Live Blogging - The 2011 Oscars

Well....here we go again. I've been watching red carpet footage for a while. Everyone looks stunning, as usual. But admittedly, I'm distracted thinking about the opening ceremonies.

I wonder, will they be cringe-inducing or classy? Awkward or elegant? As my friend Jen always reminds me this time of year, it will NEVER be worse than the Rob Lowe/Snow White musical debacle of 1988 that Disney has attempted to scrub from our collective memories.

Oh yeah...it happened.


The Enchanted Tiki Room - Details Galore

A fantastic post over at Neatorama documents some great details of this beloved animatronic show that I just mentioned in my Top 12 California Movies list. This ride is one of my greatest inspirations and it has been the source of many articles and blogs I've written over the years.

Read the Neatorama article and enjoy some of the facts behind the magic.

12 Iconic California Movies

We're headed to California for another visit soon. Naturally, I have the compulsive need to "prepare" by watching as many relevant movies as I can. Nothing says California more to me than the silent film era in that tiny, undeveloped orange grove known as Los Angeles. In one of Mary Pickford's biographies, she says the air smelled strongly of citrus at all times. Can you imagine?

When I dream of L.A., I imagine what it represents, not what it actually is today. Maybe that's naive. But hey...my vacation, my list. These are the 12 iconic California movies that scream Los Angeles to me.

1. The Rocketeer is an adventure classic. Made in an era before comic-book movies had truly taken off in the film industry, The Rocketeer has a straight-forward tone. No winking at the camera, no self-awareness, just a sincere story with high stakes. The cinematography is gorgeous, Alan Arkin adds gravitas and Johnston nails the tone and look of the comics. (It's what makes him the perfect choice for the Captain America movie, which he also directed.)

2. Chinatown is the film noir that chronicles the story of a city-wide fight for water rights in 1920's LA. This is a true classic, known for its tension and careful cinematography that frames each shot with care, pushing every scene to add something to the story visually even when no dialogue is being spoken.

3. Who Framed Roger Rabbit captures the same film noir spirit of Chinatown, but it combines that spirit with the pop sugary look and feel of late eighties Spielberg. Even the DVD menus have you zipping around a studio backlot. This movie is a love letter to the iconic presence of Old Hollywood in our collective consciousness.

4. The Three Amigos may seem like a silly choice, seeing as how the majority of the story takes place in Mexico. But once again, we have a humorous take on the silent film studios.

5. Chaplin tells the story of Charlie Chaplin, and though the film drifts from Los Angeles to Europe and beyond, it covers an important era in filmmaking history. It's also the story of the filmmaking industry.

6. Xanadu is a legendary cheesecake musical that may just be the eighties incarnate. It features iconic California locations, like the Hollywood Bowl and beach boardwalks.

7. The Big Lebowski is the surreal Coen Brothers comedy that takes you through some of the seedier sides of the city. It's palm trees, stucco, and hardwood floors. It's film noir. It's everything good, from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and...up to Pismo.

8. Bowfinger is an underappreciated comedy about desperate filmmakers. And what's more LA than that? The story unfolds in studio bungalows and Hollywood hob-nob spots. It's better than you remember. Watch it. ASAP.

9.The World's Greatest Lover is a little known Gene Wilder classic. It tells the story of a frustrated Mid-Western man who pulls up stakes and moves to Hollywood in a vain attempt to become the next Rudolph Valentino.

10. Pee Wee's Big Adventure is a road movie, but it culminates in one of the most iconic Hollywood backlot scenes ever filmed. Hollywood is nothing like what this movie shows, but it's a perfect representation of the dream-like Hollywood we all have in the back of our minds.

11. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I know, I know. This made-for-TV movie starring Steve Guttenberg shows up on a lot of my lists. I can't help myself...I'm obsessed with theme parks...

12. The Muppet Movie culminates in the ultimate Hollywood movie studio scene and the real dream behind the image of California. "Life's like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing. Keep pretending."

I know there are plenty of iconic California movies that didn't make my list. There's L.A. Story, L.A. Confidential, The Muse and more. So what movie really says, "California" to you?


An Internet Meme I Can Get With...You Can't Explain That

What is an internet meme you ask?

It's a fad, something like lolcats, a trend usually having to do with humor that pops up on the internet and inspires lots of guffaws and home-made spin-offs.

(Think "All Your Base Are Belong to Us", FAIL, and more.)

THIS is a new one I happen to be enjoying to the fullest, at a website that I didn't know existed before today. Which seems impossible...nevertheless, enjoy!


Season One of "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" - What's Up With This Show?

When it comes to television, I've always loved 20/20, CBS' Sunday Morning, and as much non-fiction as I can get. There's a name for this type of programming and its called documentary television. And it's one of my many media addictions. I love all things PBS. I've recently discovered An Idiot Abroad, a priceless travel show hosted by an average Englishman hand-picked by Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant for his many similarities to Homer Simpson. I even love Destination Truth, a sometimes laughably goofy SyFy show that travels the world looking for cryptids. I'll watch any documentary TV having anything to do with travel especially if there's humor involved. (It's a big part of the reason why I started our little web series about theme parks, which is still very much in development.)


Eight Short Hair Inspirations from Film and Television

I went for a trim at my hairstylist this weekend and got the hack job of a lifetime. It's not a bad haircut, it's just nothing close to the haircut that I wanted. I even brought a picture and I gave two specific instructions.

1. Don't cut my hair above my chin.
2. Don't give me layers. I am a weak-chinned woman, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. It's just the way the bone-structure cookie crumbles.

But when my hair gets cut above my chin, I tend to look a little bit like Dana Carvey.

Bad haircuts seem to happen to me a lot. I must just not look like I know what I'm doing when I'm sitting in that chair. Well, there's that and the fact that I'm blind as a bat without my glasses, which are always removed during a haircut leaving me completely helpless to stop any overzealous snipping.

Instead of doing my usual month-long pout fest,  I'm going to make a list of a few of my favorite women of the stage and screen (big screen and small screen) who look sassy and stunning without long hair.

1. Special Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files - Who needs hair below the chin when you're an FBI doctor who is packing heat? Honestly...Scully didn't have time for curling irons or a half an hour for styling in the morning. She had conspiracies to track, so a practical style was a must.