Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fancy Effects vs. Black-and-White

For the first time since 1929, a black-and-white, silent film won an Oscar.  Not only did the film win an Oscar, it won 5 awards, including best picture.  Though The Artist was an incredible film, many viewers did not expect it would take home the title for best picture because it is silent, black-and-white.  In today’s society, some movies are considered good or bad based on their audio and visual effects.  This movie proves this ideal wrong.  The Artist is living proof that a good film is a good film, regardless of if it has all the fancy features.  The movie uses facial expressions and dramatic music as the main forms of communication.  Though there are no words or colors, the viewers can still feel the emotions and passion that the characters feel throughout the film.  Just by watching the preview, one can get a feel for how well the actors portrayed their feelings without words.  Now, most people expect that great films require intense effects, but the reality is, that a movie can be incredible without any words or colors. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meryl Streep- Old vs. New

 Meryl Streep's acceptance speech 

In a very similar situation to Christopher Plummer's Oscar win, Meryl Streep unexpectedly won Best Actress this past Sunday for her role in "The Iron Lady". Streep was also against stiff, not to mention, younger competition for this award, and after not winning an Oscar in 29 years, it was a definite surprise to her and those watching. Streep has been nominated for 17 Oscars, which is a huge accomplishment in itself, and took away her third with this year's award. However, following the same argument that Tyler discussed with Plummer, why was Meryl Streep considered "the underdog"? Our society likes to believe that new and fresh actors and actresses can no doubt outperform the older ones in the business. However, 82 year old Christopher Plummer and 62 year old Meryl Streep can definitely speak against this. We need to consider that just because Meryl Streep hadn't won an Oscar in 29 years, didn't mean she should've been ruled out to win, and that 'new' isn't always better.

The following article discusses some of the unexpected events in the 2012 Oscars.  
Read article!

Christopher Plummer - Old Vs. New

Out with the old and in with the new. I guess Christopher Plummer didn't get the old adage as he strolled away with the Oscar for best supporting actor, Sunday. At age 82, Plummer became the oldest actor-recipient of an Oscar for his role in 'Beginners' as he beat out Jonah Hill, Nick Nolte, Kenneth Branagh, and Max von Sydow. In our society it seems like we live on the premise that new is better. We want the newest iPhone, not the old rotary dial phones that our grandmas still use, but this is a theme of technology. Newer technology means more capabilities, more possibilities and yet we are shocked when Christopher Plummer walks away with an Oscar. Why? Because he's old? He's not a piece of technology, yet we brush his actor status under the rug and one of the first question he receives in the pres room after receiving his award is from a reporter asking how it feels being the oldest Oscar winner in history (here). I agree that it is impressive that he is the oldest actor-recipient of an Oscar ever, but I think sometimes we should just acknowledge people for their accomplishments, not their obscurities.

Christopher Plummer's acceptance speech. Classy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Comedy vs. Typical Oscar Movie

This week for the blog post, our group decided to write about the ever-popular event of the Oscars. I chose to write about the Oscar-nominated movie “Bridesmaids” starring Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. The story of a group of bridesmaids going through the typical pre-wedding rituals has gained the attention of fans all over the world for its laugh-out-loud comedy. The movie won for Best Original Screenplay, which included the actress in the film, Kristen Wiig, as a writer. However, this movie was not nominated for Best Picture, which was debatable to many.

However, this film which grossed more than $288 million in the box office is not your typical Oscar nominee. Some of the most popular Oscar nominees- “Gone With the Wind”, “Titanic”, “Crash”, etc. - are far from comedies. It is extremely rare for a comedy to be nominated. Even though “Bridesmaids” did not win, the film was still critically acclaimed as one of the best of the year. The nomination shows that those actresses in the film are appreciated and respected for their work, even though it is not for a serious, drama-filled movie. They simply just have a different kind of talent than some of the other actresses nominated, such as Meryl Streep or Octavia Spencer.

It is important for our culture to recognize people like these women in the media. They provide us laughter, as well as reasons to view them as role models. Below I have added the trailer to “Bridesmaids” so you can see for yourself why these women should be appreciated and the humor that had the world laughing.

Octavia Spencer vs. Her Dream

This week we will be covering the Oscars!  Tune in to see the many details that lie behind the success of these award winning actors and actresses.

After playing a part in many on screen films, Octavia Spencer never got her big debut until this year.  She started out by originally being hired for the casting crew in the 1996 film,  A Time To Kill,  until she asked if she could audition for a small part.  She ended up landing her first debut as a nurse on that film.
Since then, Octavia has starred in over 50 films, hit television series, and plays.  Yet, all of her roles have been minor, and no one has ever given her the chance to become one of the lead actresses. That is until August 2010 where she was asked to take part as the maid,"Minny Jackson", in the film The Help.  Her work in this film landed her a nomination for the 2012 Oscars, where last night, she was the Academy Award winner for best supporting actress.  The reality of this is buried in the fact that it took 18 years for producers to realize the actual skill that Spencer endured.  No one had ever expected her to be so successful as a leading actress, and she blew everyone out of the water with her performance.  After starring in so many productions, it only took one major role for her to bring home a piece of hardware that many in the film business strive to earn at some point in their career.
After being called to stage to claim her Oscar on Sunday night, Octavia let tears swell up in her eyes and  as she walked to the stage through her standing ovation, her legs shook.  In her speech she stated, "I'm freaking out! Thank you, world!".  That was the first time that anyone had ever "thanked the world" in their speech.
Not only did her acting in this film win her an Oscar, but it went to help lift up the stories and jobs of domestic workers.  She was an overall winner last night and lived out her dream.  She went beyond the expectations of the film world and made her Academy Award her reality.

