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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

I came up with a brilliant plan the other night.  It involved finally watching another movie this Friday as someone’s birthday present (long story, will explain it later), but in order to do that I felt that I really needed to get Return of the Jedi out of the way, because this is getting ridiculous.  I mean, seriously – I’ve moved this Netflix disc.  MOVED IT.  FROM ONE APARTMENT TO ANOTHER.  And paid for it six times.  WHAT THE FUCK, PATTERSON.

Anyway.  In order to get my Brilliant PlanTM out of the way, I am going to attempt to watch Return of the Jedi tonight.  Now, there’s going to be an added layer of difficulty regarding this: the last time I watched a movie on DVD, I was at the Old Apartment (sorry for the earworm), and the Old Apartment had a DVD player and a remote.  In my New Apartment, I have a TV/DVD combination TV, and … the remote doesn’t really work.  I mean, it’ll select things on the menu, and I can turn the volume up and down, and when I’m using the cable and Jeremy the TiVo, Episode IV: A New Hope, everything’s hunky-dory.  But pausing the DVD and / or returning to the menu?  Cannot be done.  I can only pause by getting up and pausing it from the button on the TV itself.  And as for returning to the menu whilst in the middle of an episode or movie?  My TV says ‘Fuck that shit,’ which is how I watched the beginning of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang four times when it started using subtitles randomly and I couldn’t shut them off.

So … expect a lot of cussing.  I may have to name the TV (because so far, the TV is nameless.  Only the TiVo’s have been named in the past).

Oh right.  The bikini.  Almost forgot about that.

Before I hit play, I believe that when we last left our Intrepid Heroes, they were either dis-handed, starting up a rock band with the robots as backup, or frozen in carbonite.  Darth Vader was playing with his dolls in victorious glee, and Leia was on her way to join the white slave trade.  Does that sound right?

I was just going to ask a stupid question about what was Chewbacca doing in all of this, when I realized: duh.  He plays drums for Lando and the Droids.  Because if Lando Calrissian = Dr. Teeth, C-3P0 must = Scooter, R2D2 = Floyd, and Chewbacca = Animal.

Holy shit that is a thing that has to happen RIGHT NOW.

[play is pressed.]  I am already hating that I can’t pause.

ROLLING TRANSCRIPTION THINGY

Jesus, that music’s loud.

“Episode VI:  RETURN OF THE JEDI

Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tattoine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the cluthes of the vile gnagster Jabba the Hutt..

Little does Luke know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful tha the first draeaded Death satar.

When completed, this ultimate weapon wil OH SHIT I CAN’T READ ANYMORE THAT TYPE IS TOO TINY I MISSED AN IMPORTANT PLOT POINT”

We see the same big battleship scene from the first Star Wars, only this time a couple of ships get shat out of it.  They’re flying out to Death Star II, and there’s this line of Storm Troopers sitting at a console, and I can’t help it — I yell out, “Look at all those Assholes!”

The guy who announces that Lord Vader’s shell — shell?  What?  — has arrived looks like a young Matt Damon.  Just me?

Lord Vader is apparently all out of lollipops, because he’s whooping that Commander’s ass all over the Death Star II.  Apparently the progress with the new Death Star is not proceeding as fast as Palpatine would like.

It’s the Droids!  Lando abandoned them?  But — that is my most favorite fantasy! C-3PO fucking knocks on this big ass-door, hoping to speak with Jabba the Hutt.  R2-D2 strolls in, and all I can think of is ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY WALK INTO JABBA’S HUTT.

They run into Jabba’s … lackey?  I’m sorry, I’m totally calling him the Jabba-Wocky.  Anyway, he’s the dude with the icky flesh tail that curls around the neck, and I have no idea who he is, but there’s totally a green pig man that looks like one of Maleficent’s lackeys made flesh, and anyway, they end up in Jabba’s Pleasure Palace, like he’s Hedonism-Bot from Futurama.  R2 plays his in-flight feature of Luke Skywalker offering the Droids to Jabba as collateral in exchange for a negotiation for Captain Solo, who is still a wall hanging out of carbonite.

