The 2018 Sammy Awards – Part I

It’s Awards Season, and y’all know what that means!! Welcome to the 8th annual Sammy Awards, the world’s quirkiest faux awards show. The Sammys are an irreverent yet respectful look back at the people, places, & things that shaped the past year. If The Sammy Awards were to be broadcast on television I think a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon would be the way to go for a variety of reasons. As always many of the nominees aren’t in attendance and there are no acceptance speeches. Our show isn’t a neurotic, pompous, smug snoozefest like The Oscars or The Grammys, but we do take our task a bit more seriously than anything you’ll see on MTV.

 

To host this year’s program we have procured the services of British comedian Michael McIntyre, the host of Michael  McIntyre’s Big Show on the BBC. For those of you in America & elsewhere that may be unfamiliar with Mr. McIntyre’s wit & charm there are plenty of very funny videos available online that highlight just why we are so pleased to have him as this year’s host of The Sammys.

 

After an amusing opening monologue from our host it is time for the first award of the evening. To present we are thrilled to welcome to the stage an award winning actor & musician who is no stranger to awards shows. Please welcome the star of such big screen classics as Planes, Trains, & Automobiles, Father of the Bride, and Three Amigos…Steve Martin!! And the nominees are:

 

 

Favorite Movie

 

A Futile and Stupid Gesture

Not so much a biopic as a satire of biopics, Futile tells the story of Doug Kenney, the criminally overlooked comic genius behind National Lampoon magazine, as well as Animal House and Caddyshack, two of the most beloved comedy films of all time. SNL alum Will Forte gives an oddly poignant performance as Kenney, who…like so many outwardly funny people…was deeply insecure & emotionally fragile. You’ll see a bunch of well-known faces portraying even more famous people who were in Kenney’s orbit, and the whole movie has a tongue-in-cheek, self-referential vibe. Futile doesn’t take itself seriously at all, but perhaps it should’ve. It wasn’t released in theaters but is instead a Netflix movie, and the production value is notably…economical. It’s a solidly entertaining story, but one must understand…without Doug Kenney we would have never had National Lampoon or probably Saturday Night Live, some of the greatest comedy films of all time wouldn’t have existed, & several legendary careers might not have ever gotten off the ground. His life probably deserved a bigger budget.

 

Blockers

John Cena, Leslie Mann, & MadTV alum Ike Barinholtz star as helicopter parents trying desperately to stop their three daughters from following thru on a sex pact on prom night. The prom night sex thing is an overdone movie trope, but this is a fresh angle that provides a few laughs. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with the not-so-subtle message that parents are intrusive & out-of-touch losers while kids have everything under control, but I assume it’s intended to be some kind of feminist empowerment poppycock. In general Blockers is mildly entertaining but ultimately forgettable.

 

Ocean’s 8

Speaking of feminist empowerment…

The Ocean’s franchise is now out of the hands of Clooney, Pitt, Damon, & their band of Merry Men, handed off in this “sequel” to Sandra Bullock and a crew of ladies that she assembles for a jewelry heist. I love the Ocean’s movies and have no issue with spinning it off in this fashion, but the execution lacks…something. The cast is…okay, although it certainly doesn’t measure up to their predecessors. The heist goes a little too smoothly so the story lacks any kind of tension, and the motivation for it is uninspiring. I’m disappointed that the plot has Danny Ocean dead, because fans of the previous films would like to imagine he & wife Tess living the good life and enjoying the millions that he stole over the years. I kept expecting George Clooney to make a surprise experience since faking his death seems like something Danny would do, but he never showed up. Perhaps they’re saving that twist for future films.

 

Uncle Drew

NBA star Kyrie Irving, along with retired basketball players Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, & Nate Robinson, portray geriatric former street ballers who missed out on their shot at glory years ago but are now recruited by a down-on-his-luck store clerk to return to NY City’s famed Rucker Park to help win the big tournament. I had rather low expectations for the film but was pleasantly surprised. Irving might actually have a future in acting when he’s done playing hoops.

