I love the Oscars. It’s probably the only awards show that I always make a point of watching, and I can only remember one year in the past ten that I missed it. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what happens, does it? The movies I enjoyed last year are still enjoyable whether they win anything or not, and just because something wins “best picture” doesn’t change anything in the movie itself. Having said that, there is something fun about pulling for the movies you loved, booing the movies you hated and generally taking in all the glamour and glitz that the evening has to offer. It’s even more fun to watch the evening unfold with a group of like-minded friends. I’m looking forward to Sunday night with a group of friends who also enjoy all the fun and stupidity of the Oscars. In preparation, I thought I’d run down the list of the ten nominees and give my two cents on each of them. I don’t think it really matters that I’ve only seen three of them. Working in a library, I’m used to suggesting books that I’ve never opened. There is a misconception out there that librarians get to read all day. I wish that were the case. Wouldn’t that just be the best job in the world? We actually don’t get any “on the job” time to read anything. All of that is on our own time, like everyone else. I like to tell people that I am familiar with the covers of all the new books, and the dust-jacket description if I’m really lucky. Having said that, I am trying to read “a book a week” or thereabouts this year, which would mean I knock off about 50 titles this year. Not sure if I can keep up the pace, but its a goal. One of my secrets: choose short books! (Enjoying Jack Kerouac’s “The Subterraneans” at only 120 pages right now!)
But enough of all that. On to the Movies…
And the nominees are…
Darren Aronofsky’s movies are loved by the Oscars. Last year’s “The Wrestler” case in point. I’ve only seen his “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream” both of which are really hard to watch for different reasons. I put him in the same boat as Paul Thomas Anderson Vincent Cassel always seems to go for the pervy roles, and I’ve got a feeling this movie is no different. I have a feeling I wouldn’t like this film, and if you have a hankering for a good ballet inspired drama, try Robert Altman’s The Company or Powell and Pressburger’s “The Red Shoes” instead.
Boxing movies have had a history of doing well at the Oscars. “On the waterfront”, “Rocky” “Million Dollar Baby” and “When we were Kings” come to mind. I absolutely loved David O. Russell’s “Three Kings” but didn’t get “I heart Huckabees”, so I don’t know what I’d make of this movie.
Just watched this last night. Holy crap what a horrible movie. Christopher Nolan: you’ll always hold a special place in my heart for what you’ve done with the Batman franchise, but good lord what the hell was this all about? About three quarters of the way through the movie I turned to my wife and said “I officially don’t care what happens to any of these characters at this point”. I love science fiction, but I hate when science fiction sets up its own rules within the context of the story and proceeds to not follow them. Maybe I’m a stickler, but when they said Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character has only two minutes to complete his task, there is no way he could break into that hotel room, round up all those bodies, get them down the hallway into the elevator in zero gravity and then diddle with the elevator to make it drop. That was at least a 10 minute job. And I know time is different in dreams, but damn watching that van fall off the bridge was tedious. Michael Caine looked more bored than he did in “Jaws 4 The Revenge” and any movie that has depictions of suicide upset me without exception. To summarize: an awesome cast wasted.
The Kids are All Right
Haven’t seen this one, but since I love Julianne Moore, Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo and I like everything I’ve heard about it, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it when I do.
The King’s Speech
My favourite movie of the year, and my hope for best picture winner. When I think of my favourite movies, most of them are made up of excellent moments, and “The King’s Speech” is filled from top to bottom with great “moments”. It was the first movie in a long time where the audience erupted into spontaneous applause at the end, a story I’ve heard repeated by others who have seen the movie. Also, it was just about the only movie I saw in a theatre last year, so I think I would have enjoyed anything.
So Danny Boyle follows up “Slumdog Millionaire” by sticking James Franco under a boulder and making him cut off his arm and eat it? Okay, maybe he doesn’t eat it, but the rest is true. There’s nothing about this that makes me want to see it, even though the soundtrack looks good. Is this the first time in Oscar history that a host has also been a nominee?
Toy Story 3
Since this is nominated in the “Best Animated Feature” category as well, I think we can safely assume it will win there and not here. In fact, I think movies nominated in the animated category shouldn’t be eligible for the best picture category. What’s the point? I love the first two installments (who doesn’t?) but haven’t brought myself to see this third one. I hear it’s terribly sad in parts, and sometimes I find sad animated films harder to watch that live action ones. I’m not ashamed to admit I sobbed through the prologue of “Up” ( Pixar version not the Russ Meyer one), and to this point I haven’t felt the need to seek out something sad on purpose. Sad things seem to find me quite well on their own.
I love the Coen brothers. I read this novel just before Christmas and even though it was written in the 1960’s the dialogue and situations seemed to be written expressly for the Coens themselves. I can’t wait to see this, and maybe even before Sunday. Love live “LA BEEF”.
The Social Network
This movie has alot going for it. David Fincher brings all his experience and skill to bear in telling the personal stories of the creation of Facebook. The screenplay by Aaron Sorkin is crisp and economical, based on the book by Ben Mezrich. I’ve found Mezrich’s books in the past to be heavy on drama and light on facts, and this feeling makes it way into the Facebook story too. Aside from Andrew Garfield’s Eduardo, none of the characters seemed to be very likable and as a result, like everyone from Inception, I didn’t really care what happened to them.
Okay. It’s great that with 10 nominees a no-name movie like this gets some recognition, but I have no desire to see it. Take a look at this poster. It looks and feels depressing. Even the title has two depressing words in it: Winter and Bone. Thank you, no.