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If the 88th Annual Academy Awards needed a diversity reality check then everybody blew it, including Chris Rock…

Posted on March 2nd, 2016
If the 88th Annual Academy Awards needed a diversity reality check then everybody blew it, including Chris Rock…

by Coop Cooper

In his opening monologue at the 88 Annual Academy Awards, host Chris Rock joked that in the 50’s and 60’s blacks weren’t protesting the Oscars. He explains: “We had real things to protest at the time. They were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won ‘Best Cinematographer’. You know, when your grandmother is swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about Best Documentary or Foreign Short.” The audience – mostly white – laughed loudly and nervously. Were they supposed to laugh? Were we?…

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Now that everyone’s offended, will we ever truly enjoy media again?…

Posted on February 12th, 2016
Now that everyone’s offended, will we ever truly enjoy media again?…

by Coop Cooper

I’ve never appreciated Super Bowl halftime shows very much. To me they always felt like pop-culture pandering to the masses, but it is quite clear a monumental amount of talent and organization goes into the production. When I saw Beyoncé perform with Coldplay and Bruno Mars, I didn’t think much of it other than “That Mars guy knows how to dance” and “Coldplay looks out of place” and “Why is Beyoncé dressed like Michael Jackson during his military uniform phase?” Little did I know Beyoncé was setting off a political firestorm in which many felt her performance was disrespectful towards America’s law enforcement officers by emulating the Black Panthers…






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MR. TURNER is slow, long, sometimes beautiful and it’s on DVD…

Posted on May 8th, 2015
MR. TURNER is slow, long, sometimes beautiful and it’s on DVD…

by Coop Cooper

Arriving this week to DVD is an Academy Award-nominated film which did not get as much hype as the rest. “Mr. Turner”, a biographical drama directed by Mike Leigh, received nominations for cinematography, costume design, original score and production design, although it won none of these categories. With the exception of the score, I’d say it could’ve been a strong contender in three of those categories, but the film simply couldn’t compete with the more interesting of last year’s nominees…






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10 things I learned from this year’s (2015) Academy Awards…

Posted on February 27th, 2015
10 things I learned from this year’s (2015) Academy Awards…

by Coop Cooper

1. Funny actors don’t always make the best hosts. Just because Neil Patrick Harris won a Tony and had a hit TV sitcom doesn’t mean his jokes or timing are going to work. His racial references were clumsy. Even more cringe-worthy was an ill-timed joke about an award-winner’s dress after she dedicated her win to her son who committed suicide.

2. There will be an upset or two. I thought for sure Eddie Redmayne was the last actor in the category who would win Best Actor but I was sorely mistaken. Likewise did I underestimate the Academy’s love for “Birdman” which won best picture, nearly shutting out “Boyhood” from all other categories except for Best Supporting Actress. Additionally, I was very pleased “Whiplash” won Editing and Sound Mixing along with a well deserved win for J. K. Simmons as Best Supporting Actor…






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2015 (87th) Academy Award predictions…

Posted on February 20th, 2015
2015 (87th) Academy Award predictions…

by Coop Cooper

The 2015 Academy Awards will air this Sunday on ABC at 6pm (Central). Here are my predictions (potential winners are underlined)…






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What we learned from the 2014 Oscars…

Posted on March 7th, 2014
What we learned from the 2014 Oscars…

by Coop Cooper

Now that the 2014 Academy Awards are over and the Oscars have been handed out, there were a few things I noticed about this year’s ceremony that confirmed some of my suspicions about Hollywood and the Oscars telecast:

Choosing the right host is risky – Ellen did fine, mostly benign jokes – except for suggesting Liza Minnelli was a man in drag. Seth McFarland was funny but offended EVERYBODY. Whoopi was awful and offensive in general the second time she hosted. Steve Martin and Billy Crystal were always a lot of fun. For a good laugh, google “Worst Oscar Hosts” to find out why some people might never be invited to host ever again…






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2014 Academy Award controversies…

Posted on February 7th, 2014
2014 Academy Award controversies…

by Coop Cooper

At this time each year the Academy voters cast their ballots to determine which nominees will win the coveted gold statue and each year controversies threaten to factor into that process. Here are a couple of famous examples: In 1999, only half of the award attendees stood and clapped for producer Elia Kazan when he received a Lifetime Achievement Award due to his turning over names of colleagues to the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952 resulting in many of them being ‘blacklisted’ as suspected communists. In 2002, Roman Polanski won an Oscar for Best Director for “The Pianist” despite being wanted in America for a statutory rape charge dating back to 1977, discouraging him from entering the country to attend the ceremony.

