Starting Five

1. The list of players who have scored more points against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden than Stephen Curry, who posted a career-best 54 last night:

Wilt Chamberlain: (six times, his high game being 73)

Elgin Baylor (71)

Kobe Bryant (61)

Rick Barry (57)

Michael Jordan (55)

That list includes four of the top ten players in NBA history as well as Barry, who may be Top 20. Curry (remember when scouts wondered if he was too slight to make it in the NBA? Or was that Kevin Durant? Answer: it was both), who played all 48 minutes of the 109-105 loss, buried 11 of 13 three-pointers and was 7-7 on free throws. He also more than doubled any of his teammates’ assists total with seven.

Curry’s play has blossomed so much that folks rarely even talk about how attractive his mom is anymore.


Oh, and we should note that Knicks center Tyson Chandler grabbed 28 rebounds.

2. In Vatican City Pope Benedict XVI retires in order to spend more time with his fami–or whatever it is retired popes do. The last time a pope chose to retire instead of die in office (1415), America had yet to be discovered by Europeans. Columbus had yet to be born. Dinosaurs were unknown to man. I mean, it was awhile ago.

After saying his goodbyes on Thursday, Benedict ascended into the heavens and… okay, well, he departed by helicopter to the papal summer retreat, Castel Gandolfo. The bocce board there is killer.

Castel Gandolfo, the papal retirement community. The par-3 golf course is a blast.

3. A marijuana cannon? Yes, a marijuana cannon! That shoots weed across the border from Mexico into the USA in 13-kilo bags. Since when did Wile E. Coyote begin working for Mexican drug cartels? There’s a war on drugs taking place, and drugs are returning fire with real cannons.

Replacing the heroin catapult

4. The worst team, by record, in the NBA’s Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns (20-39), beat its best team, the San Antonio Spurs (45-14), in San Antonio, 105-101 (in OT). This is what happens when you return from a 19-day road trip (the annual tour) and your wife has a list of things that need your attention. None of which is Goran Dragic. Speaking of the Sun guard, he had 13 assists and 13 points in the victory. The spindly, southpaw Yugo leads Phoenix in points, assists, steals and free throw attempts. The only other NBA player who leads his team in all four categories is LeBron James.

5. The country’s top-ranked boys high school basketball team, according to MaxPreps, is 1) a public high schoool that 2) is based in Utah and 3) has no African-American starters. The New York Times had a nice story yesterday on Lone Peak (24-1), which is based in Highland, which is NOT where Beavis and Butthead attended high school. Or Napoleon Dynamite. Golll!

Shouldn’t you all be out playing lacrosse?


The latest cover of Business Week….

The White House picks a fight with Bob Woodward. Dear White House: You NEVER want to pick a fight with Bob Woodward.

Remote Patrol

No. 2 Gonzaga at BYU

ESPN2, 11 p.m.

The Zags (27-2), winners of 10 straight, have achieved their highest ranking in school history. The streak began with a 20-point win over BYU in Spokane. The Cougars’ Tyler Haws leads the WCC in scoring (20.9) and his younger brother is the starting center for the aforementioned Lone Peak.

He? Haws. (Sometimes we go for the easy pun…Sometimes?)


If Gonzaga can take care of bidness in Provo, and then tackle Portland at home Saturday (consider it done), they’d possibly move up to No. 1 (Indiana already lost this week) in the polls.




Starting Five

1. “You get a fine! And you get a fine! And you get a fine!” On the final day of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, a hitting drill broke out. The problem? It took place at the Golden State Warriors-Indiana Pacers game. It began when behemoths David Lee (Warriors) and Roy Hibbert (Pacers) decided to stage a sumu wrestling match under the basket. Then Stephen Curry attempted to Van Gundy the seven-footer, Hibbert. Then David West shoved some dude in a suit. The entire incident took, like, 4.82 seconds… and it will likely cost all of those named above some $$$.

Klay Thompson (right): Willing to mix it up, but not willing to commit a turnover while doing so


2. Tourist Tragedy…. Easily the day’s most bizarre story. Nineteen tourists, nine of whom are from Hong Kong, perish in Egypt during a balloon ride when it catches fire just two to three meters (less than 12 feet) from landing. It is the deadliest balloon accident in at least two decades. The pilot and another passenger leaped out, which appears to have facilitated the basket’s imbalance, which accelerated the propulsion of the balloon hundreds of feet into the air. Burn or leap? A horrible dilemma.

3.ESPN’s  Mark May hating on a Notre Dame player? I know, we were astonished, too. Here’s May on Twitter yesterday: “Any team that wastes a first-round pick on Manti Te’o should fire their GM on draft day…He’s a mid- to late-second at best.” We don’t necessarily disagree with May’s assessment of where to take Te’o in the NFL Draft –that is, if the draft were held today — but to say you should fire your GM for selecting the Butkus Award winner at, say, 29th? That’s a little caffeinated. ESPN’s latest NFL obsession, it turns out, was found by just striking two letters from the surname of their previous obsession (TEBOW to TE’O).

4. The Heat win their 12 straight, beating hapless feckless potentially homeless Sacramento by 12 points as LeBron ‘splodes for 40 points and D-Wade for 39. About what you expected, no? Until you realize it took Miami two overtimes to do so and that King sub Marcus Thornton had 36 points — off the bench. Here’s an interesting stat, courtesy of ESPN stats & info: James, Wade and Chris Bosh, all of whom missed potential game-winning shots in the fourth quarter and first overtime last night, are a combined 0-for-10 in such situations this season.