Jabba’s Slave Leader thinks R2-D2 is a feisty one.  You don’t know the half of it, Slave Leader.  Boba Fett’s upstairs watching one of the slave girls dance.  Oh.  Er, uh, two slave girls dance.  Uh, two slave girls dance, and then one gets incinerated or eaten or something.  And then Chewbacca comes in, and Jabba wants C-3PO is asked to translate the bounty for Chewie, and the guy who somehow managed to capture Chewbacca (What is that guy, Jonathan from Buffy?  He’s like, three feet tall!  How’d he overpower Chewie?), anyway, he wants to get more money out of Jabba through the powers of persuasion found only in a thermal detonator, but he somehow capitulates.  And Lando’s hiding in plain sight, watching everything!  LANDO!  YOU NEED TO GET THE BAND BACK TOGETHER!

OH WAIT I REMEMBER – the little guy who ‘overpowered’ Chewie is actually Leia in disguise, right?  Isn’t that how that worked?  Because we never see the dude’s face, and they’re wicked short.  And he unfreezes Han!  And I was totally right, it was totally Leia!  And THAT’S how she becomes the slave!  One of my questions finally answered!

Meanwhile, Han is recovering from the hibernation sickness, and he’s blind, and all I can think of is Rochester from Jane Eyre?  Luckily, he gets thrown into the same cell as Chewie, so those hetero life partners are together.

Luke walks into Jabba’s palace, and THERE’S the bikini.  Anyway, Luke wants Han and His Friends (dudes, Lando and the Droids is a WAY better name), and he’s studiously ignoring his crush just sitting there in a bit of twisted metal and half a curtain.  Jabba tosses him into the pit, which apparently holds a giant, big, drooly sand crab type thing, and Luke does the ol’ Stick a Toothpick In The Crab’s Mouth So It Can’t Eat Him trick.

Doesn’t work.  In that the toothpick gets broken like a … well, like a toothpick.  But then Luke throws a rock at the garage door opener and it closes right down onto the Sand Crab’s head, killing it.  Huzzah!  And so much for using the Force, eh, Luke?  In the confusion, Lando runs away.  LANDO?!

Team!Jabba boards a pleasure cruise out to the Pits of Despair in the middle of Tatooine.  Anyway, there’s this big fight scene where R2 totally had Luke’s lightsaber in a pocket the entire time, so he goes about slicing the entire mini-boat’s crew while Leia chokes the shit out of Jabba the Hutt.  Big fight, yada yada, and then Luke jungle-vine-swings he and Leia onto the mini-boat while the big boat blows up, and he tells Lando, “Don’t forget the droids.”

No, Lando — never forget the Droids.

[Seriously, this is my new favorite head-canon.  J.J. Abrams, I am *begging* you: I don’t care what other plots you bring up, but PLEASE: make Lando a lead guitarist with R2 and 3PO playing backup.]

Luke and R2-D2 head to the Dagobah system, to visit Yoda!  Who is totally Zoot, by the way.  Meanwhile, Emperor Palpatine lands on Death Star II — or, wherever Lord Vader happens to be.  Vader wants to find Skywalker, but Palpatine tells Vader to hold his horses, because Skywalker’s going to show up anyway, and then they’ll turn him to the Dark Side.  Because apparently Palpatine’s cookies are the best cookies?

YODA!  Still feisty.  I love that Muppet.  The only way for Luke to become a Jedi is to confront Darth Vader.  Luke wants to know if Darth Vader is his father, and Yoda very cutely tries to ignore the question.  But Luke’s having none of it, and finally Yoda confesses.  And there’s a lot of mumbling and have I mentioned my remote sucks ass so I can’t rewind to figure out what Yoda’s saying, but it doesn’t matter in the end because YOU GUYS — YODA DIES?!  NO ONE TOLD ME YODA DIES!!  LANDO NEEDS HIS SAX PLAYER!!

