The Best Place to Watch the Awards Show

The San Diego International Film Festival started their Film Insider Series last week with The Hummingbird Project, which was an interesting movie that had Jesse Eisenberg, who played the tech tycoon Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, playing another guy that has lofty goals of getting rich with an internet idea. The film also starred one of the most underrated actors working today — Alexander Skarsgard (The East, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and What Maisie Knew, are movies everyone should seek out).

It’s always a blast at the Insider Series to catch up with movie lovin’ folks on the patio at the ArcLight in La Jolla, with lots of delicious food and drinks. I was a bit worried with the rain, and some of the road closures that day. Yet none of that deterred a big crowd from showing up. It was a full house. The food and drink was just served inside instead. The Craft Pizza is always a hit. My wife had a slice that had mushrooms and ricotta and loved it. I stuck with the pepperoni. Hey…I’m a movie critic, not a food critic. Otherwise I would’ve tackled a slice with those other types of toppings.

Everyone went nuts over the set-up The Melting Pot had. I thought cheese fondue would make a yellowy mess over my dress shirt. But they left the cheese back at their La Jolla restaurant. It was an incredible chocolate sauce they had, with a variety of fruits and pastries to dip in them. I went with the brownies, Rice Krispie treats, and cookies. I put some coconut on it as well. The guy next to me went nuts with…well, the nuts and crushed cookies.

There would be more desserts after the film, as they always have Cravory cookies, and there’s always lots of champagne. That’s after Tonya Mantooth does a Q&A with someone associated with the film, or an expert in the field. It’s always interesting to hear from actors, producers, directors, or experts in a field, who can dissect aspects of the movie and take questions from the crowd. If you want to become a part of the Film Insider Series, you can get information here:

I caught up with a guy named Mike, who I met a decade ago at a party a mutual movie=loving friend of ours had. I always tell him he looks like William Shatner. He had an actor buddy with him, who I had met at a New Year’s Eve party a few months ago. We were both talking about how Green Book was our favorite movie of the year, and we’re hoping it wins the “best picture” Oscar.

As he was leaving, I asked if he’d be watching the awards show at the event the SDiFF puts on. He said they haven’t decided if they were going or not. And, for those of you that haven’t decided where you’re going to watch the awards, I highly recommend you attend this shindig.

What you pay to get in goes to a great cause — FOCUS Impact Educational programs. And, where else are you going to get food from chefs from places like The Marine Room, Pillbox Tavern, Oceana Coastal Kitchen, and more? My favorites are the desserts from Mmm Cakes. Never has a name been better suited for a business.

Now, at Super Bowl parties I can never get any of the food, because I don’t want to miss any of the commercials. At awards shows, the commercials aren’t anything special. That’s my time to mingle and eat.

There’s always bars in several locations of the mansion serving up the booze (champagne is my drink of choice at awards shows). There are lots of fun things to do, too. You stroll up on the red carpet when you arrive, feeling like you’re one of the A-listers. The only thing missing is someone grabbing my arm and saying, “Mr. Board, tell us who you’re wearing!”

You can enter the pool to try and pick the winners. I won the big cash prize a few years ago, but I feel that’s not fair. As a movie critic, I’ve literally seen every movie that was nominated (including some of the boring shorts and foreign films). This year I’ll refrain from participating, giving you others a chance to take the cake.

Oh, and speaking of cake, did I mention MMM Cakes? But I digest.

There’s nothing like a big party at a ritzy place in Rancho Santa Fe, with lots of interesting people and delicious food.

I usually have pairs of movie tickets on me, too. If anyone comes up and tells me they came to the party because they read this or heard me talk about it on the radio — the tickets are yours.

Let’s root for Green Book to win together. But I have to warn you — if you tell me you actually liked Roma, I not only won’t give you the movie tickets, I might push you into the pool.

For information on how to get your tickets, click here:

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