5. Ronaldo-Messi is the Magic-Bird of soccer. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) locked shinguards again yesterday at Camp Nou (the Spaniards know how to name stadiums) in Barcelona, with the visitors handing the Catalans (i.e., Messi’s squad) their first home loss since last April. Ronaldo, who has scored nine goals in these two squads’ last eight meetings, connected on two goals in the 3-1 victory. The good news for you? The two sides meet again on Saturday. The series has long been referred to as “El Clasico”, but this may just be the best rivalry in sport right now. Messi and Ronaldo are all-timers.

There was something in the air that night/The stars were bright/ Ronaldo


A female scribe at The New Yorker, Amy Davidson, pillories Seth Davis MacFarlane for his “crudely sexist” hosting job of the Oscars. In her opinion. Ms. Davidson sounds like a lot of fun.

Say what you want about how Deadspin reported the Manti Te’o-Lennay Kekua love story, but editor-in-chief Tommy Craggs does not crack under interrogation. One smart dude.


“C-c-c-c-c-c-c-catfight.” We hear you, Cosmo. Some 15,000-plus visited the Honda Center in Anaheim to watch the first victory by a woman in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Ronda Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche with a “first-round armbar submission.” Your thoughts, Amy Davidson?

Is there any way we can do a “Wife Swap” that involves former WCBS anchor Rob Morrison and one of these women?



The No. 1 team in college hoops loses. Again. Yawn. Indiana falls at Minnesota, which is like, what, the third time the Hoosiers have fallen as No. 1 this winter? The most dominant team in college basketball this season? Outside of the Baylor women, we might go with St. Thomas,  the alma mater of Day of Yore smith of words Bill Hubbell. The Division III Tommies are 26-1 and lead D-3 in both scoring margin (21.9 ppg) and field-goal percentage (52.8%).

We took this Oscar Pistorious-Reeva Steenkamp graphic from the terrific media column of’s Richard Deitsch, who took it from The National Post (Canada). Just wondering: Has anyone mentioned, or did Pistorius ever say in his statement, that Ms. Steenkamp’s –there’s no delicate way to put this — pants were down when he discovered her? It seems that police forensics would have a way to verify this, given the amount of blood.

See, Fiddy, if you give a female celebrity flowers at a sporting event first, AND THEN go in for the smooch…

Remote Patrol

History of The Eagles

Showtime Too, 8 p.m.

Calm down, Chris D’Amico, we don’t mean the Philadelphia Iggles. No, this is a rockumentary of one of the most successful rock bands of all time. Member for member, the Eagles are about as talented as any group of the rock era and they personified the California lifestyle in the 1970s. Also, because of them, nobody can pass through Winslow, Arizona, without searching for a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford.

This photograph was taken after Ron Jaworski left the band


This entire blog post was written from the comfort of my living room chaise. Suck on that, Marissa Mayer.





Starting 4.82

1. Manti Te’o runs a sub-par 40 time at the NFL Combine, 4.82, which is the same exact time that former Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis ran. Laurinaitis, who once won the Laurinaitis Award (okay, there isn’t one, but doesn’t it sound like a real thing?), is now a starter for the Not Los Angeles Rams.

A few thoughts:

A.) I’ve always thought that if you were going to draft a Domer from this year’s crop, the smart money is on Tyler Eifert. I’ve been a huge fan of his for three years now.

B.) As far as Te’o’s stock has fallen since January 7, it still hasn’t fallen as far as Vontaze Burfict’s did last year. Burfict, formerly of Arizona State, went undrafted after a poor Combine and rumors about his off-the-field self-discipline and motivation (or lack thereof). The Cincinnati Bengals took him as a free agent and all he did was lead a playoff team in tackles (127) in his rookie season. So, who knows?

“I throw my hands up in the air sometimes/Sayin’ ‘Te’o!/Lookin’ too slow'”

C.) In the last two years Te’o played behind two defensive linemen, nose tackle Louis Nix and defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who may ultimately go higher in the NFL draft than he will. Their presence certainly helped his numbers. When they didn’t dominate an offensive line (Alabama), he looked pedestrian. On the other hand, Teo’s’ seven interceptions last fall were the most by a linebacker in 13 seasons and he anchored a defense that in 2010 allowed one touchdown over a span of 18 quarters (and that one when USC got a first-and-goal on the 4 after a turnover) and in 2012 did not allow a touchdown over a span of 19 quarters. Not bad.

2. Blackhawks Up! (Don’t faint, Billy; yes, I’m actually talking about hockey). The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oiler in overtime, improving their record to 16-0-3 to start the NHL season. The Blackhawks have at least one point (three for a win, one for a tie) in each game through 19 games, which is an NHL record.

3. Have you been paying any attention to Italy? So, apparently, Italians are disgusted with their political leaders (what must that be like?) and held an election and do you know whose party won control of Parliament in Europe’s third-largest economy? It was an upstart political party, the Five-Star Movement, led by comedian Beppe Grillo (there are Italian comedians?). The other two “established” political leaders who were vying for control are both convicted felons. Fortunately, the Pope is around to lend some stability to a troubled nation. Wait….WHAT???

Four out of five Midwesterners believe that “Beppe Grillo” is a restaurant chain

4. Below, that is Fauja Singh, alias “The Turban Tornado”, who on Sunday retired from marathoning at the age of 101 (Singh ran his first marathon at the age of 89). If Singh is like most retiring marathoners, he will now branch out into competing in triathlons.


Singh would have made the cover of Runners’ World, but he refused to wax his chest and pose shirtless

5. “Arizona, it’s the new Flori-duh!”


Quick confession: I never saw the Oscars on Sunday night and only watched “We Saw Your Boobs” on YouTube, minus any context for how and where it appeared on the opening monologue. Obviously, I missed the joke.

