The 2008 LAMMYS

Yesterday, Fletch over at The Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) finally lifted the curtain from the mysterious project he's hinted at for the last three (!) weeks. And underneath? The 2008 LAMMYS -- Grammy-style awards for the best and... the best of the rest. Here's a dollop of the categories lifted directly from the LAMB site.

Proving you can still enter a competition without getting heckled by Tibetan protesters

Best Blog The self-explanatory big kahuna.

Best Theme
This could be anything, from a blog devoted solely to sound editing to a blog devoted to the work of Clint Howard.

Most Prolific Who makes you wonder how they sleep at night? Time to let them know their never-ending quest is worthwhile.

Best Use of Widgetology Anyone can place a number of widgets on their site, but the right mix and placement of widgets can turn a boring site into a great one. Who does it best?

Best Use of Technology (Alternative Media)
This award is for the person who thinks the best outside the literary box, from effective use of video to photo manipulation to...well, you name it.

Most Likely to Get Paid for Blogging
Our version of "Most Likely to Succeed."

This contest should be great fun for all current LAMB members but everyone else will have to drool from the outside like Tiny Tim slobbering from a window since nominations and voting are limited to those in the club. If you want to be included in future events then scoot your butt over to the Large Association of Movie Blogs and contact Fletch for the initiation rites.


Suzanne Stone Maretto Needs Your Help! Again!

It's Round Two in the Sirens of the LAMBs contest wherein The Spoon's sponsored femme fatale, Suzanne Stone (To Die For), takes on Kyra (The Chronicles of Riddick).

Head over to the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) for the full match up, but here's a quick preview: Suzanne ensnares Kyra in a shopping frenzy gone sexily lethal while Kyra invokes her inner survivor to outlast Suzanne.

Voting ends Saturday afternoon so make certain you go vote now before Suzanne Stone has to teach you a lesson.

The Rolling Stones star in Shine a Light

Halfway through Shine a Light a reporter sticks his microphone towards Mick Jagger's baby-smooth face and asks the singer if he can imagine performing on stage when he's sixty. Without a hint of humor or cockiness The Rolling Stone's frontman replies, "Easily."

Warning: Staring at Mick Jagger's hips may cause impure dreams

Martin Scorsese inserts many such news clips throughout footage from two of The Stones' performances in New York City's Beacon Theater in late 2006. The result can barely be called a documentary because of its superficial nature that rarely delves deeper than Jagger and the band's wrinkled surface but the film nonetheless succeeds as an energetic tribute to The Stones' endurance and remarkable showmanship.

I can admit that I didn't know much Rolling Stones history walking into the theater and upon leaving I didn't know much more; Shine a Light isn't that kind of movie.

Even calling Shine a Light a movie is a bit of a stretch. The tagline on the film's poster reads "Experience it in IMAX" and "experience" is a far more accurate description of the film. Scorsese mercifully avoids a "Behind the Music" story arc and focuses primarily on the Stones' Beacon Theater performance and for the most part this works just fine, especially if you've never seen the band live and, even if you have, I guarantee that you've never seen them this close before.

Keith Richards looks fabulous for a ninety-four year old guy. Too bad he's actually sixty-four

Jagger, Richards, Watts, and Wood burst off the screen thanks to endlessly creative camera angles and borderline-obscene clarity. The camera work is akin to watching a Stones' live performance on a front row chair sprinkled in fairy dust that can swoop and float across the stage. The level of definition is equally incredible; close ups of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' faces will leave you swearing you've accidentally wandered into a recreation of the moon landing.

But looking great is only one part of the equation and, thankfully, The Stones justify Scorcese's interest and prove they can still bring the noise. The band is loud and exhilarating and Mick Jagger is, bar none, the best sixty-something stage performer out there. He might not have the same vocal strength he used to, but his ability to prance and sing without degenerating into Darth Vader huffing is nearly as superb as his obvious physical conditioning. The man is ripped ten ways from Sunday.

Balancing out Mick Jagger's unnatural sinuous grace is Keith Richards' awkward "dance moves, " which include circling Ronnie Wood like a scuttling crab and flicking guitar picks into the audience. Meanwhile Charlie Watts never fails to look like a five-foot pole resides underneath his buttock and Ronnie Wood does his best Rod Stewart impersonation, but watching each band members' quirks is surprisingly entertaining.

Shine a Light would have been even more entertaining with additional archived footage to inject further texture into the performance. Martin Scorsese obviously wanted to make a film that was loud, fun, and easy to digest but he missed out on an obvious opportunity to give Shine greater staying power.

