Here they are again. Random, disorganised, informed by personal prejudice…just how you like it. Yes you do. YES, you DO!
Right, now that that’s established, are you all sitting comftybold two square on your botties? Then I’ll begin…
2009 Boomtown Rap Free-to-air TV Awards: The BR Bogeys
Pet Semetary Award: Hey Hey It’s Saturday. Whose idea was it to dig this rotting cadaver up, give it mouth-to-mouth and send it lurching back to TV land? I never could understand the popularity of Hey Hey even back in its halcyon days, but what do I know – exhuming it was a ratings winner. Daryl Somers proved there is plenty to eat in the afterlife. Other than that, what to say except thank God for the blackface ‘Red Faces’ skit – anything that riles Harry Connick Jnr gets my tick of approval.
Family Show of the Year: John Safran’s Race Relations. This is confessional comedy taken to its limits (until the next Safran outing). You’ve got to hand it to the guy – more outrageous and courageous than The Chaser, he is an intelligent yet admirably immature and psychologically under-developed tragic clown, confrontational, iconoclastic, bitter and twisted, but undeniably funny in that hysterical should-I-laugh-or-cry kinda way. Melding bad taste, sexual frustration, a massive Electra Complex and a multitude of other personal hang-ups and complexes, plus more Jewish-based angst and confusion than Woody Allen ever dreamt of, he manages to turn the whole dysfunctional mess into rollicking good family entertainment. Panty sniffing, stropping over a pic of Obama in the service of donating his Jewish wad to a Palestinian sperm bank, tongue-pashing the mothers of his distressed ex-girlfriends while they bear squealing witness, getting into some heated foreplay with a middle-aged male sex tourist in Thailand while masquerading as a ladyboy (surely the ugliest in history) and – the grand finale – sampling Christianity by having himself crucified in Manila at Easter. What more could you ask for? Forget The Wiggles. Set ‘em down in front of Johnny Safran, have a good laugh together – just mum, dad and the kiddies – then discuss…
Best Drama: Dexter. I dunno why this show doesn’t have more than a cult following. A psychopath serial killer vigilante who tortures then dismembers his victims (including his bro) and dumps them at sea? Who turns on his best (and only) mate and applies the same treatment to him? Who burns his mad alcoholic lover to death? Who fakes his love for his girlfriend and her kids so he can marry her for ulterior motives? Who constantly lies to his sister, his workmates, everyone he has anything to do with? Yet, whom you like enormously and pump for every time he stalks a new victim, urging him on to his ritualistic kill – now characterisation like that takes class! Brilliantly written, psychologically astute, leavened with macabre humour, ingeniously plotted, well-acted, the second series was as enthralling as the first. Is a third season in the offing? I bloody hope so.
Disappointment of the Year: Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities. The first Underbelly series was a beauty – edgy Aussie gangster fare with plenty of quality violence and sex and some first-rate acting. This was nowhere near as good. Thank the lawd for Anna Hutchinson’s mamms and the bounteous camera time they were sensibly allotted. The rest was shite.
Best TV Ad Campaign of the Year: The Coopers ads in the Rockwiz breaks featuring Peter Rowsthorn and Colin Lane
Worst TV Ad Campaign: The SGIO ‘Unworry’ ads. Unclever, ungrammatical, unintelligible. And if you find me harsh, have a look at Dick’s post over at The Dullsvillain.
Give ‘em Muck Award: Packed To The Rafters. Yeah, I know it scored well in the ratings and the Logies (the Logies…hahahaha) – and that’s the point. What we have here is just another demo that public taste is dire. The writing has never been this show’s strong point, but sheisse, how desperate did they get this year? Menopausal pregnancies, a long-lost druggie granny with AIDS turning up outta nowhere, silly Nathan getting caught in the bathroom polishing by his wife then rooting his work colleague instead of merely fantasising over her… The big challenge, so far unmet, is how to give Jessica Marais’ character something more to do than show up looking pouty and whoo-mama. Whatever, I’m out. The writers can have Dave turn gay and marry Warnie for all I care. (PS: I only watch it because I’m habitually so bloody late getting dinner ready and can’t concentrate on anything worth watching while shovelling fuel into me boiler-room – have to make a resolution to eat earlier in 2010, so mealtimes don’t coincide with this pap).