And then Luke has a vision of Obi-Wan Kenobi who explains the myth of Anakin.  And can I just take a moment and say that I can TOTALLY see a resemblance between Alec Guiness and Ewan McGregor?  Seriously!  That is crazy.  And one of the only good things to come out of the prequel trilogy.  Obi-Wan also points Luke in the direction of Leia being his sister.

Han, Leia, and Lando and the Droids are discussing the plan to drop down onto Endor and dismantle the shield that is protecting the Death Star II.  Han lets Lando pilot the Millennium Falcon, and he’s totally heartbroken.  Oh man.  I guess I forgot or never realized that the primary ‘ship in Star Wars is Han/Millennium Falcon?  Much like how on Firefly it’s Mal/Serenity?

OO!  That’s eerily prescient!  Because I have disc one of Firefly as my second Netflix disc!  I am like, totally awesome up in here!

“Fly casual”?  Dear Lord, Han Solo is the best.  The team manages to get past the Death Star II and lands on Endor.  And here’s where we find out how much Alaina falls under the Ewok Line Theory.

They try and sneak up on a couple of Storm Troopers, but Han has extremely large feet and tips them off.  So now Leia and Luke overtake some Hover-Jet-Skis (like Jet-Skis, but on air) and how come Disney World never made a ride out of that?  This whole thing is like the chariot race from Ben-Hur meets Marty McFly.

Luke meets up with Han and the gang, and Han almost blows a gasket when he learns that Leia’s missing.  Leia wakes up and tries to make nice with an Ewok.  And … yeah, it’s pretty cute.  Guess I’m 29!  There’s tons of whistling going on while Leia is explaining the intricacies of a hat, and I totally expect to hear the Mockingjay noise from The Hunger Games.  Rue!  But instead she gets captured by Storm Troopers.  Wait, strike that — not captured at all, because Ewoks are awesome!

Sidebar: I am ecstatic and extremely impressed that I have not needed to pause this movie.  Not once.

Vader tells Palpatine that he knows his son is on Endor.  Palpatine swirls around in his Voice judging chair and tells Vader that Luke will come to him, and then Vader can bring Luke to Palpatine.  Looks like you’ve got everything all figured out there, Great Wrinkly.

Meanwhile, back on Endor, Han is super worried because there’s no trace of Leia.  And then Chewie finds the decoy Ewok which puts them in a net trap, at which point R2 chainsaws them out, they fall, and then they get captured by Ewoks.

… Who worship C-3PO?  Oh jeebus, that won’t end well, will it?

Baby Ewok!  And also, they’re going to eat Han Solo.  Ha ha.

Oh my God, 3PO’s such an ass.  How did he get so far without realizing when to shut up and do what Luke says?  Jesus H., dude!

Also, with her hair down, Leia looks the spitting image of a woodland princess.  I don’t like it.  She needs to be more kickass.

That night, 3PO gets the audience caught up with The Story Thus Far, only this time, it’s in Ewok.  Luke sneaks out of the group hug atmosphere, and Leia follows him.  After some jibberish about the Force, Luke tells Leia that he’s going to go up against Vader, and oh yeah, she’s his sister.  They share what appears to be a sibling-esque kiss and then Luke runs off to find Vader, just as Han comes out and rears his jealous but wonderfully-tousled head.

Luke walks right into Vader’s clutches, and he is determined to find the ‘good’ in what used to be Anakin Skywalker.  And there’s a very funny moment where Darth Vader literally shakes his fist at Luke when he tells him to never speak Anakin’s name.

Oh no … it’s 2:45 a.m., and I’m falling asleep, and there are still 40 minutes remaining.  Oh shit.

THERE IT IS — THE ADMIRAL ACKBAR “IT’S A TRAP”!  Totally just woke up for that.  The Emperor makes Luke watch the reaming of General Calrissian, and keeps taunting Luke into turning to the dark side.

