Today I Learned…

…that Milk, starring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk — the first openly homosexual elected official in America — is very and incredibly moving.  Penn’s performance as the political leader is fantastic, and he should be a nominee for Best Actor when the Oscars come up before too long, as should Milk for Best Picture.  Currently, my best picture list consists of this and WALL-E, although I’m sure it will grow once I see films like Revolutionary Road and The Wrestler, whose Mickey Rourke should also contend for the Best Actor prize.

Long story short, go see Milk.  Be prepared to cry if you have any gay relatives/friends who were alive at that time.

Today I Learned…

where all the Pixar Easter Eggs are!

This began as a discussion of a bet in which someone was challenged to find WALL-E somewhere on the Ratatouille DVD.  It expanded into a comprehensive catalog of Pixar’s long history and penchant for inside jokes.  The rubber ball from Luxo Jr., one of Pixar’s very first shorts, appears in almost every movie, as does the Pizza Planet delivery truck from Toy Story.

Today I Learned…

…that the final British monarch to also be an emperor was George VI (thanks Spam!)

…that the largest US state capital to not have a franchise in one of the four major American sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) is Austin, TX.

…that ET used a Speak ‘n’ Spell made by Texas Instruments to “phone home” (nailed the final question!).

…that Team “Mounting Sexual Theoretics” was the final 3rd place team to bring home a prize at Rulloff’s trivia!  $15!

Today I Learned…

…what a Dutch rudder is.  I’d like to think this is a vaguely family-friendly blog, so if you want to know what that is, either Google it or go see Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

Update: Virgil Goode currently leads Tom Perriello in the Virginia 5th district by 98 votes.  I’m not sure what the law is in VA about automatic recounts… anyone?

Today I Learned…

…about the Wilhelm Scream.  It’s a sound effect that is used /extremely/ frequently in both movies and video games.  From Wikipedia: “The Wilhelm’s revival came from Star Wars series sound designer Ben Burtt, who tracked down the original recording (which he found as a studio reel labeled “Man being eaten by alligator“). Although Distant Drums was the first known use of the sound, Burtt named it after “Pvt. Wilhelm”, a minor character who emitted the same scream in the 1953 film The Charge at Feather River.”

Once you hear it, I’m sure you’ll recognize it.  Check out this compliation video I found on Kezins.com:

Today I Learned…

…who’s going to win the Oscar next year for Best Supporting Actor.  The late Mr. Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight as The Joker, one of the most iconic villians in pop culture, was so revolutionary, so inspired, so… terrifying, that he’d be a shoe-in for a nomination — with a decent chance to win, despite being in a so-called “summer blockbuster” — any year.  Combine that with his untimely and tragic death earlier this year, and I’m already one-for-one in my Academy Awards pool.

Seriously, if you’re a fan of movies – of comic books – of Batman – of Mr. Ledger – of the craft of acting – go see this movie as quickly as you can.  My only beef with it is that it’s about half an hour too long — the bits in Hong Kong weren’t entirely necessary from my point of view.  However, that is a minor complaint against what is by all other accounts a staggering film.

EDIT: Also, Aaron Eckhardt and Denis Leary could be twins.

Today I Learned…

…that Woody Allen has more combined Oscar nominations for acting, directing, and writing (21) than anyone else in history.

This was Final Jeopardy! from an episode that aired a few weeks ago that I just watched today as part of my training for my audition in a few weeks(!)… my original thought was Clint Eastwood, but I changed it to Allen at the last second.  None of the contestants got it — two of them guessed John Huston (a good guess), and one guessed Orson Welles (another decent guess).

Further Reading…