Monthly Archives: February 2012

Movie Dump: Oscar!Watch 2012, Part One

I’ve really got to get my butt in gear with these movies, especially since I’m going to be in Annapolis all next week without access to a Redbox or a movie theater (I’m guessing my hotel won’t be within walking distance of a Cinemagic).  So let me get everyone up-to-date with the movies I’ve been watching as I get ready to finally dig into Attack of the Clones.

Moneyball: A movie about money, balls, but no acting

Moneyball, for those keeping track, is nominated for Best Picture; Best Actor (Brad Pitt); Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill); and Best Adapted Screenplay.  It was the movie that began Oscar!Watch for me.  And I have to say, I am unimpressed.

Now, I am the epitome of Playoff Fan when it comes to sports.  I had no idea Gronkowski even existed until I watched the Patriots play the Broncos in the playoffs.  And the only reason I watched that game was because I enjoy making fun of Tim Tebow and asking him where his god is now.  When it comes to baseball, I enjoy watching the Red Sox, and if there’s nothing else on, I’ll tune into NESN and watch whoever they’re playing.  Do I know all the players?  No.  I know Varitek and Papelbon and … Big Papi?  Does he even still play?  But look, a) of all, if one of the players has been traded or went to another team in the past five years, please don’t feel the need to correct me because I really don’t care that much, and b) of all, have I mentioned that I don’t really care?  I’ll watch the Sox play the Yankees, because there are days that it feels like it’s a requirement living in Maine to root against the Yanks, but I do have to agree with my friend Sarah (who happens to be a true-blue Yankees fan) that rooting for the Red Sox against the Yanks is no longer rooting for the underdog.  The Sox are just as highly-paid as the Yankees, and — being from Boston — they still manage to fuck up occasionally.

Moneyball is an attempt to show that there could be a chance for a lesser-paid team to win the Series if, instead of buying people, you buy the people who can get on-base.  I can sort-of see that.  The theory is interesting to me, at least, and it interested me enough to get a copy of the book Moneyball from the library.  (I haven’t started reading it yet.  What?  I’ve been busy.)

Brad Pitt plays the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, and they are a notoriously under-paid franchise.  What was really interesting to me about the saga of the 2002 A’s is that, it wasn’t until the following year (2003) that I started to get into baseball, and the team I followed for a while was the A’s.  So as I’m watching the story of the streak of 20 straight games won, I was wracking my brain, trying to remember if I had watched that.  Turns out, I was a year late and a dollar short.

Anyway, back to the acting.  Uh, what acting?

"Seriously? How did we get nominated, again?"

Because all I saw were Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill playing themselves, except Brad Pitt chewed tobacco and Jonah Hill didn’t swear as much as he usually does.

Do I think Moneyball was a good movie?  Yes.  Do I think it will win Best Picture?  Hell no.

Bridesmaids: If Only Comedy Was a Legitimate Expression of Art

At least, it doesn’t seem to be recognized by the Academy as art.  Speaking as someone who will occasionally get laughs from co-workers and friends with her witty remarks and deftly-maneuvered pop culture references, I heart comedy so much I wish … I wish so much, you guys!  I wish the Golden Globes weren’t so out-of-touch that they saw The Tourist as a comedy last year.  I wish critics and reviewers and members of the Academy didn’t think comedy was low-brow, or somehow less emotional than drama.  I wish people saw laughter as a higher-valued commodity than tears when award season comes around.  I wish … I wish I could call War Horse by its actual title instead of Warm Horse every damn time.

But mostly, I just wish that, some day, a true, honest-to-goodness, laugh your ass off-funny movie could potentially win Best Picture.  Because look, there are a lot of good movies out there, and there are a lot of dramas with touches of humor to them (we call those “directed by Wes Anderson”), and there are a lot of dramas that do make you feel good, and there are also a lot of movies that legitimately deserve the title of that year’s Best Picture.

But let me ask you a rhetorical question that I’m hoping doesn’t paint myself into an argumentative corner once answered: look at your personal list of Top Ten Movies in the History of Ever.  Is there a comedy on that list?  Are there days when you’re feeling down and you just need to laugh, and you go to that comedy over your number one, which could potentially be something dramatic, depressing, yet uplifting as Shawshank Redemption?  Is there a movie that you find yourself always quoting, whether in conversation, emails, or just sending a long list of quotes back and forth to your bestie via text?

Because look: I rate my Number One Favorite Movie of All Time as Die Hard (which I almost spelled Dire Hard, and now I feel the need to write that), because no matter what time it’s on, what channel, what time of year: if I find it on TV, I am watching it to the end.  Even if I have a doctor’s appointment that I am late for.  (You can’t break Bro Code Rule 84!)  And yes, it’s an action flick, but it’s also funny.  When I am feeling depressed and need a pick-me-up, I’m going to defy my own rule and come out with the fact that I will pop in Sunset Blvd late at night, and watch it with the lights off.  Because a) of all, I defy you to watch Sunset Blvd in the daytime or with lights on; even though there are no ghosts or anything, it is a scary movie.  But most importantly b) of all: I don’t care how depressed you are.  When you watch Sunset Blvd, you are at the least comforted by the fact that, no matter how bad things are going for you or how badly you are feeling, at least you’re not a crazy woman who shoots her gigolo in the back as he’s trying to leave you because he’s not in love with you.

