Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Buzz

No, this isn't about my predictions for who the Oscar will go to. As a matter of fact, I'm watching the Academy Awards as I type this- and I'm feeling the adrenaline buzz I get every year. I love the Oscars!

While I do appreciate the beautiful dresses to a certain degree, I don't care too much for the red carpet hoopla prior to the ceremonies. No, what I love about the Oscars is the acknowledgment of creative genius in all areas of movie making. When I see a great movie I steep in the complete experience- great direction & vision, cinematography, production, music, and an actor who can transcend their celebrity.

My definition of an amazing acting performance IS when the actor so completely portrays the character that the viewer forgets which actor is playing the part. Some examples of this (in my opinion) are: Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot (or anything else he does), Jamie Fox in Ray, Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain, Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, The Insider, etc. (again, anything else he does), Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice, The Devil Wears Prada, etc. (anything she does), Gary Oldman in Sid & Nancy... okay, so I could go ON... I have a whole list of actors who seem to always lose themselves in their roles. Then, there are a few actors who are always excellent AND you always know who the actor is... Jack Nicholson is one of those, Judi Dench (for the most part), Emma Thompson (love her!), Laura Linney, Denzel Washington, etc. Well anyway, I digress... I love great acting...

And then there's those "Oscar Moments"- sometimes it is an acceptance speech that makes me feel like I, sitting on my couch in my jammies, have just won something, too. Sometimes it is the host who captures the audience with quick wit, or due to their incredible writing team who writes their schtick. Sometimes it is a great comic moment by a presenter. Some of my most favorite recent comic moments have been by Will Farrell... the year he presented the Oscar for Best Makeup- hilarious! And the time he and Jack Black wrote lyrics to the music that swells to cut off a long acceptance speech- genius!

I love the Oscars so much it is a secret (not so secret now) dream of mine to actually win an Oscar...for what I'm not sure yet- probably that great screenplay I haven't written yet, but God only knows! Well, even if I never win an would be pretty cool to be a part of the Oscar Production somehow... maybe as a seat filler? ;-) In a nutshell, I love movies for the way they embrace and celebrate humanity and I love the Oscars for the way creative humans are celebrated.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


My friend, Chelle, admits she isn't the biggest U2 fan, so when she told me I had to go see U23D, I knew it must be extra good. And it was. Anyone who knows me, knows I AM a huge U2 fan and they have consistently been one of my all time favorites since 1981 or so. I remember that when I got my tix to see The Police on the Ghost in the Machine tour, there were rumors that U2 would be the opening act and I was super psyched about that! Turns out they only opened for the first leg of that tour and Joan Jett opened for the second leg...I got the Jett leg (pun intended).

Here's another little nugget that I very rarely share with anyone- When I was 17 (that was in 1984- yes, I am old)I wrote a fan letter to U2. I don't remember exactly what I wrote. I remember that I prayed fiercely before writing the letter. I had no idea where to send the letter so I sent it c/o their recording studio, Dublin, Ireland. I'm not even sure I had a street address, but I had an innocent faith it would reach them somehow. Several months later I got a postcard in the mail from Ireland. It has 3 pictures of the band on the front and the only words on the front are SISTER SISTER. On the back is a handwritten note that reads: "Dear Emily, Thank you for your letter which I have passed on to the band. Unfortunately they are unable to reply personally as I'm sure you understand." And it is signed by Cecilia. I still have the post card!

Anyway, I'm so glad I took the opportunity to see U23D- it is an awesome experience! Although it is live footage of them in concert in Argentina, I can't compare it to seeing them live. And, by the way, I did see them live twice on the Joshua Tree tour (still have my concert t-shirt). First of all, the 3D effects brought the entire band much closer than one could get seeing them in concert. Also, if I were seeing them live I would NOT be sitting still, calmly munching on popcorn! I would have been up on my feet, smashed into the crowd around me, singing along with them, and screaming with glee until my voice gave out. Somehow, I don't think the people sitting behind me in the theater would have appreciated any of that! ;-)

But that reminds me of the time I went to see Rattle and Hum with my friend, PJ. We went to a matinee in the small town I grew up in and we were the ONLY 2 people in the entire theater. So, we DID act like we were at a live show! We had so much fun! We stood, we cheered, we lit a lighter and swayed back and forth with the crowd on the screen...and laughed when the usher came in and caught us acting that way. PJ and I used to do all sorts of silly things together. He is one of those friends who has always offered me limitless grace.

U2 and I go way back. And I have always had a deep spiritual understanding of their music. I know there are all sorts of people who feel the same way and books have been written to point out all the biblical references in their songs. But from the first time I heard "Gloria," their music delivers me straight into a zone of worshiping God. It is a worship zone without pretense or excuses. It is a zone where I feel the intensity of God's perfect balance of truth and grace. It is a zone that conjures pure praise.