Glad To See You Go Go Go Go G’bye Award: Rove Live. The best thing about the show this year was that Rove finally wound it up. Don’t do a Hey Hey on us – dead is dead.
Wanna See You Go Go Go Go G’bye Award: Good News Week. Paul McDermott has lost his rage and his monologues their lethal glint. And what’s with Mikey Robbins? Every time my vacant channel-surfing lands me on this show, he’s wearing another silly hat and looking about pleadingly for laughs. Once at the cutting edge, these guys are now comedy establishment. Get outta the way and let the new generation through.
Most Irritating Compere: James O’Loghlin (The New Inventors). Even less funny than Rove, but still he persists with the groanable gags. Can’t someone at ABC take the axe to this gobbler?
Best Cooking Show: Barry Vera’s Feast India (with an honorary mention going to Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam). Vera is not the most magnetic personality, but this was an informative, in-depth, no-nonsense look into regional Indian street food that I found fascinating. Further, it was done respectfully. None of the “lemme take over and show you how it’s done” nonsense of tools like Gary Rhodes. And OK, maybe it was a repeat, but I missed it first time around. Besides, the door was wide open for Barry V. when my fave from last year, The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook, migrated across to pay TV (godammit!). Masterchef Australia was compelling viewing, but too contrived to come into serious consideration for this most prestigious of awards. The Rap takes no prisoners, baby. As for Jamie, Nigella, Ramsey etc – sick to the gills of the lot of yas.
Celebrity Chef Tosser Of the Year: Heston Blumenthal (Heston’s Feasts). I was open to the idea of molecular gastronomy. I really was. Even wrote a blog in support of it (see Molecular Gastronomy – Myth-busting and Matchmaking at Food’s New Frontier). But that was before I watched Blumenthal in action. If this indulgent, pretentious, grandiose, ludicrously patriotic, narcissistic, dawg-faced pommy penishead is one of the world’s foremost exponents of molecular gastronomy – and that’s his reputation – you can take the stupid concept and scrape it into the swing-top. Sure, you tune in for a gawk out of much the same freakshow-fascination that draws you to, say, chicks-with-dicks mags, and granted, the food history aspect of the show is compelling, but dormouse lollipops? Sperm whale vomit? Hybrid beasts of animal parts stitched together? Fermented fish guts? Deep-fried pig nipples? Come ON. Whatever this stuff tastes like, it’s tasteless! Culinary genius? More like gimmicky, try-hard avant-garde toss. The herds of silly yuppy foodie types will wow and oh-yeah regardless, no doubt scrambling over each other to secure a booking at The Fat Duck, but I say take pause, you dedicated followers of fashion. Consider for a moment the credibility of a bloke who insists that the Poms taught the French the fine art of cooking! Flash forward 20 years and this crap will be a parenthetical curiousity of early 21st C cuisine, something to roll your eyes about and deny you ever took seriously.
Most Unlikely TV Chef: Sean Connolly (My Family Feast). Whoever suggested that poor Connolly was TV material should be submitted to Heston Blumenthal for dismemberment, exotic scientific kitchen treatment and reassembly as part of some molecular gastronomy cannibal feast (now there’s a boundary for you to push through, penishead). Not only is Connolly’s manner painfully awkward and halting, but in every episode he joins his featured family in their traditional national dancing – and never a more embarrassed and rhythmically challenged “dancer” there was. It’s truly squirm-inducing to watch. His confidence is so low that in one episode a Vietnamese woman jokes that he is “very handsome”, to which he replies stammeringly, in all earnestness: “Thanks very much, I appreciate that.” Apparently he’s one of Sydney’s top chefs. Sean, mate, stick to the kitchen – your own. Please. When you get in front of the cameras, you invoke the ghost of one of my heroes of times past, Dr Zachary Smith from Lost In Space, and his catchphrase “oh the pain, the pain…”
Garden Gnome of The Year: Costa (Costa’s Garden Odyssey). There are times when only a picture will do:
The BR Movie Awards for 2009
Best Movie: Nah, I’m not doing this. There were too many great movies this year to pick one out. Besides, how do you compare, say, Balibo with The Merchant Of Venice, The Hurt Locker with I’ve Loved You So Long or indeed, pick between any of these? Well, you don’t – not validly, at least. So, in alphabetical order, here are the best of the best I’ve seen in this extraordinary year of cinema – all inseparably brilliant in my view. With a few exceptions, I’ve refrained from accompanying the selections with comments, since most I’ve already reviewed in depth (click on the linked titles to read the reviews).