For example, Keith Richards sings vocals later in the set list. Musically, Richards' performance is the weakest portion of the concert and the film, but Scorsese offsets the lull by inserting more interviews. In one interview he and Ronnie Wood joke about who is the better guitarist and their banter flavors the glowing nods they threw each other while rocking out on stage. In another interview, Richards shies away from discussing his numerous addictions and dangerous lifestyle and credits his survival to luck. These snippets add extra wrinkles to The Rolling Stones' performance and infuse a greater sense of perspective and accomplishment. It's a shame more weren't included.

If you've already seen the Stones live or have watched a true documentary on the band's history then Shine a Light will no doubt prove a redundant experience. But if you've done neither, then do yourself a favor and check out Shine before it leaves theaters because it's almost, but not quite, as good as the real thing.

Head on over to the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) for more sites filled with movie reviews. Tell me them I sent you and you'll probably get kicked out so try to put in a good word for me.


Great Stubble in TV and Film

Dr. Evil once said "there's nothing like a shorn scrotum -- it's breathtaking." Now I don't want to get into a debate about the merits of hairless scrota (that could take hours) but I would like to honor those men who buck the shearing trend and make face whiskers look good.

In no particular order...

Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy) - Without any stubble, Dr. Derek Shepherd is simply a mild-mannered doctor with great hair. Add the grizzle and he's every woman's fantasy: a hottie doctor that she can pretend is also a bad boy. (Dr. Shepherd might actually be a bad boy; I don't know since I've never seen the show, but if I did watch it, it'd be because of the stubble -- and Katherine Heigl).

Kiefer Sutherland (24) - The Kief almost got onto this list with The Lost Boys, but the mullet doesn't age nearly as well as the face whiskers. Fortunately Jack Bauer is man enough to make the cut in between his hectic schedule of saving the country and serving jail time.

Don Johnson (Miami Vice) - Nobody has done more to further the cause of facial stubble while simultaneously retarding America's fashion sense. Don Johnson tried to recreate the magic years later in Nash Bridges but his second biggest mistake was leaving the stubble in the 80s (the biggest mistake was using the name Nash Bridges).

Zachary Quinto (Heroes) - Skylar figures to be one of the less conflicted characters in Heroes (kill, kill, absorb powers!) but Zachary brings "texture" to his role with a truly magnificent five-o-clock shadow. Watching him makes you wish you'd been blessed with such facial-growth powers.

Brett Favre - (NFL - Retired) When Brett Favre retired the NFL lost not only an iconic iron man but also the grizzliest face in the league. I dare you to find a picture of Brett Favruh without any stubble -- that photo does not exist. This man embodies all the qualities that facial stubble stands for with his toughness, recklessness, and never-say-die-ness.

Matthew Fox (Lost) - After watching Dr. Jack Shephard tramp about a mysterious island for the last few years wearing a luxuriant face rug, you might be tempted to chalk the perfect growth up to another strange island power. And then you'd look at Hurley. Jack's natural charisma is greatly enhanced by his scruff that lets his frightened followers know that, despite his Ivy League education and occasional aloofness, he's just as stinky as them.

Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) - I've already expounded Indiana's Greatness here at The Spoon, but it bears repeating that Indy is the pinnacle, nay, the apotheosis, of every-man-ness. He's smart, funny, resourceful, compassionate and he knows how to handle a whip. His man-scruff simply drives home how comfortable he is in his own well-worn shoes. Truly, he is a role model for our times.

Dylan McDermott (Big Shots) - The McDermott take on face stubble manages to combine arrogance and disdain with a playful boyishness. I'm not really certain how he does it, but his character Duncan Collingsworth (the name even sounds pretentious) really should be an unforgivable a-hole but isn't. I think the love-able scruff is a big part of the reason why.

Hugh Laurie (House) - By far the ugliest growth on this list belongs to the character who is possibly the most brilliant. Dr. House understands that the best way to prevent your genius medical abilities from putting off people (remember, he's a teddy bear deep down inside) is to grow a "pubical" concoction on your face. It doesn't look good, which almost made me pull House from this list, but the faux-surly doc would fail to garner much sympathy without the scruff.

That's my personal list for the greatest stubble in TV and film but I'm sure I left out a bunch. Feel free to let me know who your nominations are by commenting below.

Also, check out the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) for a wide variety of, you guessed it, movie blogs about other fun movie topics and possibly even more facial stubble discussions (though I doubt it).