Looks, charm, can sing and dance, and funny. The Oscars’ five-tool player of a host


Last night put the entire first hour on-line and I finally saw it. So, my one-word review? Brilliant, and I agree with everything that the fabulous Katie said. Marlow Stern of The Daily Beast begs to differ.

And now, realizing that it was obvious they’d spliced in the reactions of Naomi Watts, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence and that they were all in on the joke (something I didn’t previously realize), well that’s just more subtlety than I’ve ever been conditioned to expect from a mainstream, prime-time broadcast.

Magic Mike and Monster

And who knew Charlize Theron was such the hoofer? Right?

Loved the “Flight Sock Puppets” bit, too. Loved that Captain Kirk (William Shatner, who had to be performing live) made the Amy and Tina reference. Love that MacFarlane made the Chris Brown joke and then said, “That’s as bad as it gets…. that’s not as bad as it gets.”

Loved it all. I hope they bring back Stewie’s dad next year.




Day of Yore, February 25

Reggie Dunlop: What are you guys doing?
Steve Hanson: Puttin’ on the foil!
Jeff Hanson: Every game!
Jack Hanson: Yeah, you want some?

Unknown-2 Unknown-3

The cult classic, “Slapshot” came out today in 1977. They wouldn’t let you use half of the dialogue in the movie in today’s world.

In one of the most anticipated heavyweight boxing matches of all time, Cassius Clay upset champion Sonny Liston tonight in 1964. Liston, the Mike Tyson of his time, was a 7-1 favorite after knocking out the previous champion Floyd Patterson twice. Liston was as intimidating as it got and Clay later admitted to being scared before the fight. With everyone expecting Liston to knock out the 22-year old, Clay won when Liston couldn’t answer the bell for the 7th round. It was during the next week that Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Sports Illustrated named Ali/Liston I as the fourth greatest sports moment of the 20th century.


“The Passion of the Christ,” otherwise known as Mel Gibson’s tipping point, opened today in 2002.


“Songs From the Big Chair” came out today in 1985 and everyone thought Tears for Fears was going to be the next Duran Duran. Not quite, but “Shout,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and “Head Over Heels” were all radio staples.


Another band that seemed capable of big things dropped their big one today in 1997. Sister Hazel released, “Somewhere More Familiar,” and they sounded like a band that might be around for awhile. It was a great album and “All For You” became a smash single that summer. “Just Remember,” “Happy,” “Think About Me,” and “Cerilene” were all strong tunes.


“The Departed” won Best Picture today in 2007.



— Bill Hubbell


In Defense Of Seth McFarlane

By Katie (that’s me doing my Renee Zelwegger imitation)

6369_1192582619863_2793516_nWell! The Oscars. Another Awards season come and gone, where does the time go? I’ve been addicted to these things since Jennifer Lawrence was but a twinkle in Jack Nicholson’s eye, kids.
I’m going to say right off the bat, I thought “We Saw Your Boobs” was hilarious. I thought the sock-puppet rendition of “Flight” was also hilarious. I thought the comment about how Denzel was in all those Nutty Professor movies was, you guessed it, hilarious. I thought the whole opening bit last night was great—Seth McFarlane was brave and stuck to what he thought was funny without being mean-spirited, and in my opinion, it worked.
Was the opener super long? Yes it was, and I wanted it to keep going because I found it all highly entertaining, almost as entertaining as all those frothing at the mouth at how sexist and offensive it  was. The best are the people (the flippin’ critic in our local paper!!) who actually thought the outraged reaction shots of Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts during the boob song were real. To them I say, “Look closely and you will see, none of those actresses were wearing the same dresses or had the same hairstyles.” It’s OK, I’m here to help.

And sexist? Can you deny all those boobs were seen? No you cannot. For all those angry because some of those actresses were portraying rape victims, guess what: they weren’t actually being raped. They were acting, and they were all paid handsomely. I saw Monster’s Ball, and if anything, I’m the one who got raped.
The whole show was so completely disjointed and weird, it was strangely awesome. Now, those who know me know, I always love the Oscars no matter what, even if Whoopie Goldberg is hosting. That is just my way. But last night was an all-timer; Jennifer Lawrence fell, Meryl Streep picked her fanny, the Avengers were so bad they made me feel glorious, Catherine Zeta Jones was so fantastic I didn’t even care she was lip-synching, Jennifer Hudson gave me chills, Barbra Streisand sang, some old man in a gold dress came out and bellowed the theme to Goldfinger (everyone acted like they knew who that was…well I didn’t. Sorry, I’m too busy not being 100) the whole show was inexplicably dedicated to musicals with a side of James Bond (???)…since when has Oscar night had a theme beyond just movies? Not just one, either, a theme with a minor.  I’m all for it. Here’s hoping next year it’s westerns with a splash of comedy or space movies with a soupcon of Quentin Tarantino… there could be a big number where the theater is awash with severed body parts and blood. Who produced this freaky joyride? Please come back next year, and bring Seth with you. And of course, Michelle Obama and her Zooey Daschanal bangs giving out the award for best picture. Absolutely bizarre.
All right, let’s talk about the stars. I thought for sure “Most Hammered” would go to Quentin Tarantino, but nope, it was a tie between Renee Zellwegger and Kristen Stewart. I didn’t expect much from Ms. Stewart, I’m not a fan and I can’t figure out why she keeps getting jobs. She looked her usual sweaty self, talent and personality free and sporting a fittingly ugly bruise on her upper arm. But Renee…what happened to you? You used to be my fave. You were actually swerving around on stage, looking like you were trying really hard to focus. You didn’t even bother to do your hair. Wow. If this keeps up, you’ll have to change your name to Kathleen Turner in about 2 years.