This year, new controversies could once again overshadow the awards themselves…






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2013 Academy Awards predictions…

Posted on February 21st, 2013
2013 Academy Awards predictions…

The 85th Academy Awards (aka ‘The Oscars’) will air Sunday the 24th at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific. Here are The Small Town Critic’s predictions for the winners of the major award categories…

Best Picture nominees: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

Prediction: Argo. Spielberg’s “Lincoln” looked to be the favorite at first but the outrage of Ben Affleck’s omission from the “Best Directing” category has openly energized support for “Argo” and many predict it will run away with “Best Picture” simply for this reason. I’m partial to the highly original “Beasts of the Southern Wild” but it has no chance. Although I think it will lose the Oscar, I think “Django” is the most memorable movie of 2013 and will persist in history as a popular one…






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Are the Oscars still relevant?

Posted on March 20th, 2012
Are the Oscars still relevant?

This year marks the first time in awhile I haven’t written a pre-Oscars article or made a very big deal out of the event. I felt a bit alienated by the awards ceremony this year when they nominated so many films I didn’t care about and snubbed many I loved. Their ultimate choice for Best Motion Picture ended up being “The Artist” which now holds the dubious distinction as the lowest-grossing Oscar winner of all time, simply because so few made the effort to see a black and white silent film. With all this hoopla and very little satisfying payoffs to general audiences, one could beg the question as to whether the Oscars has fallen into a pit of irrelevancy that it may never recover from?






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Academy Award Nominated Films Available on DVD This Month by COOP

Posted on March 8th, 2011
Academy Award Nominated Films Available on DVD This Month by COOP

The 2011 Academy Awards have passed and now it is time for most of the public to finally see the darned movies that won. The majority of the films projected to receive Oscar nominations release in theaters at the very end of the year as to remain fresh in the mind of the voters. Much of the general public completely miss the films in theaters either due to lack of buzz or by the fact that many people (especially in rural areas) rarely make it to the movies anymore. Luckily the DVD, internet and pay-per-view movie market is there to pick up the slack and now you can see many of the current Academy Award winners and nominees on video. No matter your preferred method of movie-viewing (Netflix, Redbox, Blockbuster Online, etc…), you should be able to find nearly all of the below films… READ ARTICLE AT THE CLARKSDALE PRESS REGISTER WEBSITE






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Jay’s Oscar Picks…

Posted on February 27th, 2011
Jay’s Oscar Picks…

Once again, my friendly competitor (and uncle), Jay, has revealed his 2010 Oscar picks. What’s interesting this year is how vastly he and I differ in our prediction strategies. Looks like it’s going to be a real competition this year! En garde, Jay!…






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COOP predicts the 2011 Academy Awards!

Posted on February 26th, 2011
COOP predicts the 2011 Academy Awards!

No nonsense this year. I have not the taste nor the stomach for it. I just hope that James Franco understands the folly of hosting during his own nomination. The acid may dissolve him permanently due to overexposure and he shows no signs of relenting. Don’t push our buttons too hard, Frank…

Besides that, Hi :)…






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10 Most Overrated Movies of 2010 by COOP

Posted on January 18th, 2011
10 Most Overrated Movies of 2010 by COOP

Every year there are several acclaimed films that really rub me the wrong way. It’s not that I don’t agree they are all good, some are and some aren’t, but something about them bugged me and no one can convince me otherwise.

I plan on getting some hate mail for these because they are all popular choices for critics as well as the general public. Hopefully many of you will agree with me on one or more of these because let’s face it, it’s awards season and I’ve got a bad feeling that Inception isn’t going to win a thing despite being the best movie of the year. That sad realization makes this list feel like sweet justice…






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COOP’S TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2010

Posted on January 4th, 2011
COOP’S TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2010

Wow, shooting even a short film takes a lot out of you. Especially if you’re handling the writing, producing, directing, etc… It distracts you from things, such as the website you’ve been building for the past few years.

No, the Small Town Critic site is not defunct, just transitioning to encompass all of my projects, including movie reviews, short films, festival screenings, screenwriting seminars and whatever else I’ve got going on.

To get things on track for the New Year (2011? When did that happen?), here are my top 10 movie pics of the last year…






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MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!): The best of the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL by COOP

Posted on August 18th, 2010
MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter!):  The best of the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL by COOP

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Coop’s most recent MICRO REVIEWS (via Twitter):

I got to conduct some great Q & A’s for some terrific films at the FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL this past weekend. I met some truly gifted filmmakers and inspirational people.