Here is Octavia's work in action...

and if interested in the rest of the movie....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Re: Whitney Houston- Accidental Death vs. Suicide

Link to article here!

This article discusses how in a recent morning television show, Bill O' Reilly and Matt Laur debated Whitney's shocking death. O' Reilly argued that Whitney "wanted to kill herself" (NYDailyNews). He backed up his opinion by saying someone doesn't take drugs for as long as she did, and not expect anything bad to happen to him or her. Some people completely disagree and believe that Bill O' Reilly went too far with his comments on the famous singer's tragic death. Whether this bold statement is an opinion shared by others, or a offensive one to Whitney's family, friends, and fans, the controversy still exists.The argument here is Whitney Houston potentially still had an addiction to drugs, and now her life and death are being glorified. The public's expectations of her death are that it should never have occurred, and we should recognize the great success she had throughout her decades of singing. However, O' Reilly is arguing that the reality of her death is that of suicide. Is this a fair argument? If Houston had an addiction as Laur defended, can it really be considered this?

Photo citation:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Re: Whitney Houston 2/20

Few consider tabloid media to be a legitimate source of news, yet the images graced upon the leading gossip magazines must be newsworthy, right? If these stories aren't newsworthy and no one cares about them, then why are so many tabloid magazines still in circulation today? Why do we crave the latest celeb love, hate, and even death? The National Enquirer covered today's issue with a photo of Whitney Houston laying in her platinum casket at her private wake.

It seems that there is nothing that our media won't touch. There has been an extensive backlash (here) in opposition of this picture being published claiming the distastefulness of the act. One day our media is praising the beloved singer, the next they are criticizing her alleged cause of death. Houston passed away eleven days ago and the media is still wringing out the story to the very last drop. Do we love her or do we hate her? When does it all end?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Response to Whitney Houston Post: Glorifying Death Vs. Celebrity Life Choices

Read Article Here!

The article above talks about whether or not it is wrong to glorify the death of a celebrity that died due to drugs and/or alcohol. I believe it is wrong to put a star in the spotlight after they abuse drugs. It is sad whenever anyone passes away, but there are plenty of other true role models that die every day and do not get any media attention. Also, our generation immediately tributes stars like Whitney Houston, stars that we know nothing about but maybe a hit they had 20 years ago. The article says "it is as if a woman in her musical prime had been snatched from us, and that plainly is not true." I agree with this; Houston has not been in the musical spotlight for years, with her last big hit being in 1992. Since then, she has been in the media not for her talent, but for her dramatic life choices. The woman she was years ago differs greatly from who she was when she passed away.

Re: Whitney Houston Post- Wyoming, Michigan Man VS. New Jersey Governor

In response to Dani's post, I have a video that shows a revolting act towards the situation.  In honor of Whitney's death, the Governor of New Jersey ordered all flags in his state to be lowered and flown at half staff to show respect towards this pop icon.  This didn't "fly" well with one man in particular...

Monday, February 20, 2012

The reality vs. expectation of Whitney Houston’s death

Recently, so many stars have died of drug overdose/abuse.  The deaths are extremely tragic and sadly, their unmatchable talent dies with them.  Many of Whitney Houston’s fans expect and hope that she did not die of a drug overdose, though drug abuse is in her past.  The reality of the situation is that drugs were most likely one of the causes, if not the only cause to the talented woman’s death.  According to an article written by an IBTimes Staff Reporter, the cause of her death has not yet been announced.  However, a few weeks before her death, Whitney went to her plastic surgeon hoping to get a face-lift.  According to the reporter, she failed the medical/drug exams required for the procedure  (View Article Here). This essentially proves that Whitney was using some sort of drugs.  When someone as famous and talented as Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson dies due to drug problems, the drugs are almost overlooked.  The death becomes glorified, thus making the star even more famous.  Truly though, the reality of the situation is that society needs to focus on the seriousness of these deaths and stop making it seem like nothing is wrong with the way in which they passed.  It is tragic that these stars lives were lost at such a young age.  The media should show both sides to the story to avoid this trend from continuing.
Another issue with overanalyzing and glorifying the death of these icons, is it does not allow media to cover deaths of other heroes in our country.  Men and women are dying every day overseas at war.  These people are dying for our country, with a purpose, not from a drug overdose.  They are not being recognized and noticed because the media spends countless hours focusing on famous people lost to drugs rather than in battle.  Society expects to hear about the deaths of the big names they recognize, but the reality is that there are thousands of heroes dying every day that should be heard as well.

Who we expect someone is vs. who they really are...

True Story from Facebooker Josh Nonnenmocher on February 13th, 2012 that is a good example of Reality vs. Expectation in our society today.  Who we expect someone to be (a homeless, poor musician) could actually be someone else (one of the most talented, wealthy musicians in the world).

"This is so awesome. Please take a moment to read:

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. 

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blog Inspiration

This is the inspiration for our blog.  We will be attempting to emulate this scene through different aspects of society and media. Watch the clip here!