Is There Anyone Who Can Host The Oscars?

Helaine and I sat on the sofa and watched the Oscars last night. I was excited. I’m a big Seth MacFarlane fan.

As far as show biz is concerned he is the total package. He sings, dances, acts and writes. There’s probably more, but isn’t that enough?

It didn’t take more than a few minutes to feel his discomfort oozing out onto the TV. I could feel him worrying he was bombing.

I can tell you from personal experience: you don’t have to bomb, you only have to worry you are. From there it’s a quick downward spiral toward a self fulfilling prophecy.

Worry about bombing and you will! To a large extent that’s what happened to Seth MacFarlane.

I felt bad. I wanted him to knock it out of the park.

Can anyone succeed hosting the Oscars? Today at least, the answer is, “No.”

Last year Billy Crystal came back for a reprise of his killer shots in the 90s and aughts. The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever said:

“[Crystal] seemed to be to be overseeing a cruise ship dinner show designed to appeal to the over-50 travel club. Early on, it hit the rocks and started to list. Almost everyone drowned.”

The year before it was Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Tim Goodman in the Hollywood Reporter wrote,

“In what could go down as one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history, a bad and risky idea — letting two actors host — proved out in spectacularly unwatchable fashion on the biggest of all nights for the film world,”

You see the trend?

In 2010, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. How could they fail?

How? Does it matter? They just did!

From Alan Sepinwall’s review in the Newark Star-Ledger:

These are two of the funniest men on the planet, but they seemed uncomfortable swapping generic one-liners in the opening monologue, then vanished for long stretches of the show.

There’s no point in digging up David Letterman’s reviews. All you need is, “Uma, Oprah.”

In our era of short attention spans the Oscars telecast chews up hosts and spits them out.

Recently MacFarlane himself noted, as the night goes on there are more and more pissed off losers in the theater. Tough crowd!

I asked my dad for the name of a good Oscar host. “Bob Hope,” he replied without missing a beat. Hope’s last Oscar telecast was 1978.

Expectations were different then, though Hope does have the Oscar’s most memorable line from a host.

“Welcome to the Academy Awards, or, as it’s known at my house, Passover.”

That was 1968, 45 years ago!

So, yeah, Seth MacFarlane didn’t do well. He’s in good company.

Maybe Oscar hosting should be graded on the curve?

We Saw Ted

In a beautifully produced scene Ted seamlessly appears on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It’s not just chatting, they are physically interacting.

Ted benefits from the technologies used in movies like Avatar. Ted himself is totally CGI and totally believable (except a few walking scenes where he doesn’t have enough friction/traction against the pavement).

Ted’s life starts strong but like many instant celebrities his luster fades. He ends up a slacker living with 35 year old John, now underachieving himself working at a car rental agency.

I first heard of Seth MacFarlane’s movie Ted when Stef sent the link to its ‘milk out of your nose’ funny trailer. In fact the trailer was so funny I originally thought it wasn’t a trailer at all, but a well constructed parody.

Helaine and I went to see Ted today at the Rave theater in North Haven. It’s not Rave’s fault the movie started with nearly 20 minutes of coming attractions! That’s Universal’s doing. It is Rave’s fault this theater’s seats are spongy and need replacing and the walls looked shabby.

Does the beautifully sharp digital projection make up for that? Maybe.

Ted is the story of a boy’s wish for his teddy bear to come to life. Ted does and the world takes notice!

In a beautifully produced scene Ted seamlessly appears on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It’s not just chatting, they are physically interacting.

Ted benefits from the technologies used in movies like Avatar. Ted himself is totally CGI and totally believable (except a few walking scenes where he doesn’t have enough friction/traction against the pavement).

Ted’s life starts strong but like many instant celebrities his luster fades. He ends up a slacker living with 35 year old John, now underachieving himself working at a car rental agency.

The story revolves around the complex relationship between John, Ted and John’s girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis). How can John have an adult relationship with Lori while pot smoking, whore mongering, ├╝ber cursing Ted is in the picture?

This movie belongs to Wahlberg and MacFarlane with an honorable mention to Giovanni Ribisi as a totally psycho father willing to do whatever it takes to get Ted for his equally psycho son.

This is a raunchy movie with language and suggestive situations to match. I loved it! Seth MacFarlane has created totally credible, totally sweet, beautifully fashioned parallel love stories. John loves Lori. John loves Ted.

There was one curious bit of dialog between John and Ted I have to mention. While riffing made-up names for beer oriented movie actors John mentions, “Mike Brewguslawski!” Seth MacFarlane is from Kent, Connecticut. Is this a shoutout to former Action News 8 consumer reporter Mike Boguslawski? I asked MacFarlane via Twitter, but don’t expect to hear back.

We knew we wanted to see this movie from the moment we watched the trailer. It was everything we hoped for and has reinforced Seth MacFarlane’s destiny as a Hollywood creative force for at least the next few decades.