 

Show Dogs

This movie wasn’t on my radar until a neighbor of mine suggested it, but it is acceptably entertaining. The story follows a cop who goes undercover at a dog show to bust an exotic animal smuggler. It is a live action film, but all of the dogs “talk”, voiced by folks like Shaquille O’Neal , Ludacris, American Idol alum Jordin Sparks, & RuPaul. There was some controversy about a scene where a dog’s…sensitive area…is…ummm…”handled”…by a dog show judge, which I guess is what actually happens at those events. The movie was eventually edited, but I saw it before all of that occurred and didn’t think anything of it.

 

Night School

Hollywood may not allow Kevin Hart to host the Oscars (because of ‘homophobic” comments & tweets…what we used to call jokes…some from a decade ago), but he always seems to star in atleast one of two mildly amusing movies every year. This time around he portrays a thirtysomething high school dropout who is compelled to attend night school & get his GED. Hilarity ensues, or atleast a few sporadic chuckles.

 

A Star Is Born

Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper headline the latest remake of a tried & true cinematic formula, with notable supporting performances from Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, & Andrew Dice Clay. Cooper also directs, and he seems to have a knack for it. The concert scenes really provide a sense of the energy boost one feels from the combination of a live crowd & amped up music. I’ve said for years that Gaga doesn’t need crazy costumes & an outrageous persona…she’s a lovely woman with a beautiful & powerful voice. Not only does the film prove it, but it also kind of pokes fun at that exact contrast.

 

Tag

Based on a true story about a group of childhood buddies who’ve continued the same game of Tag well into adulthood. It’s a unique premise that makes the movie feel like one we’ve not seen before, which is cool.

 

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

I loved the first two Hotel Transylvania films, but with this third entry I kind of feel like the story has run its course. Sandler, Samberg, Selena Gomez, Buscemi, Spade, & all the rest return to lend their voices to now familiar characters, and they are joined by Kathryn Hahn as a mysterious ship’s captain with whom Dracula becomes smitten.  Not a bad movie…but not great either.

 

Christopher Robin

Winnie the Pooh’s human friend is now all grown up and living the humdrum & downtrodden adult life, complete with job pressures & a failing marriage. When Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, et al re-enter his life Christopher is at first annoyed & exasperated, but he eventually remembers his carefree & happy childhood. It’s a really cute film and I expect a sequel or two or three.

 

The Christmas Chronicles

When I first saw the trailer online I got the vibe that this movie might be rather lame, but I was pleasantly surprised. Kurt Russell stars in the Netflix original as Santa Claus like we’ve never seen Santa Claus. When two kids facing their first Christmas without their father decide to stay up to see The Jolly Old Elf in action they inadvertently threaten Christmas for the entire world and must spend the night helping St. Nick save the holiday. The story is fresh, Russell is engaging, & the kids are alright. I’m not sure it’ll become a beloved yuletide tradition or even spawn a sequel, but it’s a fun little Christmas distraction.

 

Like Father

Kelsey Grammer stars as the estranged father of a Type A workaholic daughter who is ditched at the altar. He ends up accompanying her on the vacation that was supposed to be her honeymoon and the two repair their damaged relationship. This is another Netflix film, and I have to opine that I am impressed with the original content that they are offering.

 

The Grinch

It’s better than the live action Jim Carrey atrocity from almost two decades ago, but doesn’t measure up to the original half hour special produced back in the 1960’s. In this latest incarnation of a familiar story The Grinch isn’t so much of a monster with a brain full of spiders & termites in his soul as much as he is an introverted, hypersensitive, antisocial hermit, and Cindy Lou Who is the daughter of a stressed out & overworked single mother. Whoville is a bustling little hotbed of Christmas commerce, though I must say it is depicted beautifully with superb computer animation. This is a cool movie to look at, even if the plot isn’t all that compelling.