Best Drama: Balibo, I’ve Loved You So Long, Samson and Delilah, The Hurt Locker, The Merchant Of Venice, Up In The Air
Just Missed: An Education, Cold Souls, Julie and Julia, $9.99, Revolutionary Road
Just Missed ‘Just Missed’: Nine, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (for the final scene alone), The Secret Life Of Bees
Funniest Movie: Whatever Works
Just Missed: The Hangover
Worst Movie of 2009: Why try to pick out the loudest bark among these dogs? They’re all shite, as far as I’m concerned. So, in alphabetical order:
Closed For Winter, Funny People, Lucky Country, The Boat That Rocked, The Brothers Bloom, The French Kissers
Just Missed: Sister Smile
Best Acting Performance: Anthony LaPaglia as journo Roger East in Balibo, Al Pacino as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice,
Just Missed: Carey Mulligan in An Education, Paul Giamatti in Cold Souls, Dakota Fanning in The Secret Life Of Bees
Most Over-rated: Bright Star. I didn’t review this one and I’ve got a bit bottled up, so here goes. The mainstream critics proclaimed this film a return to form for director Jane Campion, the likes of Mark Naglazas and Margaret Pomeranz describing it as “exquisite.” Well, they got the “ex” prefix right, but I’d replace “quisite” with “cruciating.” OK, an abundance of arty idyllic nature scenes is befitting of the Romantic period and may be excusable, but how much of unconsummated Keats and Fanny gambolling through flowery spring fields, exchanging coy glances, hand-brushing, sighing through adjoining walls, sending each other pining looks, reading verse aloud etc etc can audiences today put up with before herking into their popcorn? I dunno exactly, but way less than Ms Campion doles out here! Abbie Cornish almost saved it, but she was always fighting a losing battle against the director’s self-conscious artiness and the slow-moving expression it took in this tedious piece. No whinge would be complete without targeting Keats’ roommate, who was one of the most irritating movie characters of 2009 – too buffoonish and annoying for any real, live, genius poet to abide. I didn’t buy Keats, either – way too wimpy and effete for the sort of grand passion that lights up his poetry. It was a blessed relief when he finally succumbed to consumption (what else?), signalling that The End was nigh. The most moving – actually, only moving – part of the movie was the voiceover recitation of Keats’ beautiful “Ode To A Nightingale” during the final credits.
Shrinking Man of the Year: Peter Jackson
That’ll do. Time to move on to the more general category of awards, upon which I’ve bestowed a new title for this year. I’m talkin’ ’bout…
The BR Bitchfest Awards
The Great Splatsby Award: Mal Turnbull
New Turkey On The Block Award: Tony Abbott
Hyena of the Year: PM Rudd (with an honourable mention going to apparently permanently blissed-out First Lady Theresa Rein). Kevin, maaate, doesn’t it hurt fixing yer mouth in that smiley position day in day out? Relax. We all know you’re really a foul-tempered prick. Why bother to mask it? Just keep givin’ ‘em bland, maintain yer incomprehensible rhetoric and legalese phrasing, chuck in a line of Mandarin every so often – and above all, trust in the Libs’ incompetence. There’s nothing to hate about a cardboard cutout, and plenty to hate about Tony Abbott. You’ll piss it in! Go on then…relax. Frown! Glare! Shout! Anything but that INANE FUCKING CHEESY!