I’d like to thank these special guests for affecting me the most: Cheryl Hines for her big intro, Shirley Jones for classing up the joint with her presence, Marty Ingles for reminding us what this festival is really about, Leeza Gibbons for singling me out with a nice compliment, writer/director Lexi Alexander for the lively discussion, producer/actor Googy Gress for his sincere enthusiasm, the League of S.T.E.A.M. for entertaining us all weekend and motivational speaker/actor Nick Vujicic for the sheer inspiration he gave to us all with his fantastic short film The Butterfly Circus (watch here!).

I’d also like to give big high-fives to all of the coordinators and volunteers for making the festival such a fun and engaging experience. I had a great time bonding with you all.

Finally a big congratulations to producer/actor Joe Russell and writer/actress Casey Strand from the short film “Strawberries” whose engagement I helped orchestrate during one of the more memorable Q & A’s.

I wish I had seen them all but of the ones I did see, here are the films that I felt were the best (in no particular order)…






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ACADEMY AWARDS… How did they do? Not bad… How did I do? Not bad… by COOP

Posted on March 9th, 2010
ACADEMY AWARDS…  How did they do?  Not bad…  How did I do?  Not bad…  by COOP

58%… That’s how I scored in my predictions. Now that may not sound great (I’ve certainly scored better averages), but I’m pleased with this stat for a few reasons…

1. I scored 100% correct in the top 8 categories: Leading Actor, Supporting Actor, Leading Actress, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Editing, Directing and Best Picture. Granted, these were pretty predictable but there was a 50/50 chance of someone else winning in most of those categories.

2. Often, my 2nd choice won the award. I figured “The Young Victoria” would probably win for Costume Design but decided (wrongly) to take a chance on “Coco Before Chanel”. I figured…






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I Predict the Predictable 82nd ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS (and I dare you to beat me) by COOP

Posted on March 3rd, 2010
I Predict the Predictable 82nd ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS (and I dare you to beat me) by COOP

In what looks to be one of the most predictable Oscar races of all time, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made a few changes to their nomination format, but those changes have not ramped up the suspense in many of the categories. For the first time, 10 movies have been nominated for “Best Picture”. While that sounds unorthodox, I believe it’s a perfectly altruistic and fair move to some of those great films that don’t usually get a lot of attention come awards season. Many voters (and the media) have jumped on highly influential bandwagons to champion a select few of the nominees, so the chances for an upset or two seem few and far between. However, in the Academy Awards, upsets do happen and with the changes to the voting system this year, things could get interesting…






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Jay’s Picks for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards: (Nostradamus, eat your heart out.)

Posted on March 1st, 2010
Jay’s Picks for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards: (Nostradamus, eat your heart out.)

A note from Coop: Jay has once again thrown down the gauntlet to declare his annual Oscar picks. With my own queued up and ready to go (you can go ahead and download my picks ballot, but my reasoning behind my choices won’t be posted for another couple of days), he gets first crack at doing the convincing. To download his ballot, go here.

Below are some jpegs of his picks. For a clearer, more readable version, go to the link above to either view or download the ballot…






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OSCAR: MINE ARE WEENERS… A Hopeless Slackass’ Guide to Handicapping the Academy Awards by JAY

Posted on February 24th, 2010
OSCAR: MINE ARE WEENERS… A Hopeless Slackass’ Guide to Handicapping the Academy Awards by JAY

Tis’ the season to see folly.

It never fails. Every year about this time movie studios all along the San Andreas are clamoring to unload their homogenized, “release delayed”, unscreened, should’a-gone-straight-to-DVD dreck onto a movie going public so starved for any semblance of post-tryptophanian entertainment that it doesn’t seem to mind plopping down ten bucks a pop for the cinematic equivalent of a Zippy the Pinhead comic. B-movie sequels, RomCom bomb-athons and shameless hyperfad exploitationals clog our collective movie-going consciousness, leaving us longing for the unrivaled artistry and emotive tour de force of “Dracula vs. Billy the Kid”…






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COOP reports from the 2010 OXFORD (MISSISSIPPI) FILM FESTIVAL

Posted on February 9th, 2010
COOP reports from the 2010 OXFORD (MISSISSIPPI) FILM FESTIVAL

The 7th year of the annual Oxford Film Festival in Oxford, Mississippi kicked off the night of Thursday the 4th by taking over half of the Malco Oxford Studio Cinema and roping an area off for the media, filmmakers and other assorted guests. While I had attended screenings at large festivals during my tenure in Los Angeles, I was only moderately enthused about covering a local one. I figured I’d see a few underwhelming indie flicks and slink on back home to Clarksdale for some light writing and shut-eye. Boy was I ever wrong.






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Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Nightmares Film Festival
2017 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
2017 Oxford Film Festival
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
2017 End of Days Film Festival
2017 Grenada Afterglow Film Festival
2017 Shiver International Film Festival

Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
2012 OTHERFEST
2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

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