Crazy' was awarded the grand jury prize for a U.S. drama at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Its star, Felicity Jones, also received a special jury prize for acting in the movie.
"America Ferrera presented the acting award to Jones, who was not in attendance at the Saturday night ceremony, saying "the 2011 Sundance Film Festival will go down as the year of the actress.'
"Peter D. Richardson's film 'How to Die in Oregon' won the grand jury U.S. documentary prize. It follows terminally ill patients living in Oregon, the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
"Also recognized were Mike Cahill and Brit Marling's sci-fi film 'Another Earth,' which won a dramatic special jury prize and the Alfred P. Sloan award.
"Cahill, who directed and co-wrote the movie, said 'this is the greatest week of our lives.' The film is about two strangers brought together the night before the discovery of a duplicate planet Earth.
"The Festival's awards ceremony was hosted by actor Tim Blake Nelson, who appears in the comedic bank heist film 'Flypaper,' which premiered at Sundance. Nelson told the audience, 'If you win a prize today, that's fantastic. Congratulations. But if you don't, persevere because if you have made it this far, trust me, your film will find a home.'"
Portman, Firth win top honors
Here's the winners of the Screen Actors Guild award via TheWrap:
"'The King's Speech' continued its week-long dominance of key awards contests on Sunday night, winning the feature film ensemble cast award from the Screen Actors Guild and reasserting its position as the clear favorite for the Best Picture Oscar.
"As expected, Colin Firth won best actor for 'The King’s Speech' and Natalie Portman won best actress for her role in 'The Swan.' [That's 'Black Swan,' by the way, TheWrap might one to get on that typo or too swiftly written entry]
“'The Fighter,' David O. Russell’s boxing drama, yielded both supporting actor wins, with Christian Bale Melissa Leo taking home trophies."