Cuddly Panda Bears Of The Year: The Chinese Government. Only one of numerous executions in China this year has received any publicity in the Western press – that of a British national convicted of drug smuggling. Did it matter to the Chinese that he was a nutcase, used as a mule while harbouring some delusion of pop stardom in China? Shit no – death by lethal injection was their response to pleas for mercy from his family and the British PM. These guys ooze milk of human kindness. I wish do-gooder whingers like Amnesty International would just shut up and leave them alone. I mean, if it wasn’t for China, we’d be in recession. Don’t thank God for the ‘lucky country’ – thank the PRC. They’re the teat of the world…and we’re sucking on ’em for all we’re worth (literally). Stuff human rights!
The Crash and Burn Award: Tiger Woods
Hubby of the Year: Tiger Woods
Outstanding Effort in Promoting Human Biodiversity: Tiger Woods
9-Iron Shot of the Year: Tiger’s wife, Elin Nordegren. With consummate power and precision she whacked the lad straight into plastic surgery with his own 9-iron, and will score herself 300 million in prize money when the divorce settlement comes through. Beats the hell outta winning the American Open…
Cold Feet of the Year: Michael Jackson, who checked out just before his London farewell concert tour.
Farce Of The Year: The Copenhagen climate conference. Whether you’re a believer or sceptic, this was always going to be a monumental wank and a massive waste of taxpayers’ bucks. Entirely predictably, it came to bugger all. Entirely predictably, it was the Chinese who scuttled it. Whatever, the bar was always set too low. Take a bow o world leaders, on sacrificing an opportunity to make a difference to the future of the planet on the altar of ego and political spin.
Wishful Thinking Award: The judges who ludicrously awarded Obama the Nobel Peace Prize. These morons have shot the cred of the Peace Prize to smithereens – as did Obama when within months of being awarded the Prize he announced he’d be sending an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Keep on banging your countrymen’s heads against that brick wall, Obama, just as your despised predecessor did. More imagination required, Mr President sir (and perhaps the humility and open-mindedness to listen to those military experts and local Afghan and Pakistani authorities who are warning of the futility of the current strategy). Don’t get me wrong. I’m bloody glad Obama was elected, but let’s not kid ourselves – he’s shown nothing much so far to justify the adulation. Big on talk, not so on walk. The Nobel Peace Prize is in recognition of outstanding action in the cause of world peace, not for being a symbol of American redemption or a fine orator.
The Alex Harvey “Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Gang Bang” Award: Matthew Johns
The NFL Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Gang Twang Award: Well, youse boys know who yas are…
Michael Hutchence Award for Autoerotic Asphyxiation: David Carradine, found hanged in his Thailand hotel room with a rope tied around his neck and genitals. He was on the verge of completing a movie coincidentally titled “Stretch”.
Foot In Mouth of The Year Award: Prince Philip. He’s done it again. The Queen asked blinded British war hero Stephen Menary how much sight he had left, but before he could answer, the Duke of Edinburgh intervened with the observation: “Not a lot, judging by the tie he is wearing.” Just outstanding.
Blonde Bimbo Comment of the Year: Kellie Crawford, ex-Hi Five, explaining why she posed for Ralph mag: “…it was something I did for myself to remind myself that I am a woman.”
Now just what made you forget that, Kell?
Blonde Himbo Comment of the Year: Kell’s husband, Addam (yes, double ‘d’), who observed sagely “If this is going to make you feel like a woman and feel like I see you every day, then do it.” Errrrrrrm…que?
Journo Phrasing Of The Year Award: Unfortunately, I couldn’t track down the name of the scribe from watoday.com.au responsible for this effort, so if anyone knows their identity please pass on my hearty congratulations:
PS: I was a little disappointed that the article did not make mention of the damage done to the twin brother.
And finally, the Big One…
THE FUCK YOU AWARD FOR 2009
This was a dilemma this year. To qualify for this prestigious award, the winner needs to be an object of current contempt, inspiring a spontaneous and extreme eruption of vitriol. I’ve tried, I really have, but the keys won’t move by themselves this year. It’s too much work to do it all myself. Of course, there are plenty of worthy contenders:
…oh, the list could go on, brethren and sistren, the list could go on. But why dwell in negativity any longer than absolutely necessary? Let us look ahead to a New Year full of potential and promise, and bid farewell to ALL the nominees above with a raised middle finger and a primal cry of catharsis and outrage on behalf of all good people everywhere – FARK YOOOU!
Happy New Year.