Monthly Archives: February 2015

Jay and Ross Talk Shit: Episode 5 – The Oscars

We’re back with a new episode of Jay and Ross Talk Shit! This week, we cover the Oscars! This particular podcast was recorded both before AND after the ceremony, so for each category you get to hear our predictions immediately followed by what happened.

Since this podcast is half the length of the actual ceremony, it is quite long! If you’d like to jump to a particular category or subject, use the timecodes below:

0:00 – Intro
1:25 – Best Picture
9:07 – Best Director (with a tangent about Babel)
13:58 – Best Actor
21:06 – Best Actress
24:31 – Best Supporting Actor
27:07 – Best Supporting Actress (including Patricia Arquette’s speech, the controversy, wage equality for women, and the dull nature of a ceremony afraid to offend anybody)
38:42 – Best Foreign Language Film
40:00 – Best Adapted Screenplay
46:18 – Best Original Screenplay
51:58 – Best Animated Feature
54:11 – Best Makeup/Hairstyling (with a tangent about the Academy’s prejudice against superhero movies and “popcorn” flicks)
57:36 – Best Cinematography
1:00:02 – Best Costume Design
1:01:39 – Best Film Editing
1:05:11 – Best Original Score
1:07:35 – Best Original Song
1:10:04 – Best Production Design
1:13:27 – Best Sound Mixing
1:15:58 – Best Sound Editing
1:21:28 – Best Visual Effects
1:25:22 – Best Documentary Feature (with a tangent about Edward Snowden and liberty vs security)
1:28:33 – Short Categories
1:34:11 – End Results and Wrap Up, including discussion about Oscar bloat and Melanie Griffith/Dakota Johnson.

As always, thanks for listening!

American Sniper Review: The Hazards of Thematic Confusion

AMERICAN SNIPERThe following article is a review of American Sniper, but it goes further in-depth than most of the reviews on this site. Because of this, I am posting this as a “Review” and a “Deep End” article. Due to the nature of the review, spoilers will be discussed.

First off, the good: American Sniper is a technical marvel. The film is the frontrunner in both sound categories at the Oscars this year, and it is obvious why. The way that the sound team layered the background noises in Iraq onto the “silent” moments while Chris Kyle is lining up shots gives everything a additional layer of realism and tension. Also well done is the way these background noises fade out momentarily between breaths and heartbeats prior to Kyle firing his gun. When Kyle returns to America, harmless noises like lawnmower engines and auto-repair work rise up in the sound mix to subtly indicate the way that he is always on edge. Combined with Bradley Cooper’s strong performance, the film is able to say a lot about Kyle’s mental state without throwing it all into the dialogue.

Continue reading American Sniper Review: The Hazards of Thematic Confusion

Oscar 2015 Predictions

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

UPDATE: So, the Academy Awards have come and gone this year. I’m going to update each section below to my thoughts on the winners. The new text will all be in bold, so it should be easy to spot.

Some general thoughts: this wasn’t one of my best years for predictions. 17/24 isn’t bad, by most standards, but it’s less than 75%, which is typically where I fall. On the plus side, my misses were usually categories where I had been cynical about my prediction, and the Academy actually went with the option I wanted. So good on them for recognizing the right films for a lot (if not all) categories.

So, without further ado, here is the final, post-mortem Oscar write-up!

It’s that time of year, when the most hardcore of us film lovers start prognosticating on what a particular group of Hollywood insiders thought should be revered! Yes, it’s the Academy Awards, the foremost authority on “good” films, if you don’t consider the public, the fans, the critics, etc.

Yes, most awards are bullshit, but they’re also a fun way for us to start a conversation about what WE thought were the best of the year, and a good way for us to prove that the Hollywood Elite really are as predictable as we think they are. Below are both my predictions (after doing some research online about the “expected” winners) and my personal favorites in each category.

Also worth noting: if you want to see a list of the generally accepted “favorites,” the New York Times has a handy page right here. Continue reading Oscar 2015 Predictions

Jay and Ross Talk Shit Episode 4

Episode 4 of Jay and Ross Talk Shit! This week, we really live up to our title as we delve into various stories from the last couple of weeks, including Jon Stewart’s decision to leave The Daily Show, Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kanye dissing Beck at the Grammys, and Brian Williams’s dishonesty. We also talk a bit about what it’s like to create a short film for Youtube with zero budget.

If you’d like to jump ahead to a specific topic, here are the times when we shift subjects:

00:00 – Valentine’s Day: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
9:35 – Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show
22:08 – Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe
29:59 – Kanye West dissing Beck at the Grammys
40:20 Brian Williams and the Sentationalization of the News

Also, huge thanks to Megan Solomon for our new logo! We really dig it, and hope you do too. Megan’s done fantastic work for the podcast and for Ross’ website, Medium Mashup! If you’d like to see some more of her work, check her out at Wheatsea Photography on Facebook.