I thought Anne Hathaway was a lock for most annoying (for the record, I considered launching a backlash to the backlash against her—I really believe she deserved to win and that she is incredibly talented) but that distinction goes to Kristin Chenoweth. She has got to stop with the “Wookit me I’m just a wittle teeny person” schtick. This is now the second awards show in a row where she has asked someone to pick her up cuz she’s so wittle!

Anne Hathaway wins most beautiful. You simply can’t deny it. And her dress was killer. And yes, I wanted to pull my eyes out and scratch at my neck during her gasping-for-air-I’m-so-overwhelmed-I’ve-never-heard-of-cake-before speech*. I almost cried during the Les Mis song, it was just beautiful, and the horribly snubbed Sara Barker had on the best dress of the night.

Jennifer Lawrence—love her! So glad she won. It’s been eons since there’s been a really great, genuinely talented and funny young actress—I know, there are a lot of great actresses out there, but they’re all at least in their 30’s. Every time I watch When Harry Met Sally, I ask myself what 20-something actress could pull that off nowadays, and until Jennifer L showed up, I kept coming up empty. Maybe Anne Hathaway, but that annoying factor…Jen L is the full package.

Charlize Theron looked a lot like Brigitte Neilson from back in the 80’s. She’s super beautiful, but she looked  like she was about to wrestle an alligator.


Melissa McCarthy…look, I feel terrible about what that jerky old jerkstore reject Rex Reed said about you, but you looked like Mrs. Poole. Jessica Chastain rocked pretty much the same look as last year, and Jennifer Aniston…no. The dress, yes, the hair, seriously, stop it. You are wearing a ball gown, not going to the beach. Change it up, Goldie Hawn. Someone wore a gray dress. I can’t remember who it was, because they wore a gray dress. To the Oscars. Nothing came close to Gwyneth P’s white Tom Ford from last year.

images Unknown-2

OK, I need to go eat lunch, so I’ll leave you with this final thought: everyone is harping on how Seth Mc was offensive and horrible; well, think about this before you bathe in any more outrage: The most offensive thing I saw all night was the guy who won the Oscar for special effects, getting cut off by Jaws music halfway through his speech…where he was tearfully explaining how his entire firm went bankrupt and everyone lost their jobs. Huh? What about that, offense-takers? We Saw Your Boobs, indeed.

* Jim Gaffigan


Starting Five

1. ‘Pargo’ Wins Best Picture

The inspiring story of a former Gonzaga basketball player, the West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2008, who goes undrafted and then leads Maccabi Tel Aviv to the EuroLeague Finals before finally catching on with the Philadelphia 76ers, wins Best Pic– wait, what’s that? I’m getting a message from…Ohhhhh. Never mind.

Well, they SHOULD make a movie about him.

2. Oscar Thoughts: How do you perform a song like “We Saw Your Boobs” and not mention Phoebe Cates (I know, it was awhile ago, but still…)? … Jennifer Hudson’s performance of “And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going” was three triumphant minutes of “Can you believe I did NOT win ‘American Idol’? Either can I”… Quentin Tarantino’s date was a woman named Lianne Spiderbaby. I don’t even have a joke, I just want this on the record… Seth MacFarlane: “The actor who really got into Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth.” Remember, kids, “Tragedy plus time equals comedy”… The Jaws theme music play-off idea wins Best Innovation… Charlize Theron wins the Tommy Lee Jones Award for her grimace during “We Saw Your Boobs”… THIS SCENE is one of my very favorite scenes from any film, any time. In light of Ben Affleck’s “Argo” winning Best Picture last night, it is even more poignant. By the way, Affleck is still ten years away from being fifty.


Jessica Chastain: ’40s era Hollywood starlet throwback or the “She’ll-do” bridesmaid at your buddy’s wedding? Or, both?


The ESPN overhyped story of this week was Danica Patrick taking the pole at Daytona. One ESPN SportsCenter even referred to “Danica Fatigue”, which is the kettle calling the kettle black. But, you know what? Patrick traded in that hype for respect on Sunday.

While Patrick did not win the Great American Race, she spent the entire 500 miles in the hunt, became the first female to lead one lap of the race, and was actually in third place at the start of the last lap before fading to eighth.

Jimmie Johnson, racing in his 400th NASCAR event, took the checkered flag, winning the race for the second time in the past seven years.

4. 50-Cent Attempts To Trade Paint with Erin Andrews

In a race known for daring pass attempts, Fiddy made an awkward one at the Fox pit crew reporter. But, hey, it was a banner day for sexism all over. Between this, MacFarlane’s opening number at the Oscars (Naomi Watts, not amused) at the Oscars, The Onion’s unfunny, ugly tweet about nine year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, and James Franco’s “Drivers –and Danica– start your engines!” gaffe at Daytona, well, how to sum up? (I mean, at least our Jessica Chastain caption was sort of funny….no?)

5. Mantifesto

“Meet The Press” took place one day early, as former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o VOLUNTARILY met an assembled media throng at the NFL Combine (which is not to be confused with the NFL Concubine). Someone in the media asked Te’o if he had a “girlfriend, in real-life” (“No”). NFL Network Mike Mayock analyst assessed that the word that came to mind when he watched the press conference was “genuine.” Colleague Charles Davis quipped, “The word that comes to mind for me is, ‘Enough’.”


The Miami Heat win their 11th straight. ESPN loves the Laker melodrama, but the fact is that if the two teams in the NBA Finals are not the Heat and Spurs or Thunder, it’ll be a letdown.

A story appears in the New York Times under the byline Max Klinger. Colonel Potter would be so proud.

New York Yankee centefielder Curtis Granderson, who has 84 home runs the past two seasons and is probably the best Bomber position player outside of Robinson Cano at this stage, is plunked on the forearm in his first preseason at-bat. Granderson could miss as much as 10 weeks. It’s going to be that kind of season in the Bronx, isn’t it?

