Well here we go again. Another year, another batch of movies I haven’t seen and will never really have any desire to see despite the sure-to-come rabid defense of movies that will be hailed as “well…it was better than anything else this year, I guess,” performances of a lifetime that we’ll forget in three months (Quick! Best Actress 2007…nothing??) and George Clooney rewarded with Oscar #2 for Achievement in Excellence in Cinematic Portrayals of George Clooney.
But tonight is about Tinseltown and the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, where multimillionaires bitch about how much other multimillionaires on WALL STREET make while they park their yachts in tax havens and charge me twelve fucking dollars to see J Edgar. Need I remind you how much Adam Sandler got paid to make THREE movies this year?
I’m watching tonight at a place where my buddy Tony is housekeeping, living vicariously though the decortage of people whom I have never met. I’ll try not to sully the couch with spilt vino (It is the Oscars, after all. Heaven forbid I risk driblling Bud Light on Hollywood’s Night). We had a little potential snafu earlier when it was discovered that the proxy-hosts’ cable was cancelled two days ago. Thankfully Tony’s friend Brian was able to bring an HD antenna to save the day. As such, we have no E! (awwww), so were unfortunately unable to experience what will surely be the highlight of the night; The Dictator spilling an urn on Ryan Seacrest, causing him to melt into a pool of his own peritoneal fluid.
How ‘bout some odds??
Best Moustache: 20-1: Zach Galifinakis 30-1: Bradley Cooper 200-1: Glenn Close
Best Beard: 15-1: Nick Nolte 25-1: Tom Hanks 300-1: Emma Stone
Surprise of the night: 35-1: Billy Crystal not invoking the Yankees once 50-1: Praise for the performances in The Help becoming (unintentionally?) objectionably racist 200-1: Me not stealing 60% of these jokes from Twitter
7:29 - Here we go!!
7:30 - Morgan Freeman starts the show, desperately trying not to break into a Whitney Houston tribute.
7:32 - Star-studded video montage starting already. Thankfully Billy in blackface was not during The Help parody.
7:36 - Nice Botox, Billy. You. Look. Marvelous.
7:40 - Reminder: Morgan Freeman introduced this monologue.
7:41 - Only you, Billy, can make America pine for the post 1980’s comedy of Eddie Murphy.
7:44 - Two awards so far: one for Hugo, and one for Rob Ryan.
7:46 - Nothing says Oscar like Pharrell and Sheila E
7:52 - Huge movie montage and not a single scene from Vice Versa? What a crock.
7:57 - “J-Lo’s Nipple” trending worldwide.
7:59 - God this is so fucking boring. I can’t even bear to make jokes here. Big stars talking about their favorite movie memories from growing up. Fucking barf. I mean, the Emmys are an unending cavalcade of wretched musical crimes against humanity; so far, this Oscars are just sad. Seriously. I mean, I know this is watered down, three-wood-down-the-center-of-the-fairway comedy designed to not offend Grandma Sally, who would have puked at the sight of a Brett Ratner produced dick-joke, but it comes off as not only needy, but fulsome; people who regularly pony up $35,000 a plate for political fundraisers guilting people into spending money at a bankrupt Cinemark instead of at a McDonald’s Redbox. Guh.
8:05 - We snap back to reality as I step down from my wine-laden soapbox for Sandy Bullock speaking German and ____
8:12 - Octavia Spencer wins, and Twitter explodes into a veritable waterfall of Mo’Nique jokes.
8:20 - “What is a flying monkey gonna say when he can talk” has just redeemed the entire night.
8:23 - When do they award Best Kiss?
8:27 - Tina Fey and Brad Lee Cooper just won an Oscar for awarding the most Oscars nobody gives a shit about.
8:36 - Oh, God. They suckered the Muppets into the gigantic “we used to go to the movies and eat popcorn” circlejerk. Fuck.
8:37 - I don’t care how many Cirque du Soleil dancers you trot out there, I’m not going to stop ordering movies On Demand.
8:43 - Undefeated wins for Best Documentary. Note: Puff Daddy now has as many Oscars as Martin Scorsese.
8:57 - Tonight’s theme, Hugo: BOSS
8:57:30 - *yawn*
9:01 - Chris Plummer wins Best Supporting Actor. This is strange. I thought Oscar wanted us to go back to the movies, and here, they balk on Jonah Hill and lose a golden opportunity for free 21 Jump Street pub.
9:09 - Later tonight, Billy Crystal will spend two hours imagining Stacey Keibler’s inner-monologue after the after-party.