 

Holmes & Watson

I’ve been a Sherlockian since junior high school, though admittedly I tend to stick mostly with the original stories and eschew the plethora of modern updates, remakes, reboots, & reimaginings. However, I couldn’t resist a comedic take on the world’s most famous detective from the same crew that brought us Talladega Nights & Step Brothers. Unfortunately for Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly this movie doesn’t measure up to their previous pairings. Is it as bad as its 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes?? I don’t think it is quite that appalling…just dull & uninteresting.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

A Star Is Born. Full disclosure: I have never seen any of the previous versions of this story, but I can’t imagine that the 1976 adaptation starring Barbara Streisand & Kris Kristofferson, the 1954 movie with Judy Garland, or the 1937 original could be any better. Bradley Cooper has proven himself to be a talented & versatile actor, and now he takes things to a different level by adding director, producer, & screenwriter to his resume. The music is superb, and supporting performances by Sam Elliot, Dave Chappelle, & Andrew “Dice” Clay are pitch perfect.

 

 

 

To present our next award we are pleased to welcome three beautiful ladies who have one thing in common…they have all escaped the moral quagmire & career abyss of daytime television’s angriest show, The View. Please welcome the star of 90’s sitcom Full House & its Netflix revival Fuller House, Candace Cameron Bure!! Joining her is a former contestant on Survivor and a former co-host of Fox & Friends…give a warm welcome to Elisabeth Hasselbeck. And finally, she is a former ABC News correspondent and now hosts a podcast called Journeys of Faith…give it up for Paula Faris!! And the nominees are:

 

 

App of the Year

 

Words with Friends

Basically it is Scrabble, and I’ve always loved Scrabble. I’m all about word games rather than shooting/war type games. I haven’t been into it as much this past year as I’d been in the past, but I still play a game or two a couple of times a week.

 

Amazon Music

I haven’t purchased music in years. My tastes are rather eclectic and what I want to listen to depends on my mood, so streaming is the way to go for me. At $8/month it is well worth the price.

 

Spades Plus

I’ve always liked playing card games but throughout my life have had difficulty finding others with which to engage. Of course The Internet has changed all of that, and in 2018 I revived my love of Spades. Most of the time I find the game very relaxing. It’s usually the first thing I do after I get home & settle down to chill out, and it has become a nice late night time waster that has taken the place of the comedy shows that I used to watch after the local news. Occasionally the game can be frustrating…doubly so if I’m stuck with a partner who has no clue how to play or when I’m just not getting good cards. Sometimes…because everyone is anonymous & no one knows each other…it is a bit too easy for people to hurl insults & use foul language. However, all things considered, I have enjoyed the hours I’ve spent playing the game immensely, and I’m glad I stumbled upon this particular app.

 

Facebook Messenger

I think Messenger has become more useful than Facebook itself. The direct line of communication is much more efficient than even a phone call.

 

Amazon

Every once in awhile I have some disposable income and decide to go on a book buying binge. When that mood strikes the Amazon app is a lifesaver, because if I’m in the bookstore at the local mall and see something I want I can very easily verify that I can get it much cheaper online and have it delivered to my door in a couple of days. Thanks to the Amazon app I’ve saved a significant amount of money, and negatively impacted the bottom line of the mall bookstore.

 

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Spades Plus. To date I have played nearly 2600 games, and that’s in just a few months!! I am absolutely addicted. Sometimes I have to make myself stop playing so I can get some sleep at night or do something productive during the day, but mostly it’s just a fun activity to do while I have a few moments of downtime. I enjoy the strategy and the small element of risk. Sometimes I wish my partners were a bit more savvy and my opponents less obnoxious, but those issues haven’t deterred my enjoyment of the game thus far.

 

 

 

 

This seems like the appropriate place to take a break. Please join us soon for Part II of the 2018 Sammy Awards!!

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