Okay … I tried really, really hard to stay awake, and look, unlike when I watched Phantom Menace, this is not the fault of shoddy writing and directing.  This is a direct result of me being tired, and it being 3 a.m.  I actually saved this post, and then kept watching, expecting to wake up in the … er, later today and find the scene where I was and take over from there, but something funny happened and I wanted to write it down because I know I’d forget.  And now I’m awake again.  I’m going to finish it!

So anyway, Luke is trying really really extra hard to not be overtaken by the Dark Side, and when he’s fighting Vader he kinda somersaults up to the catwalk above him, and he is relentless at calling Vader “Father” in an effort to try and return Anakin to the Good Side, and all I can think in my head is Vader being really pissed at him and going, “Get DOWN from there, you little shit!”

Oh, and also: I paused once.  That’s a pretty damn good record if I do say so my damned self.

Han Solo plays a funny trick on the Assholes at the Shield Station, manages to lure them out and into a trap, and meanwhile, Vader riles Luke up about potentially turning Leia into a Dark Side Magnet that Luke goes apeshit and CUTS OFF VADER’S HAND, WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH YOU AND HANDS, LUCAS?!

Oh hey — Luke Skywalker?  George … Lucas?  There’s no way I’m the first person to get that, right?

The Emperor tries to kill Luke when he won’t join the Dark Side with the power of electricity.  And Vader looks on, comfused.

And what happened then?  Well, in Endor they say, that Lord Vader’s small heart grew three sizes that day.  Because he picks up the Emperor with his one good hand and tosses him off the starship, saving his son.

As the ship goes down, Lucas does his first horrible thing in the series and turns Darth Vader into a scrawny white dude with no hair.  Because he fell into a pit of lava and managed to survive.

As the remnants of the Death Star II explode across the sky, Leia finally tells Han that she is Luke’s sister, meaning all the “I love you’s” and “I know’s” are really and truly for Han.

That night, the Ewoks fulfill their destiny of burning a human, as Luke sends Anakin’s spirit to the sky.  Or something equally poetic.  I dunno.  Tired, you guys.  After Luke’s Funeral for One, there’s a lot of dancing with the annoying Ewok song (sorry, that is annoying.  The Ewoks themselves are kind of cute, but this song … oy).  Luke says goodbye to Obi-Wan, Yoda, and the First Anakin Skywalker, because I’m watching the original version on the bonus disc of the latest special edition that came out, so I don’t have to deal with any stupid-ass hologram of an older Hayden Christianson, because NO ONE should have to see that.

HEY YOU GUYS I TOTALLY FINISHED STAR WARS

Does this mean I can watch this and not be ironic about it anymore?

Here are my big takeaways from this endeavor:

1)      Dear George Lucas.  These movies were WAY BETTER when you limited yourself to helping out with the script and directing here and there.  Lawrence Kasdan was your friend.  Episodes IV, V, and VI were a frillion times better than I, II, and III, and that’s because you weren’t the one solely responsible for the final product.  Look, dude, you are not the Coen Brothers.  Let other people take — oh, wait, you are.  Cool.

2)      Dear J.J. Abrams.  Don’t lose sight of the endgame halfway through Episode VII, okay?  I have been with you since Alias, and what tends to happen with you is you have a great start to something, but your follow-through has been lacking.  (Because yes, I am still pissed at you for Lauren Reed.  Who isn’t?  NO ONE.  THAT’S WHO.  LAUREN REED WAS AWFUL.)  Keep on track, and maybe Episode VII won’t suck.

3)      I do not have any idea who would win in a fight, Han Solo or Indiana Jones.  Both bring guns to knife fights.  Both have snarky rejoinders.  One has a whip; the other has a Wookiee.  I don’t know; that is way too close to call for me.

4)      Leia, however, would kick Marion Ravenwood’s ass.  And I say that as someone who still wants to be Marion Ravenwood when I grow up.

5)      I think what I need to do at some point is just sit and have a Trilogy Time of my own.  Now that I’ve watched them once (and have crossed them off my list!), I just need to power through all three as one big storytelling endeavor.