9:17 - OSCAR FOR FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS!! It’s Oscar. It’s Oscar Time. (I know what you’re trying to say, you’re trying to say it’s time for Oscar, it’s Oscar time, oooh)
9:25 - “You have the scenes, now just word it in,” is what Angie Jolie told her tattoo artist.
9:29 - The Descendants wins Best Adapted Screenplay. Note: The dude with the dildo on his head from Reno 911! has as many Oscars as Martin Scorsese.
9:41 - I get it! It’s called Saving Face because they’re saving people’s faces! It’s an Oscar pun!
9:47 - Just realized I still need a “Sandy Bullock speaking German” joke.
9:53 - Oscars changing things up by awarding Best Director before 1AM EST. And Scorsese is denied again. Guess we won’t be seeing the King’s speech this year.
10:13 - I just realized I haven’t blogged in 20 minutes. And I’m still searching for that “Sandy Bullock speaking German” joke.
10:17 - And Jean Dujardin wins the Roberto Benigni Memorial Oscar.
10:24 - Colin Firth just stuttered while introducing the Best Actress nominees. Get off it, dude.
10:28 - Oh Meryl Streep, you’re so…oh, what’s the word…modest.
10:37 - And so The Artist wins the Oscar for Best Picture. And let me just say, once again, *yawn*. This was excruciating, if only for the fact that I was trying all night to make fun of something that was so ridiculously humblebragish and out of touch. What a night. Movies I’ll never see. Actors I’ll never care about, and a bottle of wine downed. Ah, well. I still have as many Oscars as Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. So, until lext year, I’d schlagen noch Sandra Bullock, obwohl ihr Gesicht so fest ausgedehnt wird, sie aussieht wie Michael Jackson.
Are we all ready for a fun-filled, star-studded, eardrum-gnashing night of musical entertainment?! How about a three-and-a-half hour elongated in memoriam segment for a train-wreck of a woman who hadn’t done anything of musical significance for the better part of two decades? Yes, Whitney Houston is no longer counted amongst the living, and sad we all are about that, but let that not take away from your enjoyment of watching musical acts that have no business being named the best in the world being named best in the world.
I think the person I feel the worst for is LL Cool J. Mr. J was tapped to be the host of the Grammys this year, the first proper host for the award show in seven years, and here he has to deal with WhitWhit going all Jim Morrison and beefing in a bathtub 24 hours before the curtain drops. Have fun making fun of Bruno Mars’ Stupid Fedora™ now, jackass.
It’s about a half-hour to go time, so while you debate amongst yourselves about why the hell the red carp…HOLY SHIT RIHANNA SO HAAAAAAAWTTJSOOSOSDfrrg
Sorry, while I regain consciousness, we’ll get started with some odds:
Whitney Houston song Jennifer Hudson will sing: 20-1: The Greatest Love of All 200-1: The Star Spangled Banner 1,000-1: Actually sings a Mariah Carey song by accident
Worst surprise Mash-up performance: 30-1: Kanye West and Foo Fighters 70-1: Anne Hathaway and James Franco 1,000-1: Pantsless LL Cool J and anyone
Thing Nicky Minaj will wear on her head: 15-1: Bruno Mars’ Stupid Fedora™ 50-1: An isosceles triangle 1,000-1: Lady Gaga
6:59 - We’re just about to get underway here. We’ve got no DVR, I have laundry to fold, my parents haven’t made their Sunday call, and my buddy Scottie G is stopping by. Should be a flaming disaster
7:01 - BRUCE starts things off with the E-Street band playing a new song that sound like every single BRUCE song I’ve ever heard. Hey, America! BRUCE is being patriotic!
7:02 - This new song, “We Take Care of Our Own” is specifically designed to give liberals further indignation to tax the piss out of everyone, and conservatives the ire to swear off BRUCE on Fox News tomorrow before hopping online to be the first to download it from iTunes.
7:04 - Where’s Jimmy Vivino?
7:06 - Uncle L starting with a prayer. BUT BRUCE WAS JUST SPEWING GODLESS LIBERAL WAR ON RELIGION VILE DESTRUCTION OF AMERICA OH MY GOD THAT SONG WAS AWESOME DOWNLOADING
7:09 - Scottie G just got here. Speaking to LL: “Take your hat off. You’re inside.” The Grammys, ladies and gentlemen.
7:11 - This non-cleavage joke monologue is about as useful and successful as an NCIS spinoff.
