28 February 2012

Resistance Redux; Oscar and His Movies

It's been awhile since I posted. I have list of excuses handy, but excuses are irrelevant: the truth is that I have been resisting. I have gotten overwhelmed and, for some reason, when I feel that way the idea of writing is frightening. In the face of the behemoth of unwritten works I am but a timid mouse.

The following is adapted from comments I made in my online literary club, Le Salon, Librarything.

Two Saturdays out of every February since 2010, I have gathered up my Twizzlers and bottled water and trooped off to the cinema for the Best Picture Showcase: all the BP nominees. A couple of mini-marathons, but I usually make it through. This year I made it through six of nine. Here are my comments:

War Horse. Really? Best Picture? Really? It was a good movie, I guess, but the whole time I was thinking, I would not be watching this if it hadn't been nominated and why the hell was it nominated? It's a movie about a damn horse! And an extremely manipulative one at at that (the movie, not the horse). Completely implausible. What was Spielberg thinking?


However. I think the horse should have been nominated for Best Actor.

Moneyball - Loved it and I find baseball a snore. Dialogue was outstanding (thank you Mr. Sorkin), acting was solid. I found myself reviewing scenes from it later, which to me is a sign of a good movie.

Tree of Life - fascinating. It's a love it or hate it, and I loved it. Typically I shudder from the pretentiousness of art films and avoid them strenuously. This one had enough real movie in it to make the art-movieness not only palatable but entrancing. And to the naysayers, Brad Pitt does have a range. Moneyball back to back with Tree of Life. Not the same guy. I think he's underrated. He was my favorite part of Inglourious Basterds. Anyhoo, TofL is thought-provoking and a bit surreal. And, boy, was I surprised when the dinosaurs showed up. It went 20 minutes too long, but that's my only complaint. 

Sadly, my energy waned and I was unable to stay for The Descendants. Perhaps next week I will sneak into that one while The Help is playing. I've seen The Help and I liked it (awesome performances), but I've also read the book and it was a good enough movie that I remember much of it like yesterday.

I was challenged to name the thoughts provoked by Tree of Life by a non-believer, so I responded: 

Thoughts provoked: musings on families. What is the effect of parenting with both affection and authoritarianism, on different types of children? What would be required for reconciliation of the ambivalence that the Sean Penn character clearly had for the Brad Pitt character? What was meant by "grace" as it was used at the beginning of the movie? Where the hell did Malick get all of those incredible nature shots? They were astounding. How were they procured? Why don't more movies just stop the action and show things unfolding, with awesome music to go with it? Why did that dinosaur do what it did? 

And others. :-)

Like, how can a father fail to see the damage he is doing to a child he clearly loves?

Unfortunately my energy flagged AGAIN, and I had to skip The Artist and Midnight in Paris, and I am sorely pissed about that.


Hugo - was wonderful! An intelligent use of 3-D that did not involve explosions and car chases, but clockworks! It was a gorgeous movie and it made me smile big. The child actors were winning. The special effects were fun and surprising. And books were even featured a little bit. Best thing about it was that it got me thinking about passion, and you know where that leads....

I ended up watching The Help again, and found myself mesmerized. Every minute of Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain was a delight, especially when they were together. I don't know where this Chastain person came from, but it's the 3d movie I've seen her in, in a year and, well, me likee. Let's add her to Emma Stone for citygirl's fave young actors. (btw, I adored Emma Stone at the Oscars. Too bad Ben Stiller was such a dud partner for her.) Also, Ron Howard's daughter was so odious as Hilly that I don't know how she stands herself. (That's praise.)

Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, gets my vote for worst movie title. It took me a little while to warm up to this movie and its protagonist, but by the end I was sold, and there are two scenes involving an answering machine that are just devastating. The kind of devastating where I wanted to run out of theatre screaming, Don't do this to me! It hurts!

Max von Sydow, and the kid. 

In the end, I was rooting for no one to win any particular Oscars, since what I saw had merit (with the exception of stupid War Horse). I was happy to see Ms. Streep win, b/c 30 years is a long time to be taken for granted, and she always gives the best acceptance speeches. "Whatever."

Back to current thoughts:

The thing I remember most about Sunday's Oscars was Angelina Jolie and her weird jutting leg pose. It was the most perplexing thing that happened. My thought at the time was: she usually dresses so beautifully, but why did she choose a dress that required a contrived pose to show to best advantage? And then the writers of The Descendants mocked the pose during their acceptance and that may have been the most genuinely funny moment of the show.

I kinda felt bad for Billy Crystal.


  1. My daughter is actually in "The Tree of Life." Although, if you blink, you'll miss her. She's only in it for two seconds, and isn't credited. But she got a whopping $30 for shooting the scene!

  2. The Help impacted me like few movies ever have. Made me wanna be a better person. I ran out and bought the book that night after seeing the movie.

    Want to see The Tree of Life. I thought The Descendants was superb. Clooney nailed it like I've never seen him nail a character ever before.

  3. Where is your daughter, Bubba? Is she one of the neighborhood kids?

    Hi, EF! I am so annoyed that I couldn't stay up to watch The Descendants and the other two. I've never not liked Clooney in a movie, except maybe Batman and Robin. :-S

  4. CG, we haven't had a chance to watch it yet. A friend gave us the DVD, and told us where to look to see her. It looks to be a dream sequence where she and some other children are being led around by an older girl near some water.

    The funniest thing about the movie is that when it premiered, supposedly the whole town of Smithville, where most of it was filmed, got pretty ticked off. They were expecting something along the lines of Hope Floats, I guess, which was also filmed there. Smithville is a simple little town with simple tastes. They just didn't know what to make of Malick's creation. As you drive into town, you are greeted by a huge sign, which says, "Welcome to Smithville, Home of Hope Floats." I don't think they will be replacing it anytime soon.