So.  That’s done.  Tune in Saturday morning (because I’m not going to get started until at least 10 p.m.) for when I give my friend possibly one of the greatest birthday presents I could ever think to give him: crossing his favorite movie off my list.

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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Star Wars

 

Alaina Rants On… The 2013 Oscar Nominations (and the Oscars in general)

Before I get into this, I’ve got a metaphor I want to use, but I want to make sure it lands.  Has anyone out there watched How I Met Your Mother as much as I have?  If not, let me attempt to make my metaphor make sense.

[I’m going to warn you, this is much like my Stories That Go Nowhere [TM]: long and involved backstory with little or the wrong kind of payoff.  You have been warned, but I’m not backing away from this.]

See, in the episode entitled “Old King Clancy” (a personal favorite), Robin admits that she’s performed a dirty sex act with a celebrity back in Canada.  She won’t tell The Gang Minus Ted any of the story unless they are able to guess.  Cue the inevitable long list of Canadian Non-Sequitors [“Rick Moranis; The Reverse Rick Moranis; Antique Judaica.”  “No.”  “GAH.”]  Robin finally tells them that The Frozen Snowshoe asked her home to have her look at Harvey’s Trays, and then she was to perform the Old King Clancy on him (which is apparently like the Sacramento Turtleneck, but with maple syrup).  I echo Lily’s thoughts by saying that I don’t know what any of those words mean.

And then Barney says (and this is my punchline):

“Canada.  You did it again.  You even found a way to ruin *this.*  Why!  Why do we let you be a country?!”

And that, my friends, is how I felt about the 2013 Oscar Nominations.  Why.  Why do we even let you people do this to us!?

Because clearly, I love movies.  I wouldn’t devote a blog to my attempts to watch them if I didn’t.  I love the genre, I love the art and technique and style and dedication that go into making them.  And yes, I must give the disclaimer first-off that I realize there are some movies that strategically strive to be considered “art” and are therefore, less accessible than others, and there are others that are made simply for the attempt at a paycheck.  This rant is … well, not completely about the different levels of film-making that is occurring out there today, but it’ll probably intersect at some point, so … caveat everyone.

I think my largest problem with the Academy Awards at this juncture in time is that the entire Oscar production – the nominations, the rotating host, the gravitas that is attached with being nominated and, of course, winning – is made out to be the most accessible awards show — it’s never been called it to my knowledge, but a good shorthand would be America’s Award Show — but really, they’re not.  We the audience are made to believe that the nominated movies are the best of all the movies that have been released this year and everything else that we saw in the theatres that we may think are better are in fact, only slightly okay.  “No, I don’t care how much you loved Anthony Hopkins in Hitchcock; clearly, Will Tippin in a football movie was better than that.”

Let me back up.  I have been watching the Oscars since Titanic came out.  The 1997 Oscars was the first one I watched, and the first time I attempted to guess the winners.  Thanks to James Cameron and the killing that that movie did on the box office, I got a lot right.  The five Best Picture nominees were: Titanic, L.A. Confidential, As Good As It Gets, The Full Monty, and Good Will Hunting.  That year I was … y’know, I turn thirty this year?  I’m not doing the math.  But anyway, I was clearly in the PG-13 arena and had only seen Titanic and As Good As It Gets, but I had heard about the other three.  In fact, since that time, I have seen … okay, only L.A. Confidential and that was years ago, but my point is that I, a 14-year old girl (damn. I did the math) with limited spending income, had seen two of the Best-Picture-Nominated movies and had heard of the other three.  The Best Picture nominees were accessible to everyone.

The following year — just to further illustrate my point — the five nominees for Best Picture were Saving Private Ryan, Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love, Life is Beautiful and The Thin Red Line.  Now being 15, I hadn’t seen those due to sex and/or violence, but again, I had heard of those movies.  I think I ended up seeing parts of at least four of those movies during various classes throughout the rest of high school and/or college.