7:13 - Let this be a lesson to you, kids. If, like Bruno Mars, you wear a fedora long enough and then take it off, your body will compensate and grow its own out made of hair.
7:15 - Looks like Bruno forgot that the first ingredient for any James Brown impression: a mountain of cocaine.
7:21 - GRAMMY MASHUP #1 Bonnie and Alicia here to sing an Etta James song. Of course, nobody knows any Etta James songs except for that At Last tune, which they, of course, don’t play.
7:23 - Alicia, “And now, at last, the award for best pop performance” Touché, Alicia.
7:25 - Scottie G commenting on Adele’s accent, “Allo, my ‘usband’s a chim-iney sweep.” the Grammys, ladies and gentlemen.
7:26 - Anyone applauding Chris Brown right now deserves an Adele vomited bulimia scone enema
7:34 - Oh, there’s actually awards.
7:35 - I hope the Best Rap Performance goes to the song about getting/making/wasting money in “Tha Club”
7:38 - I liked Kelly Clarkson’s duet with Chris Berman, Bizarre Foods and James Lipton better.
7:47 - I’d bitch about every Foos song sounding the same, just like I did with BRUCE, but hey, Dave’s wearing a Slayer t-shirt. Street Cred.
7:56 - One hour. Eighteen (unconfirmed number) musical performances, and two awards, one of which was won by a no-show. GRAMMY MOMENTS.
7:59 - Pretty sure all of the people dancing in front of the stage with their hands up clapping are occupy protesters who were promised clean toilets for three hours and $70 in Chipotle burrito vouchers.
8:02 - I’d bitch about every Coldplay song sounding the same, just like I did with BRUCE and Foos, but they’re using the set from Parents Just Don’t Understand. Street Cred.
8:07 - Willie Nelson + Coldplay = Chipotle. Of course.
8:12 - Hahaha. Silly black-hired girl in a black dress who I have no idea who you are out on stage with two New York Giants, it’s pronounced “playas”
8:14 - BUTCH VIG SIGHTING. More people cheered for Chris Brown than cheered Butch Vig. And you wonder why the terrorists hate us.
8:18 - Maroon Cinco is singing with Beach Boys. Not such a sweet song when you realize Adam Levine will take that Surfer Girl, add a kilo of coke, Anne V and two donkey’s and she’ll never walk straight again. It’s called a “Sloop John B”
8:24 - PANIC BACKSTAGE AS ADELE EATS BRIAN WILSON’S APPLESAUCE
8:33 - Good performance by Macca, Joe Walsh and Diana Krall. Seriously. Can’t even make a “Macca is an asshole” joke here. Fine job, lads.
8:37 - Apparently R&B stands for Roadrage & Bruises as Chris Brown wins some stupid thing.
8:41 - My favorite Taylor Swift song is the one where she sings about trying to belong or proving people wrong or growing up to be somebody important despite what she thinks people think about her. Even when she’s 42, Taylor Swift will still be 15 years old.
8:51 - Went to the bathroom, and somebody won something. Oh, it’s just Adele. My urine was not wasted.
8:53 - HOLY SHIT KATE BECKENSALE. Scottie G “Ka-Klack.” The Grammys, ladies and gentlemen.
8:55 - They should just save time and money by instead of hiring androgynous looking session guitarists, just making Pat Smear play with every act.
9:00 - A surprisingly Whitney-free telecast so far. Wish I could say that about NBC on Thursday nights
9:40 - C’mon Jenny Craig commercial, quit trolling Lady Antebellum.
9:11 - And to think, three years ago, I made a Grammy Blog joke about Chasing Pavements. Adele wouldn’t get this big an ovation of she died in a bathtub.
9:13 - During a discussion on Anne Hathaway, Scottie G admits he likes her, quote, “milky white buzom.” The Grammys, ladies and gentlemen.
9:18 - (Glenn Campbell is actually the one who ate Brian Wilson’s applesauce)
9:31 - This is getting tiring. Do I really have to try to make a Tony Bennett applesauce joke?
9:34 - Bon Iver wins Best New Artist. Last time I checked,For Emma was released in 2007. Not really Forever Ago.
9:39 - Bob Grammy talks about kids playing music or some shit. BTW, has anybody seen LL?? I think he left for the after party about an hour-and-a-half ago.
9:45 - Scottie G and I just had our own falsetto version of the WhitWhit classic. It was magic. Tears were shed.
9:53 - Fuck Chris Brown. That is all.
