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June 02, 2008

Where there's smoke


Fire it up!

Actually, there were two fires on Sunday -- a massive one that engulfed cityscapes and historic backdrops on the Universal backlot and another when Seth Rogen and James Franco hit the Gibson Amphitheater stage during the MTV Movie Awards and lit up a "fake fatty joint." (See evidence in photo.)

Both still seem to be smoldering today. The cause of the destructive Universal fire is still being investigated, as is the genesis of the "joke" from the two "Pineapple Express" stars. Franco, in his defense, insists it was MTV's idea to arm him and his co-presenter with fake weed to play off their stoner personas in the upcoming comedy. (None of us at the venue knew this at the time, but the TV camera panned wide during this scene for the folks at home. Someone apparently had a change of heart about this bit.)


Even in a heavy in-the-know industry crowd, the joke didn't fare too well. "Pineapple Express" already has buzz, if you will, because it's another sire of the Apatow legacy. But Franco and Rogen's characters as standouts, recognizable for these roles? Not so much.

Then again, the whole event was fueled, as it usually is, by self-promotion -- everyone who has a movie coming up or a record dropping had ample opportunity for a plug ("Free advertising!" said Will Ferrell, as he stumped for "Step Brothers" during his few minutes at the mic to give out an award).

Further examples: The show's host, Mike Myers, got in two plugs for "The Love Guru" within the first few minutes of the live telecast. Adam Sandler, who picked up a career achievement award, had huge visibility days before the release of his latest comedy, "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," and Coldplay performed the first live version of the title track from "Viva la Vida," their record dropping later this month.

Still, there were some "high" lights. Johnny Depp, not once but twice, surprising the audience by coming from backstage to accept awards for "Sweeney Todd" (best villain) and "Pirates" (best comedic performance). Myers reuniting with Dana Carvey for a "Wayne's World" segment. And a slightly long but darn funny sketch with Downey, Ben Stiller and Jack Black that involved a lot of abuse for the latter, sometimes while he was wearing a giant panda head.

Check MTV this week if you missed it last night. Chances are the show will be on a near continuous loop.


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Joey Nader

Is it 4:20 yet? Sooooo 2 The MTV Movie Awards....Seth Rogan & James Franco were armed with a "Fake Fatty"???? Were they also armed with "Fake Doritos", "Fake Twinkies"? & "Fake Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia"????? I'm just saying.....Munchies......Pizza......Mmmmm


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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