The following year, the fucking Sixth Sense was nominated.  For Best Picture.  Do y’all remember that?!  The only reason I’m mentioning that now is that it completely illustrates my point: a movie that practically EVERYONE saw, so much so that the twist ending was even at that time, a punchline.  (And still continues to this day — just last night I tweeted to my friend Sarah, who was punishing herself for some reason watching The Last Airbender, which she didn’t realize was directed by M.Night himself: “It’s an M.Night Shyamalan joint.  If Bruce Willis ain’t dead and it’s not Earth all along, it’s not over yet.”

Sometime around 2003, 2004-ish, we started to see a trend of less accessible, more art-housey films get nominated alongside tentpole films.  The Best Picture nominees one year were Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander, Far Side of the World, Mystic River, and SeabiscuitLost in Translation I still find to be completely overrated, but amongst the other titles in that category, it’s clearly the art-house sneak-in.  All the acting nominations came from little-seen films, like Thirteen, The House of Sand and Fog, 21 Grams, and of course the stupid exception is Johnny Depp for Pirates of the Caribbean.  I mean, I don’t even know why he was nominated for that.  I still don’t.

And then, we come to 2004.  The 2005 Academy Awards bestowed gold upon Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Ray, Finding Neverland, Sideways, Vera Drake, Hotel Rwanda … a lot of films that didn’t necessarily get wide releases.  Now, I cannot in good faith sit here and proclaim that Million Dollar Baby didn’t deserve the award, because it’s number 40 on my list.  But when I look back through the movies that were released that year, and I see Mean Girls (which honest-to-God, should have at least earned a screenplay nomination), Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and movie of my heart, Anchorman?!  Okay, yes, I still don’t think Anchorman would get nominated in any sense of the word, but let’s say I had watched Million Dollar Baby.  Given the choice to rewatch either that or Anchorman, I’m going to go with the Ron Burgandy story, duh!

So for a few years, art-house movies dominated the Oscars.  Occasionally, we’d see a bigger-named movie (Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada, Little Miss Sunshine, etc.), but for the most part, the Academy Awards started veering towards the lower-budget, emotion-heavy Sundance purchases.  And you know, I was kind of okay with that – if that was the direction the Academy Awards was going, then fine.  Be all art-housey and hipster and whatever, leave me my Anchorman and joy.

And THEN, in 2010, the Academy decided to increase the Best Picture nominees to up to 10 from the 5 that had been allowed for almost all of eternity.  The producers or executives or whoever was in charge (heretofore known as ‘they’) claimed it was because they wanted to make the category more accessible, and inclusive, and give more films the opportunity to be named a Best Picture nominee.

In reality, it was because the ratings for the Academy Award telecast had been slipping sequentially for the past … actually, I would like to give a quick shout-out to Wikipedia for helping me with all of this information.  Thanks guys!  But anyway, the 2009 Oscars achieved a record-low of 31.7 million viewers, or an 18.6% Nielsen Ratings Share.  Even so, the ratings had steadily declined by at least one million each year since … oh, would you look at that.

Year Ceremony Viewers
(in mil.)

Ratings
Percentage

Host

Best Picture Winner

2012

85

Seth MacFarlane  
2011

84

39.5

23.91%

Billy Crystal The Artist
2010

83

37.9

22.97%

James Franco & Anne Hathaway The King’s Speech
2009

82

41.6

24.75%

Steve Martin & Alec Baldwin The Hurt Locker
2008

81

36.9

21.68%

Hugh Jackman Slumdog Millionaire
2007

80

31.7

18.66%

Jon Stewart No Country For Old Men
2006

79

39.9

23.65%

Ellen DeGeneres The Departed
2005

78

38.6

22.91%

Jon Stewart Crash
2004

77

42.1

25.29%

Chris Rock Million Dollar Baby
2003

76

43.5

26.68%

Billy Crystal LOTR: Return of the King
2002

75

33

20.5%

Steve Martin Chicago
2001

74

40.5

24.1%

Whoopi Goldberg A Beautiful Mind
2000

73

42.9

25.9%

Steve Martin Gladiator
1999

72

46.5

29.6%

Billy Crystal American Beauty
1998

71

45.6

28.5%

Whoopi Goldberg Shakespeare in Love
1997

70

57.3

35.32%

Billy Crystal Titanic

[Yeah, bitches, I made a chart!!]