9:58 - WhuuumpWhuuumpWhuuuuuuuuuuump. I think I just saw Tony Bennett with neon Mau5 ears.
10:05 - Okay, so that’s it. Nicki Minaj is confusing the hell out of everybody singin’ ‘bout God knows what, we’re out of beer, and Scottie has to work tomorrow. Just a travesty of a musical night. There’s still some awards to be won by Adele, I guess. Who knows. I’m drunk, and managed to waste three hours of my life. Actually, take that back. It was the most productive I’ve been in a month. Fuck you, Grammys.
How the Band’s Crowning Achievement Took Them From Overrated to Underappreciated
They started off as Bungle-esque stoner funk, toured with Ozzfest and the Family Values Tour, hit the Billboard Top Ten with the delicate, acoustic Drive, and solidified their position as one of the stalwarts of modern rock all before the clock struck 2002. Yet since then, they’ve melted into the ether. People continue to decline speaking “Incubus” in the same breath as aging monoliths like Foo Fighters, who have continued to garner critical acclaim, and alt-rock heroes like The Black Keys who top the charts with folksy impetus. And their biggest musical success is to blame.
2004’s A Crow Left of the Murder is quite simply an impressive sonic achievement; the band’s zenith. Instead of being guilty of sound repetition & influence counterfeiting, or sidling up next to late-90’s alt-rock has-beens, Murder is wholly unique production by musicians who had matured and were focused on producing the best work of their lives.
But, instead of staying predictable, they went political. There’s nothing wrong with this, by any means, but it seemed that nobody, including the band members themselves, knew exactly how to package this for their existing audience, or to potential fans. The blatancy of Murder’s anti-incumbent message was often shrugged off by the band, yet as 2004 continued to unfold, it was obvious they were trying to make a point.
The album obviously wasn’t the only example of Bush Bashing to take place in 2004. Farhenheit 9/11 was released. NOFX famously performed Franco Un-American on Conan. Moveon.org produced the Vote For Change Tour. And the pièce de résistance of the BushBash genre: in September, Green Day released American Idiot.
It’s not hard to see why Green Day’s message resonated when Incubus’ didn’t. Green Day had always played the part of the underdog; the smelly brat punk kid done good. Despite ever so cleverly nestling themselves into the mainstream with pop-laden power chords and acoustic ballads, they remained snarlingly “punk,” and when the country was ready for the inevitable Iraq War backlash, Green Day was ready to deliver.
But all of this is not to say Murder is specifically a political album. There are many themes that float in and out of the track listing, but overall, it’s an angry album. Angry at the establishment. Angry at society. Even the un-political Smile Lines includes the lyrics “Insecurities/Are about as useful as trying/To put the pin back in the grenade”; about as far as you can get from the amateur-ish lyrics of the beach-scened Morning View, an album recorded a scant three years prior that seemed downright neighborly in comparison.
And perhaps that was the disconnect. No longer the stars of frat boy impromptu campfire acoustic guitar performances of Drive, Murder showed that the music of Incubus was now sophisticated and eloquent in its melodic complexity. Well, with the exception of two songs. The first single, Megalomaniac is about as straight-forward a modern rock radio track can get, but its bombast is a constructive introduction to the teeth the band gnashes on the remainder of the album. The other exception, Talk Shows on Mute was patently awful as a radio single.
Though, unquestionably the most akin to Morning View musically, Talk Shows was a bizarre concoction of George Orwell and Isaac Asimov, a subject matter completely lost on the section of the fan base that saw the band debut Wish You Were Here on TRL while standing next to Brittany Spears in 2002. The video, an even harder to swallow play on Orwell’s Animal Farm did little little in comparison to previous offerings to the Billboard chart, and was soon forgotten.
But perhaps all of the blame doesn’t fall with Incubus and their management for their choice of a second single. After all, the chart was dominated by the likes of Linkin Park and Velvet Revolver in 2004, and by the end of the decade would be populated almost exclusively by Seether and Shinedown. On the other hand, alt-rock bands of the time were differentiated by their lo-fidelity sound and penchant for artistic simplification — à la White Stripes and Arcade fire — unlike Incubus’ turn for the complex.
So maybe, just like phenomenon of the past were in the right place at the right time, A Crow Left of the Murder just missed the mark. It was too far on the front end of the anti-Bush movement, those waiting for a Morning View redux were disappointed, and their pre-existing reputation made them a non-starter on the alternative music scene. The hope is that it’s not too late to realize that over the past decade, an incredible group of musicians made some incredibly good music.