As our Oscar Travesty Bracket draws to a close (vote now in our finals round!), the Grantland staff takes a moment to honor the travesties that didn't make the final cut. These may not be the most big-name snubs or the most high-profile humiliations, but they're the ones closest to our hearts. So before we crown the Travesty of Travesties tomorrow, give us a moment here to grieve.
The only original track on Rod Stewart's best-selling Christmas album. Rod recorded a whole Christmas special in Scotland's epic Stirling Castle. The normal rules for taste usually go out the window during the holiday season. This is one time of year that Rod "The Mod" Stewart's red-and-green tartan suits are distinctly appropriate.
Best YouTube Comment: "I'll bet this is an original song, I doubt anyone else sang this! Refreshing love the remakes, just nice when there is a song I don't know about the holiday, Rod you are smooth as always!" — MusikLover8
Vin Diesel and Ricky Gervais brought the unemployment rate down yesterday. Here's why:
Gervais is in talks as the lead in the The Muppets sequel. Most of the team from the reboot — writer Nicholas Stoller, director James Bobin, and music man Bret McKenzie, who copped the Oscar the first time out — are back on board, but Jason Segel's out, leaving one human-sized hole to fill. Gervais actually filmed a cameo for the first flick that didn't make the cut, so looks like he'll have a chance for redemption. By the way, this one's set in Europe; Modern Family’s Ty Burrell is already on board as "lazy Interpol inspector." (As in, a person who works for the International Criminal Police Organization, not a person who checks to see how many of the words to Turn on the Bright Lights you know). The Euro plotline hasn't been revealed yet, so might we suggest: The Muppets go on a post-high-school graduation soul-searching backpacking trip?
Vulture reports that a sequel to Jason Segel's franchise-revitalizing The Muppets is on the horizon — but that its screenplay's pages won't ever run through the golden touch of Segel's magic typewriter of good scripts. Why the hell not?! Basically, the guy is way too busy: “Disney insiders tell Vulture that between his commitment to the CBS sitcom, his other feature-writing efforts, and promotional work for Five Year Engagement (due out this coming April) and Judd Apatow's This Is Forty (in December), there won't be time to collaborate on a Muppets sequel.” That means Nicholas Stoller, who co-wrote The Muppets with Segel, is writing the new one with James Bobin, who directed The Muppets. And when it all shakes out, Segel might still star in The Muppets: Revenge of the Fallen Side of the Moon.
Even though there are only two songs officially nominated for awards this year at the Oscars, that's no reason you can't make a 2012 Oscars mixtape anyway. We compiled some tunes related to and/or inspired by (loosely speaking!) this year's nominees. Maestro, play them off!
"Man or Muppet" - Jason Segel and Walter the Muppet (Oscar nominee)
Need a reedy-voiced inspirational ballad about maturing into adulthood for your Muppet movie? Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords and Jason Segel are here with a '70s AM-flavored serenade to self-exploration. Segel can SANG, but we knew that already from "Lady L." (He can also play basketball, but that's another story.)
With zero new films in wide release, this weekend was won (again) by Breaking Dawn, fast on its way to earning all of the world's money. Below, your Top Five movies.
1. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (weekend: $16.9 million; total: $247.3 million)
Jesus, Twilight fans. Enough! Topping the box office for the third consecutive weekend is fourquel Breaking Dawn, which has already earned more than half a billion dollars worldwide despite being even worse than the previous three Twilight movies.
The box-office slump continues as not even vampires, Muppets, and a 3-D kids' movie about film preservation could prevent a 12 percent drop in grosses from last year's five-day Thanksgiving weekend. Below, your Top Five movies.
1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 (weekend: $62.3 million; total: $221.3 million)
Teenage America saved money on turkey over the weekend, opting for this appetite-suppressing sequel starring Robert Pattinson as a sparkly midwife who delivers a demon baby via C-section with his teeth. Breaking Dawn's 10-day take is good but down a bit from that of 2008's less disgusting New Moon, which made $230.9 million in its first two weekends without chewing through any umbilical cords.
In The Muppets, the big-hearted, big-screen return of America’s favorite googly-eyed talking socks, Jason Segel plays Gary, an impossibly sweet-natured guy with walls covered in Kermit paraphernalia. It couldn't have been much of a stretch. Just 36 hours after hosting the highest-ratedSaturday Night Live of the season (on which he deep-tongued fellow Grantland interview subject Paul Rudd), Segel was unfailingly enthusiastic and humble — perhaps a result of keeping it kosher at the after-party (“Disney has me on a tight leash, brother!”). “I haven’t seen the show yet. Did it go all right?” he implored earnestly. After being assured it went well, Segel was game for a spirited conversation about The Muppets — which he co-wrote with collaborator Nicholas Stoller — Internet rumors, his secret felt-skinned crush, and why, if given the choice, he’d rather be sitting.
It's his first foray into live action, but this new trailer for M:I 4 bears traces of director Brad Bird's The Incredibles. Taking a page from Nolan, Bird shot many of the primary action sequences in pure IMAX (not blown-up 35 mm), and Tom Cruise performs many of (if not all) his own stunts — like hanging 124 stories off the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. Also, audiences should prepare themselves for lots of shots of Cruise running. Is there another actor who, when asked to run in a film always does so at a sprint? Dude’s a pro.
Verdict: “No safe house. No Support. No extraction.” No qualms about this one.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (March 2, 2012)
Aside from its trailer's manipulative use of the Polyphonic Spree's "Light and Day," this adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ 1971 environmental cautionary tale looks pretty strong. From the same team behind last season’s underrated Despicable Me, Lorax could be one of 2012’s animation Oscar contenders.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 barbaloot suits
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (November 11)
This trailer for the Brazilian thriller is action-packed and stylish in all the right ways. It's been compared to The Wire and the work of Scorsese and Coppola. Expectations are high.
Verdict: It’s got a nice early John Woo feel, too.
Into the Abyss (November 11)
Here, fearless doc-maker Werner Herzog once again investigates the darker corners of the human condition, interviewing death-row inmate Michael Perry (scheduled to die eight days after he spoke with Herzog). This trailer is engrossing from the first shot.
Verdict: A potential must-see.
Hugo (November 23)
The second trailer for Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is just as rousing as the first. It looks like Scorsese used 3D in a non-gimmicky, story-enhancing way. Looking forward to this one.
Verdict: Early word is excellent. This trailer doesn't disappoint.
The Secret World of Arrietty (February 17, 2012)
From legendary Japanese animation Stuio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki (writer only) The Secret World of Arrietty’s trailer is pretty stirring.
Verdict: As an added bonus, the film features the voices of Amy Poehler and Will Arnet.
The Muppets (November 23)
The marketers for The Muppets had a tough job, making a classic franchise relevant for a new generation without turning off original fans. But over the past few months they've run one of the most creative campaigns in years. And this new parody trailer is pretty hilarious.
Verdict: Let’s hope the movie's as good as its marketing.
With Shame, writer/director Steve McQueen (a.k.a. “Not the one in the car”) reunites with his muse Michael Fassbender, who here plays a successful New York businessman who goes to great lengths to keep his sexual deviancy a secret. Although Shame debuted to critical acclaim in both the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, there was concern that a film so graphic and raw (emotionally and sexually) would be hard to sell to American audiences. Great trailer, though.
Verdict: Hints of Blue Valentine, so prepare for a gut punch.
In the last few years, has there been a better marketing campaign than the one for The Muppets? Maybe not. The latest is a send up of David Fincher’s kick-ass trailer for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This briskly edited spoof reveals a ton of new stuff, and if you look closely, you’ll even see Chris Cooper singing and dancing.