But as you can CLEARLY see above, there is a direct correlation between Academy Awards Ratings and the Movies Nominated for Best Picture.  The year the Academy decided to recognize Titanic as being worthy of Best Picture was the same year that EVERYONE saw Titanic.  A fair amount of people also saw either Shakespeare in Love or Saving Private Ryan, so the audience wanted to see who won.  Fast-forward to poor Jon Stewart’s second year hosting, which suffered from having both very obscure nominees (from a general audience member’s perspective) and also, political fatigue.  Steve Martin’s first year also suffered from coming approximately six months after 9/11, so clearly, real-world stuff affects fake-world stuff.

So anyway.  In 2009, Academy Awards President Sid Ganis announced that ‘they’ would be increasing the Best Picture nominees to up to ten, “in an attempt to revitalize interest surrounding the awards” source.  No, Sid, that’s not why you did it.  This was blatantly in an effort to increase ratings.  Which, fine, whatever you think works.

Now, I was sitting there in 2009, and my first thought was, “Shit!  I’m going to have to see even more movies now!”  Because I am, first and foremost, a masochist.  But since that was announced in June of 2009, and I had six months to think about stuff before the actual nominations were announced, I also got secretly excited.  I hoped — hoped — that that would mean that there would be more accessible pictures nominated.

That was the year that The Hangover was released.  And it was being lauded as being an extraordinary, new comedy.  Different, unabashedly raunchy, and loved by millions.  It was an R-rated crowd-pleaser, the likes of which film hadn’t seen, practically ever.  And I was excited, because for once, there was a chance that an actual, honest-to-goodness comedy might — might — be nominated for Best Picture.

And that had been my point for years prior.  While the Golden Globes are a horrible excuse for an awards show, with only slightly more gravitas than winning an Emmy, at least they know enough to award both a drama and a comedy as Best Picture.  Comedy and drama make up our daily lives, and I felt that only one side of that coin had been represented in the past ten years’ worth of Oscar ceremonies.  Because not counting Little Miss Sunshine, a black comedy at best, the last outright comedy to be nominated for Best Picture was The Full Monty, in 1997, the same year – you guessed it – Titanic won.

So when the Best Picture nominations came out, and not one of them was for any type of comedy?  I was sorely disappointed.

And look, I recognize that I am not an Academy member, and that there are rules and processes in place.  I just learned this this past week: a film cannot be named a Best Picture nominee unless the total nominations for that category it receives equal 5% or more of the total nominations submitted.  So, fine.  4% of the people liked The Hangover, and it lost its place to District 9.  And last year, at least Bridesmaids got recognized for Melissa McCarthy and Best Original Screenplay, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that it was just a push towards Equal Opportunity.  (In many different ways.  Not to say I didn’t like the movie and was ecstatic that it earned two nominations.  Just … it still feels a tad slap-dash and not very authentic.)

I think, finally, we come to this year.  There were a lot — a lot — of good movies released this year.  Sadly, one of them got upstaged by the events surrounding its midnight release, but there were others that I felt deserved recognition.

Joss Whedon made a supremely amazing superhero movie, that managed to make the comic book fans happy and not too nitpicky, while introducing others to the genre.  The Hunger Games had amazing cinematography and art direction, but didn’t get nominated for anything?  And while I’m flipping ecstatic that Skyfall got nominated for cinematography (eat THAT, Pierce Brosnan!!), where was Javier Bardem’s nomination?  For ONCE, there was nuance to a Bond villain!  Okay, fine.  The Best Supporting actor nominees are all unique, special snowflakes, and — hey, all of you guys have won Oscars before!  That’s not helping my argument, but …

And WHERE.  WHERE?  IS BEN AFFLECK’S FUCKING NOMINATION FOR BEST DIRECTOR?!