On the bright side, Granderson will now have more time to film episodes of “Psych”

Tiger and Elin, hanging together. I am SO gonna watch The Masters this April…

Would any South African males not facing murder charges please raise their hand? If your hand is cuffed, do not bother.

Remote Patrol

We’re going to attempt to give you one program, sports or entertainment, per evening to watch. It’s an experiment. We’ll see how it works.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

8 p.m., TCM

“Shave and a haircut…..” “TWO BITS!” …. “I’m not bad; I’m just drawn that way.” …Pu-pu-pu-pu-pu-pu-pleazzzzze!” I think I love the character, Roger Rabbit, even more than this 1988 film, but I’ll always “toon” in to watch this (Why can’t more people be like Toons?)

“A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it’s the only weapon we have.”



True story: I’m walking up Central Park West one night — this was at least 15 years ago — and I saunter (yes, I was really sauntering) past Charles Fleischer, the comedian who is the voice of Roger Rabbit. As I stroll (oh, we’re strolling now?) by, and realize who it is, I say in a voice loud enough to be heard, “Shave and a haircut.”

Fleischer stops, waits a beat, turns, grins, fixes me with a stare and says, “Twoooo bitttttts!”




REEL THOUGHTS: The Silence of the Islams

Here comes the dreaded spoiler alert: I’ll be discussing Zero Dark Thirty, so if you have yet to see the film and plan on doing so, you may not want to read this. You may not want to read it anyway, and you may be asking yourself, Why am I on this site? How DID I GET HERE? In that case, you are David Byrne and I really cannot help you.

The first scene. A determined, idealistic, youthful female federal investigator — in a pants suit –enters a cell in which a prisoner who likely has crucial information about a serial killer is being detained. The investigator is chaperoned by an older male colleague who, while more experienced, will fail to obtain the information he seeks. Possibly because, in part, he does not understand the difference between abusive and persuasive.

Where have I seen this movie before?

Oh, yes, in 1991. Jodie Foster (“I’m 29!”) and Anthony Hopkins in “The Silence of the Lambs” which, for me, was a perfect film. Or as close to perfect as films get. Anyway, as engrossing a film as ZDT (that’s what we insiders call it, you know) was, at a certain point in its two-plus hours I began actively searching for related moments between the two movies. Such as…

“Tell me about the imams, Clarice.”


— In the opening half hour of “TSOTL”, Clarice Starling twice visits Hannibal Lecter in his cell and develops a relationship of empathy and trust with him. In the opening half hour of ZDT, Mya twice visits the Al Qaida detainee in his cell and he turns to her for compassion.

— Clarice, with the FBI, and Mya, with the CIA, are both headstrong, obsessed workaholics whose male superiors don’t quite know how to lasso them, but who are at least smart enough to realize how valuable they are.

— Midway through the film, a planned encounter between goverment officials and a material witness goes horribly awry. In TSOTL a few police officers and a paramedic or two are gruesomely murdered as Dr. Lecter escapes from his makeshift jail in Nashville. Lecter was only there because he had promised to give the senator key information about the disappearance of her daughter. In ZDT, seven CIA officials are killed when a suicide bomber, posing as an Al Qaida turncoat, infiltrates their base in Afghanistan. You could see that rendezvous going horribly wrong from before that dusty old car appeared over the horizon (that scene also brought back memories of “Seven” for me).

— The scene in which our young heroine finds herself in a roomful of men and has to remind them that she belongs. In TSOTL it’s the moment at the funeral parlor in which Clarice, not quite yet sure of herself, orders the local cops to clear out so that she can examine the corpse. In ZDT it’s the moment in the CIA briefing room in which Mya tells Tony Soprano, “I’m the motherf*$*@ that found this place, sir.”

–The movie’s climax involves hunting down the serial killer in his own home, in complete darkness, with night vision goggles playing a key role. Also, the serial killer takes a bullet to the head. Between that scene and the movie’s opening scene, the bookending of it all, how do you not draw the parallel?
Also, there’s one final denoument moment in which we realize that our heroine is not joyous but almost lost. As if to recognize, now that there’s no bogeyman to chase, what do I do now?

“Exposed brick, eh? I like what you’ve done with the place, Dr. Lecter.”

Pants suits, monastic devotion to their cases, and red-to-auburn hair aside, Clarice and Mya are quite different people. We don’t know what drives Mya personally, only that she is precociously brilliant (the CIA recruited her out of high school). We did know what drove Clarice: the screaming of the lambs. Mya is far more demonstrative and confident than Clarice, who even as she enters the home of Buffalo Bill appears piss-your-pants terrified.

Still, the symmetry between the two films, one a classic and the latter in whatever category falls just below that, was astounding. There came a moment where I was hoping that director Kathryn Bigelow would toss in a snippet of a Tom Petty tune just as a way of winking to her audience as if to say, “Yes, I noticed it, too.”


Our friend Chris Corbellini provides his daily recommended allowance of C.C.’s on the Oscars. Yesterday, he provided us with his picks on the big awards. Today he gives us those on the lesser awards, you know, the ones that were given out a week earlier at a hotel ballroom in Santa Monica and hosted by an actress who used to be someone. Without further (Depar)dieu…




Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey

Django Unchained, Robert Richardson

Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda

Lincoln, Januz Kaminski

Skyfall, Roger Deakins


SCOUTING REPORT: The working filmmaker’s favorite category. Sit in a darkened theater with an experienced director or producer and inevitably they’ll whisper: “ooh, nice shot.” So this one carries a lot of weight behind the scenes. It’s a three-cameraman race: No one shoots sunlight slipping through windows like Januz Kaminski. Roger Deakins has been the Coen Brothers secret weapon forever. And Claudio Miranda transformed what read like an un-shootable story into a beauty.