But the movie that I will race to if I need to laugh my ass off, or if Kerri and I get into a texting war, is Anchorman.  And look (and no, I’m not going to apologize for bringing out this reference): sixty percent of the time, it works every time.

"This is worse than when the raccoon got stuck in the copier!"

Oh right, I’m supposed to be talking about Bridesmaids.

"I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am."

Yes, Melissa McCarthy: you are indeed awesome.  Melissa’s character was the best part of Bridesmaids.  And while I’m excited that it was nominated for Best Original Screenplay (an honor that never went to The Hangover, though that film did win the Golden Globe for Best Comedy), I know it can never win that award, because the script is covered in Kristen Wiig.

Look, I have Kristen Wiig issues.  And while she was extremely palatable in this film, there were moments that screamed of Penelope, or Gilly, or any of the other hundreds of characters she’s played on SNL where the joke stops being funny about three seconds in, but they have to keep it going for another five minutes and they are, without a doubt, the longest five minutes of your life.  Moments in the movie that I can point to and say “See?  That’s Wiigness right there” are: The never-ending, one-upping toast at the engagement party; while it was funny, the multiple drive-bys to get the cop’s attention at the end; and the trashing of the bridal shower.

But Melissa’s character was awesome.  Funny, but also the get-a-grip friend that Kristen Wiig’s character so desperately needed.  I hope that she is able to ride the wave she’s on right up to the podium to collect her Oscar, because unless the women of The Help knock it out of the park even further, this one will be a tough one to beat.

The Descendants: Or, Never Go See Movies With Your Parents

Especially movies where a family has to deal with the death of a mother.  Cheating bitch of a mother, in this instance, yes, but she’s still dying.

"Yeah. Wow. Astoundingly bad call, Patterson."

I mean — anyway.  The best part about this movie is that it is totally Clooney’s Oscar to lose.  I’ve never seen him like this — a father, a husband, with actual emotions.  So kudos to Alexander Payne for getting Clooney to cry and make me sympathize with him so strongly.  And I love George Clooney.

I also really really really want this movie to win Best Adapted Screenplay, because one of the writers is Jim Rash, who plays Dean Pelton on my beloved show, Community.  And there’s no real way to describe who Dean Pelton is or the appeal he holds, so let me just show you a couple of clips (because there’s no way at this point to make this post any shorter, so I should just stop trying):

(which you can’t watch without the end, which is PRICELESS — skip ahead to 2:47):

Okay, seriously?  If you can watch those three clips and not be intrigued by Community, then I’m sorry, you have no soul, and we can no longer be friends.

But how awesome would it be if Dean Pelton won an OSCAR!?

The Ides of March: “If his father is dead, I’m out.”

Those were the immortal words spoken by my roommate as we watched The Ides of March last week.  There’s a scene where Clooney’s assistant campaign manager (Ryan Gosling) is told his father is calling.  Amelia, being the West Wing connoisseur that she is, immediately went to the flashbacks of “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen” where Josh joins the Bartlet campaign and then has to leave on the night Bartlet goes to the convention because his (Josh’s) father has died.  Being the Josh fangirl I am, the only thing I remember from those episodes is Josh up against the wall, trying to keep his intestines inside his body where they belong.

The good news for those following and caring is that Ryan’s character’s father doesn’t die, so it doesn’t reek of prime time Sorkin.  The bad news is that the movie’s okay, but probably not good enough to win Best Adapted Screenplay.  And I’m not saying that just because I want Jim Rash to win so badly it hurts sometimes; I’m saying that as someone who liked the story, but doesn’t think the writing of the screenplay is exciting or special enough to win an Oscar.

The Tree of Life: Or, Did I Accidentally Take Acid Last Night?

The answer, for those keeping track (and cops), is no, I did not take acid last night.  But I can only assume that an acid trip would look like The Tree of LIfe.

Amelia: What’s The Tree of Life about, again?
Alaina: Remember that trailer we’d keep seeing when we went to the movies last year, with Brad Pitt and the redhead and the kids and a lot of shots of water and desert and really loud opera playing in the background?
Amelia: Yeah — oh yeah, that’s the movie?
Alaina: Yeah.
Amelia: But what’s the movie about?
Alaina: I have no fucking idea.

And after watching it, I still have no fucking idea.  I think it’s about a family with three sons, and one of the sons dies off-screen and I don’t think it’s ever said how he dies, but it’s also about the beginning of life and the end of the world, and also Brad Pitt plays an emotionally abusive father but he’s not aware of his abusive tendencies, but also and most importantly, there were dinosaurs.

"What am I doing here in this movie?"

I swear to god, I did not find a random picture of dinosaurs from another movie to put in there.  That is a legitimate still from The Tree of Life, and the one that made me sit up in bed at 2 in the morning, making me ask “Did I drop acid by accident, like that one time I watched Aqua Teen Hunger Force because I was too lazy to change the channel and was really confused?”

I know why it was nominated — it was too ‘arty’ to not be nominated for something.  But will it win?  Maybe Best Cinematography.  But Best Director and/or Best Picture?  Hell no, it won’t.

There.  I feel accomplished.  Now I can go do other stuff, like scrub the bathroom or do a load of laundry or something like that.  Or, I can go watch Jane Eyre so I can return that to the Redbox too.

Or I could just pass out on the couch getting caught up on Conan.  Yeah, that’d also work.

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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Oscar!Watch!