And look, I am not Mr. Affleck’s biggest fan by any means.  I like him, but I’m not exactly going to run out and watch every movie he’s ever made.  Loved him in Mallrats, Dogma and Chasing Amy.  I saw The Town; it was okay.  Still haven’t seen Shakespeare in Love or Good Will Hunting, but they’re on my list!  I think his high-profile romances soured me, but not because of him, because of the media swooping on every shit he took with J.Lo and everything else.  I never really had anything bad to say about him.

But Argo — holy shitsnacks.  That was the best movie I have seen in a very long time.  As director, he was able to create tension in a story where you knew how it ended.  I went to see it about three weeks after it opened, and my theatre still applauded when the plane took off.  I remember looking at Amelia and saying, “I take back almost every bad thing I’ve ever said about Ben Affleck.”  It was phenomenal, and I can’t stress this enough – a huge surprise that it was that good.

So for him to be snubbed, to me, seems really, really shitty.

And sure, maybe, the guy who made Beasts of the Southern Wild did a really good job.  And maybe, Silver Linings Playbook redeems David O. Russell more than I Heart Huckabees ever could.  But … the Affleck, man!  I can’t — I can’t get beyond that.

So, thanks, Academy Awards.  You finally did what not many people could do.  You turned Ben Affleck into a platform for me.  I am now pissed off at you, the Academy Awards — you that has ran my Februarys for the past five years, and my winter seasons for even longer than that — over Ben Affleck.

And I’m looking at the rest of the nominees, and I’ve never heard of the majority of them.  Beasts of the Southern Wild?  Was that a direct-to-Redbox release?  AmourLife of Pi?  You nominated The Life of Pi?!

Brad: We should go see Life of Pi.
Me: Why?!
Brad: Well, we should bring flasks.  It’s this year’s The Tree of Life.
Me: You don’t want to go see The Life of Pi with me.
Brad: Why not?
Me: Because you’re going to be subjected to me shouting, every damn time Pi turns around and sees the tiger, “Fuck!  I keep forgetting about the goddamned tiger!”
Brad: [laughing]
Me: And then, just to mix it up, when he’s feeding the tiger: “Tigers love pepper.  They hate cinnamon.”

Seriously, guys – never go to the movies with me.  I’m an asshole.

I keep thinking that there has to be some sort of middle ground.  A place where movies that deserve recognition can go to be rewarded.  The Oscars has clearly not learned anything from the past few years, and are sliding more and more into art-house territory.  Which is fine.  You can totally do that, Oscars.  Just stop marketing yourself as the People’s Award Show.  Which in reality, I don’t think you’ve actually said, but let’s put it this way: you’re making it a lot easier for the Extreme Conservative Right to point to you guys and say stuff like “Hollywood Elite.”  And this is a point I haven’t made yet: I live in Maine.  Some of those movies were never released here!

So this year, I’m hanging up my “I’m Going To Watch Ever Movie And Take Notes” hat, and instead, continue to watch Archer and see if Captain Hook ever leaves Storybrooke, Maine and travels to Yarmouth on Once Upon a Time (IT CAN’T BE THAT FAR, RIGHT?  HE’S GOT A SHIP, THERE ARE RIVERS).  If I get up to it, I might — might — hold my own Award Ceremony, one that reflects the true artistry in the movies that EVERYONE — or, at least, a SOLID MAJORITY OF PEOPLE — has seen.

(PS, I will be seeing Silver Linings Playbook, because I have to see what the fuck Will Tippin did to fucking get nominated for Best Actor.  I mean, what the shit?!)

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2013 in Alaina Rants On, Oscar!Watch!

 

Dinosaur Comics does it again!

YOU GUYS

I THINK RYAN NORTH MUST BE ONE OF MY FRIENDS IN REAL LIFE

Because seriously, this was EVERY FUCKING DAY at work a year ago:

(c) Ryan North of Quantz

Just substitute The Shawshank Redemption for Indiana Jones.  Because I have TOTALLY seen every Indiana Jones movie.  Fuck, I can recite half of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Uncategorized