WHO WILL WIN: Miranda, Life of Pi. Deakins deserves it because every shot seemed dipped in awesome juice – far better than the source material deserved (the fireworks outside the Shanghai casino scene, Bond falling into a cold, deep Scottish pond). But it’s a Bond movie.



Argo, William Goldenberg

Life of Pi, Tim Squyres

Lincoln, Michael Kahn

Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers

Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg


SCOUTING REPORT: William Goldenberg had a memorable 2012. He has a 2-in-5 chance of winning in this category, and I think those two are the favorites. It comes down to the final 20 minutes in each case. Both had life-or-death stakes, so which one was more intense?


WHO WILL WIN: Argo. The only film last year where I gripped the armrest in the theater. When you know how a story plays out already yet remain caught up in the drama, editing has something to do with it.


“Yes, I’d like the kosher meal…”


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Life of Pi

Marvel’s The Avengers


Snow White and the Huntsman


SCOUTING REPORT: VE is a collaborative process with plenty of chefs in front of the mixing bowl, so I didn’t mention names in this category. The Hobbit looked like Super Mario Bros. at times, and a clunky version at that. Snow White and the Huntsman is best known for breaking up Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, so I could see the granddaughters of Academy voters trying to convince them to award the movie something. The Avengers? Looked fantastic, but it simply made too much money to win such a prestigious trophy.


WHO WILL WIN: Life of Pi. The best 3-D movie so far. More immersive than even Avatar, which won in this category three years ago.

Charlize Theron appears in two of the five films nominated for Visual Effects. We’re down with that.



Argo, Erik Aandahl and Ethan Van der Ryn

Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman

Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton

Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers

Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N.J. Ottosson


SCOUTING REPORT: I remember Zero Dark Thirty for the silence (the quiet helicopters, the slow march into the compound with sporadic gunfire) so that would be an unconventional choice. The Academy would be honoring the sound editor’s subtlety in a movie that could have been louder. Meanwhile, there’s a whole lotta ‘splosions in Skyfall. Life of Pi showcased a ship sinking and the screams of animals amidst the waves in one long prolonged shot – a horror grab bag of sound was needed to go with eye-bulging visuals.


WHO WILL WIN: Life of Pi. Skyfall could steal this one though, for the train crashing into the tunnel sequence.



Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia

Les Miserables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes

Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin

Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins

Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson


SCOUTING REPORT: If a film adaptation of a world-famous musical doesn’t win this one, it’s not a musical, it’s a cautionary tale.


WHO WILL WIN: Les Miserables. All those actors performed their songs live during filming. Like a Hollywood hairstylist who knows how to hide bald spots, those mixers helped make everyone in the production sound like a passable pro or better.



Amour, Austria

Kon-Tiki, Norway

No, Chile

A Royal Affair, Denmark

War Witch, Canada


SCOUTING REPORT: Yeah, No might have a shot here, but I can’t shake the muffled chuckles from a Lincoln Center theater crowd while watching its trailer due to the simplistic title. America … we are so obnoxious.


WHO WILL WIN: Amour. A consolation prize, as it won’t win Best Picture.



Brave, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman.

Frankenweenie, Tim Burton

ParaNorman, Sam Fell and Chris Butler

The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Peter Lord

Wreck-It Ralph, Rich Moore


SCOUTING REPORT: Not the best year for Pixar. It wasn’t Cars or Cars 2,  but Brave got a lot of shrugs.


WHO WILL WIN: Wreck-It Ralph. With all due respect to Rich Moore, I’d like to see Sarah Silverman or Jane Lynch step up to the podium to accept this award and spout Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch things.



Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli

Argo, Alexandre Desplat

Life of Pi, Mychael Danna

Lincoln, John Williams

Skyfall, Thomas Newman


SCOUTING REPORT: I collect movie soundtracks, and nothing here brushed my hair back. Since Life of Pi’s score fit neatly with each of the different locales (India at the start, for example), it is awarded points for mood lighting with music.


WHO WILL WIN: Life of Pi. John Williams uses spare Oscars as toothbrush holders at this point, so he doesn’t need another one.



Before My Time, Chasing Ice

Everybody Needs a Best Friend, Ted

Pi’s Lullaby, Life of Pi

Skyfall, Skyfall

Suddenly, Les Miserables


SCOUTING REPORT: When a song becomes a hit on iTunes before the movie is released, you stand a good chance of winning here. Take a bow, Adele. You made me want to slip on a tuxedo and order a vodka martini.


WHO WILL WIN: Skyfall. Here’s hoping Oscar host Seth MacFarlane spews more venom during the broadcast after losing in this category.


Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane

Les Miserables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell


SCOUTING REPORT: I’m conflicted about the fact that a guy named Swords worked on a Tolkien fantasy adventure and is not going to win an Oscar. And how do you not refer to him as Swords on set? I doubt many Academy voters actually saw Hitchcock either, so that film is out in this category or any category.


WHO WILL WIN: Les Miserables. Everyone looked appropriately dusty or ragged.



I saw this outfit at Urban Outfitters


Anna Karenina

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Miserables

Life of Pi



SCOUTING REPORT: Another collaborative award that stretches well beyond the names on the list, so I kept them off. Every extra without dialogue and every throw pillow on a bed is part of the production design. That would suggest the Hobbit wins by a landslide here, but the Academy has already honored the Lord of the Rings trilogy and director Peter Jackson and his crew already knew how to stage the material. Life of Pi was the greatest logistical and aesthetic challenge of all of these films.


