From time to time, I need to get a few things off my chest…this is the first installment of 2014.
• I have never been a regular viewer of network Late Night television (SNL is the exception) and struggle with the traditional monologue/guest/guest/lesser known guest format, but this may have to change (at least through the DVR access point). I watched the Jimmy Fallon Best of Late Night Primetime Special last week and was thoroughly entertained and impressed. He does some hilarious things, especially with any form of musical parody, any collaboration with Justin Timberlake, and any time the Roots are involved (I never would have known that the band I struggled to connect with on those spring days on Foss Hill at Wesleyan would become the house band of The Tonight Show!). I am all in on Jimmy as the host of The Tonight Show and am ready to see what Seth Myers will do with Late Night. In the branches of the Lorne Michaels tree of comedy prosperity I trust.
Here are some of my favorite Jimmy Fallon clips:
An a cappella version of “Can’t Stop”:
The “Sesame Street Theme” with childhood instruments:
A lip sync battle between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Stephen Merchant:
The “History of Rap” performed by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon:
The “Reading Rainbow” theme sung by the Doors:
• Yes, yesterday’s Patriots AFC Championship game loss to the Denver Broncos was a disappointment (and a crushing blow to a potential Super Bowl hosting party gig), the grieving period will be short-lived. As a lifelong Boston sports fan, I have both experienced my share of devastating losses (I am looking at you 2008 Super Bowl, 2003 ALCS, 2010 NBA Finals…I could go on) and thankfully, an embarrassment of the richest successes beginning with the first time Brady and Belichick combined forces almost twelve years ago. The 2013-2014 New England Patriots overachieved amidst a who’s who of best player loss to injury (Gronk, Wilfork, Mayo, and most recently, Talib), free agency (Welker, Woodhead) and incarceration for murder (the increasingly vile tale of Aaron Hernandez). The defensive offsides penalty had already been thrown on much of this free play of a season, so to even be within one win of the Super Bowl was something to celebrate. Yesterday, the best football team won. As Bill Belichick’s full calendar of 2014 draft preparation already shows, it is time to move on to next season.
• The Oscar nominations woke up the West Coast Thursday morning with some surprise inclusions, notable omissions, and endless questions about what the rationale behind the decision to have Chris Hemsworth (“a super hero amongst us”) announce them could have been. My strongest lingering takeaways:
The Academy dug The Wolf of Wall Street. With acting nominations for Leonardo DiCaprio (an on the fence possibility going in) and Jonah Hill (considered to be even further on the outside looking in), Martin Scorsese’s eighth directing nomination, and a Best Picture nomination among the field of nine, there is a renewed momentum for this relative latecomer to the awards season party. After his Golden Globe win and facing a field that does not feature once thought to be juggernaut competition from the likes of Tom Hanks and Robert Redford, I think he has a legitimate shot at winning his first Academy Award.
Speaking of Tom Hanks, his exclusion from the Best Actor race is the hardest omission for me to stomach. His performance in Captain Phillips (nondescript New England accent aside) was vintage Hanks and deserved to be recognized.
I was most pleased that Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen were nominated for Best Song, but it made me uncomfortable when Cheryl Boone Isaacs had to say, “You may know them better as U2.” Would she have had to similarly qualify the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
I have six movies to see before the March 2 ceremony in order for me to have fulfilled my viewing quota in the six major categories (Best Picture, Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Director). Those movies are, in order from “I want to see you” to “this matinee feels like a chore”: 1. Her (always on my list), 2. Dallas Buyer’s Club (I am all in on the “2014 Year of McConaughey” train), 3. August: Osage County (my all-time favorite stage play but not sure about the film version), 4. Nebraska (“Will Forte!”), 5. Philomena (one of those trailers that does not inspire, but the words from mouth that I have heard have been universally praising), 6. Blue Jasmine (I am not sure I want to have a relationship with Woody Allen pictures going forward).
• The second episode of Real World: Ex-Plosion may have been slightly more tolerable than the first, but I am still struggling. Any chance that Doug will return for more tomfoolery?
• Sherlock came back to US audiences last night and was a most welcome return. Perhaps as a consequence, it took me two sittings to get through the second episode of the more melancholic and morose True Detective. I couldn’t help but think that I had already watched the true detective.
• In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, this lullaby of hope never loses its power. It’s also by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen:
Finally, welcome back Captain Rajon Rondo. We missed you.
David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company.