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March 2001

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In this issue:    Hannibal Ferox!    Japanese Porn!    Monster Truck Mayhem!    PLUS: Ash's Oscar Picks!   and way too much more!
Ash's Oscar Picks

It's Oscar time again, boys and girls, and you know what that means. For film students, it's time to party like it's Quanza 1999, all the while spouting trite and cliched opinions about this year's nominations. While I for one would love to wax pretentious and get all snippy about how Wonder Boys and Dancer In The Dark weren't nominated, I think instead I'll just tackle the actual nominees, and why they all stink worse than Pauly Shore's stand-up routine after it's been left in the sun.

Best Picture

Gladiator: Swords, sandals, and stupidity all add up to an almost guaranteed win for this thunderously familiar story. Add the Oscar pre-requisite of being at least three full days long, and start listening to the acceptance speeches.

Erin Brockovich: Actually, this isn't a new film. The producers of last year's John Travolta starring vehicle A Civil Action just decided to change its name and take another run at the Oscar race. Using the miracle of digital technology, Fox Studios has managed to not only change the title in the opening credits, but alter Travolta's figure so significantly he's now just a giant pair of teeth in hot pants.

Chocolat: The Oscars' plea for indie acceptance extends only so far as the token indie movie nominated ever year. It's a good thing, too, because without the Oscars' endorsement, Fox Searchlight and Miramax could barely afford the $35 million dollars these ultra-lowbudget features cost to make, and B-level stars like Juliet Binoche and Johnny Depp couldn't run around pretending they can act.

Traffic: The one film that actually deserves to win probably won't, because that would threaten to restore my faith in an institution I've been thoroughly disillusioned with ever since Army of Darkness was shut out of all but four categories in 1993.

TV Casualty: A brilliant film that will unfortunately loose out this year due to the fact that it's only 20 minutes long and also not a film. Nevertheless, the nomination is a testament to the video's tight direction and superb writing, and proves that the Oscars aren't just a four-hour long People's Choice Awards with crappier music acts.

Best Actor

Russell Crowe, for Gladiator: Now, I've been a big Crowe fan ever since his humble beginnings, appearing in such films as skinhead classic Romper Stomper and freakish western The Quick and the Dead, but giving him an Oscar for advertising beefcake in Gladiator seems somewhat tragic, like giving Steven King a Pulitzer for his shopping list.

Javier Bardem, for Before Night Falls: Who? For what?

Tom Hanks, for Cast Away: In my mind, the true nominee should be Wilson, the volleyball that played Hanks' heathen pagan idol, who managed to keep an impressively straight face despite the shirtless Hanks' nauseating tubbiness. But the Oscars tend to frown on nominating product placements rather than real people. Guess that rules out Russell Crowe.

Geoffrey Rush, for Quills: A movie about the infamous sexual deviant and murderer the Marquis de Sade, and it's a comedy. I guess my idea for a Holocaust gas chamber musical has a chance after all.

Ed Harris, for Pollock: The Academy has an unfortunate habit of making up movies so that its tastes seem eclectic and esoteric instead of just plain bad, and Pollack is no exception.

Alex Contreras, for Alex, Vampire Slayer 2: Despite not actually being nominated, young wunderkind Alex Contreras has a fairly good shot at winning the coveted Best Actor Oscar this year. His riveting performance as the troubled Alex in Al Kratina's much lauded sequel to 1997's Alex, Vampire Slayer apparently so wowed Academy voters that they are reported to be considering giving him an honorary lifetime acheivement award.

Best Actress

Let's ignore the actual nominees in this category, since no one really cares about who batted their eyelashes with the most finesse this year, and focus instead on the godless atrocity that is Joaquim Phoenix. Some of you (hi mom!) may remember my review of Gladiator from a couple issues ago, in which I referred to him as a 'mush-mouthed retard'. I assure you, I was being entirely too kind. It happens sometimes. Well, now it seems that our cud-chewing friend has been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the aforementioned film. As inspirational as this may be for Down's Syndrome sufferers around the world, it's an affront to movie buffs everywhere. I keep reminding myself that this is the same Academy that gave Mira Sorvino of Mimic 'fame' an Oscar, but even that doesn't explain this. I mean, at least Sorvino's kind of cute. Phoenix, if you've never seen him, looks sort of like a cross between a weasel and the cross-eyed halfwit from NSYNC who was on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, except dumber. If you've seen any of his other films, like 8MM or To Die For, then you're probably still reeling from the shock of his nomination, provided you haven't climbed a clock tower with a Winchester already. Rest assured, I will do everything in my power to make sure that he doesn't win, from whining and complaining about it, to complaining and whining about it. Anyway, as for the real nominees in this category, Ellen Burstyn should win for the horribly dank Requiem For A Dream, but the award will probably go to John Travolta for Erin Brockovovitch.

Well, that's all I feel like writing for now. Stay tuned next issue for my review of the Oscar telecast, provided I don't die of kidney failure during the show.

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