WHO WILL WIN: Life of Pi. Granted half the story is a boy and a tiger on a raft, but the design of the living island made the movie. Note: I came back to this one an hour after writing it and wondered if Lincoln or Les Mis could steal this statue. This is a competitive category.



Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran

Les Miserables, Paco Delgado

Lincoln, Joanna Johnston

Mirror Mirror, Elko Ishioka

Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood


SCOUTING REPORT: Is it your lifelong dream to get nominated for best costume and walk the red carpet in an outfit of your own devising? Make sure you get attached to a period piece or a fairy tale. Not one but two stories about Snow White made this list. Neither will win it.


WHO WILL WIN: Anna Karenina. Tolstoy’s literary monster and Oprah book club Hall of Famer goes 1-for-4 on Oscar night.


Chris Corbellini Makes his “O” Face! (as in Oscar)

Our friend and former colleague, NFL expert Chris Corbellini, is as passionate about the red carpet as he is about the red zone. He ardently sends in his Oscar picks.

First, some qualifications are in order: I spent over six years either in front of an Avid machine or a sound stage at a motion picture production house. This gives me a puncher’s chance of accurately predicting the technical categories no one cares about. The rest is personal preference to wildly-varied and entertaining pieces of art. I also watched “The Master.”


Alan Arkin, Argo

Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Christop Waltz, Django Unchained


SCOUTING REPORT: Here are the No. 2-3 hitters in any Hollywood lineup, capable of setting the table for other performers or blasting one to the left-center bleachers. Every nominee already has an Oscar in his trophy room. De Niro is a solid choice and word-of-mouth praise could help, but will the Academy reward him for getting his heart rate up on one occasion after coasting all these years? Contender Christop Waltz never takes a line of dialogue off and has a stately air about him, but Leonardo DiCaprio, bloody hand and all, was a tornado in Django and outshines him a bit as a supporting performer.


WHO WILL WIN: Tommy Lee Jones. Gruff. Noble. In love. Lincoln begins to snowball now on Oscar night.

This is not Chris D’Amico. Swear.


Amy Adams, The Master

Sally Field, Lincoln

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook


SCOUTING REPORT: Not an especially deep field this year. It felt like the Academy had a tough time filling out this bracket. Jacki Weaver was a strong presence in the Silver Linings Playbook household with just a few lines, and it was nice to see the movie reveals she was pulling a lot of the strings for her son’s happiness. A mother’s love could be enough. Then again, she doesn’t sing.


WHO WILL WIN: Anne Hathaway. The movie star of the group. Bonus points for her portrayal of herself wearing “Ketel One” perfume on Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns series.

We go way back with Anne…



Amour, Michael Haneke

Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino

Flight, John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal


SCOUTING REPORT: A two-writer race between Boal and Tarantino. QT won an Oscar for scripting Pulp Fiction, and Django Unchained is not in the same class. But the Academy generally has no sense of legacy (see: Forrest Gump over’s No. 1 movie of all-time, The Shawshank Redemption, which every Oscar blogger and journalist is obligated to mention) unless it concerns race. I also have a theory that Hollywood can’t stand Kathryn Bigelow behind the scenes, so after begrudgingly awarding her Oscar for The Hurt Locker, the Academy is going to ignore Zero Dark Thirty this go-around. Sorry Mark. You are collateral damage.


WHO WILL WIN: Tarantino. There is no single line of dialogue that you’ll remember for the ages,  but QT did create a spectacularly evil character for Samuel L. Jackson.



Argo, Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin

Life of Pi, David Magee

Lincoln, Tony Kushner

Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell


SCOUTING REPORT: Argo had the best line: “Somebody’s responsible when things happen, Jack. I’m responsible. I’m taking them through.” Silver Linings Playbook was a time-capsule movie for 2012, and sharply and warmly written from start to credits. Those scripts deserve a split national title. Neither will win it outright. In the words of Terrio: “Argo f-ck yourself.”


WHO WILL WIN: Kushner. Thought process: “Didn’t Kushner write Angels in America? That was important. So is Lincoln. I’ll vote for him.”



Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Denzel Washington, Flight


SCOUTING REPORT: The easiest pick on the board. Hollywood is always looking for a bankable male lead for the next 10 years and George Clooney and Brad Pitt can’t last forever, so Cooper may get some consideration for the future of the business. Still, this one was over from the first Lincoln trailer.


WHO WILL WIN: Day-Lewis. If Broadway recreated the film as a play, it would sell out as long as he performed the title role.


Day-Lewis will win both Oscar and the Christoph Waltz Look-Alike Contest


Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Quvenzhane Walls, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Naomi Watts, The Impossible


SCOUTING REPORT: Chastain and Lawrence. In Jessica’s case you are celebrating obsessiveness, which is tricky. Instead of the white whale sinking the ship, which is the message of so many stories, she triumphs. If Chastain stepped out of that tent at the end, stared out into the desert and then fell over and died from exhaustion, it would not have surprised me. Her chief competitor had more to do. She had to be funny, warm, more than a little off her rocker, dress down Robert De Niro with a speech about sports, and then nail the final dance number.


WHO WILL WIN: Lawrence. When she hissed “You’re killing me! You’re killing me!” to her sister before the big dance, the movie was hers. The happiest person during the after-parties will be her agent. Lawrence is already a star after the Hunger Games, and just 22 years young.

It’s impossible that Watts will win, but she still deserves an Oscar for her work in Mulholland Drive



Michael Haneke, Amour

Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Ang Lee, Life of Pi

Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook


SCOUTING REPORT: Ben Affleck deserves this one, and Kathryn Bigelow would be a better choice than most in this group. Let’s work with what we have. Zeitlin’s challenge was to create a different world in the Louisiana bayou – immediately following the BP disaster – and use a baker from New Orleans and a 6-year-old girl with no acting experience to be a family and carry the story.  Shooting on water, a backbreaker throughout motion picture history, would also be heavily involved. If directing means pulling the most out of a cast and being the decision maker for every element of the picture to final cut, he should win this. But Sir Steven Spielberg is the safe, traditional choice.


WHO WILL WIN: Spielberg. Strange because it’s so un-Spielberg, with very little in the way of spectacular set pieces beside the opening battle. This was a small picture done on the cheap, relatively speaking, with performances in darkened rooms by the fire and political halls.





Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty


SCOUTING REPORT: There are enough nominees here to fill out a baseball lineup. I enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook the most of this group, and wondered how Beasts of the Southern Wild lifted something special out of a muddy, garbage-strewn swamp. Life of Pi was pretty to look at and should win the technical categories. Amour and Lincoln may be sentimental choices. Django celebrates Westerns; Les Miserables, musicals. None of them have the all-around greatness for the gold medal. So it’s Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, then. Of the two, Zero Dark Thirty creeps slowly and steadily to that tense finish. Argo is tense from the opening shot until the plane is the air.


WHO WILL WIN: Argo. Affleck’s comeback is complete. Like Eric Clapton once sang: “Everyone wants to be your long, lost friend.”


Starting Five

1. You’ve Got Bail

South Africa Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair grants accused murderer/double amputee/Olympian Oscar Pistorius bail ($28,500). Nair: “I’ve come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail.” Refuses to say whether he is “a good guy with a gun” or a “bad guy with a gun.”

What will the conditions of bail be? Will Pistorius be asked to forfeit both his guns and his blades to the state?

Nair rules that Oscar is not a risk to run…away.

2. Parker Brother

Is San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker the NBA MVP? No, not ahead of LeBron James (nor Kevin Durant), but  he definitely belongs in the conversation. In fact, he might even be No. 2 behind LeBron. The Spurs are 44-12 after last night’s 116-90 demolition of the L.A. Clippers at Staples. They’ve won 16 of their past 17 and have the league’s best record and the 30 year-old French man is the impetus behind it.

Oui love Parker’s play this season.


The 11-year veteran has been the squad’s glue all season, as his fellow future Hall of Fame teammates Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobiliiiiiiii! have missed a significant number of games (10 and 13, respectively). Even coach Gregg Popovich has missed time. Parker is averaging 29.3 points per game in his last six games while leading the Spurs in assists each outing. For the season he is 8th in the NBA in scoring (21.1 ppg) and 6th in assists (7.7). Only one player in the league is ahead of Parker in both categories: OKC’s Russell Westbrook, who also deserves MVP consideration. The main difference between the two is that Westbrook has the luxury of playing with Durant.

3. Drew Peterson Gets 38 Years

Hey, we appreciate how difficult it is to keep your wife-murdering Petersons in order. To refresh, Scott is the one who was convicted of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn son in 2002. He is currently on death row in California.

Drew, however, is the more intriguing Peterson. And, according to police and in-laws, more dangerous. A long-time Chicago-area cop, Drew has been married four times. His fourth wife remains missing and last autumn he was convicted of drowning his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in their bathtub back in 2004.

Today a judge sentenced Drew to 38 years in prison moments after Drew screamed out, “I did not kill Kathleen.”

Drew Peterson: Latter-day “Devil In The White City” or wrongly convicted?

We know people who have covered this case from its inception, who live in Chicago, and what they’ve always said is how smug Drew appeared to be. As a police officer he knew all the rules of evidence, not to mention that he was buddies with a number of officers. A former wife, who is not dead, has called him “a legend in his own mind.” He almost challenged authorities to charge him.

Also, it should be noted that his last two wives were decades younger than he. He married his fourth wife, Stacy, when he was 49 and she was 19.

4. Julius Erving, a.k.a. Dr. J, turns 63 today. If you were born in the 1960s then I need not tell you that he was the Michael Jordan of the Seventies. Dr. J is largely forgotten because he existed in an era just before ESPN and when the NBA was arguably at its nadir. Magic Johnson led the Lakers to the NBA championship in his rookie season, 1979-1980, versus Dr. J’s Sixers. Magic’s immortal Game 6, in which he played center in place of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and scored 42 points as the Lakers clinched the title, was ONLY SEEN ON TAPE-DELAY. Seriously.

The Doctor is In

Anyway, Dr. J defied gravity. And ESPN has not devoted the past two weeks to honoring him. Not that he deserves Jordanian plaudits, but he was pretty special. And by the way, we DO realize that he was even better back when he was in the NBA sporting those awesome Nets uniforms that should still be in play somewhere.

What needs to be said: The Doctor was wearing his ‘fro and dunking over dudes in a very, very different era. It was a white world in the early ’70s (and mid- and late-70s), where black people were only accepted on TV if they were non-threatening and could give us a solid catchphrase (“Kid Dy-NO-mite!” and “Sock it to me!” come to mind). Now, sure, Muhammad Ali ran lead on breaking barriers, but the Doctor did so, too. Not with words. He was no more outspoken than MJ. But with deeds? Surely.

After all, he (and Walt Frazier) are the only two guys I can recall before Jordan who had sneaker deals. And it was Dr. J’s famous All-Star Game dunk contest dunk (an idea the NBA took from the ABA) that Jordan mimicked back when he did it.

So, Happy Birthday, Dr. J.

5. This is more than a week old, but I’ve just spotted it. The best and most gleefully defiant Jeopardy! guest since Sean Connery is Leonard Cooper, who won $75,000 on Teen Jeopardy! and, with the tournament already locked up, provided a goof answer on Final Jeopardy. You’re our hero, Leonard, and keep rockin’ the Dr. J/Oscar Gamble ‘fro.