I Watch Movies Sometimes: Oscars Edition

2010 March 10

So I’m a couple of days late with this. No one even cares about the Oscars anymore, except if the bonus category in pub trivia is Oscar winners. Luckily, I was the one on my team yesterday that had paid any sort of attention to who and what won. Not that I watched; I think it took about twenty minutes for decide my time would be better spent watching Archer. Yet, I thought it would be a quality use of my time to watch The Blind Side. Actually, no I didn’t — I just subjected myself to it anyhow. The things I do for this blog.

I had already seen a few of the nominees before the week leading up to the Academy Awards, and I didn’t really LOVE any of them. Avatar I’ve already written a post about. The Hurt Locker was good, but it just didn’t blow me away (get it?); I think Generation Kill should be the defining piece of Iraq War entertainment, especially since veterans have said how inaccurate The Hurt Locker is. District 9 was pretty good, but it features one of the least sympathetic protagonists I’ve ever seen — one that doesn’t grow at all — and yet it seems fairly obvious you’re supposed to sympathize. The shift into a full-blown action movie was also a bit disappointing, even if the action was very entertaining. Up was just another great kids’ movie from Pixar that adults can also enjoy and appreciate; they’ve perfected the formula so well it’s almost boring at this point.

I’ll expand my thoughts a bit more for the next six, since I just watched them, and that’s really the point of this ongoing post series. I watch movies, and then I talk about them. Pretty mundane shit, I know.

A Serious Man

Supposedly it’s a modern retelling of the Book of Job. I wouldn’t know. Either way, I probably would have voted this for Best Picture. And that’s strange, because I’m not even sure what to make of that ending, and I’m sure if you search the internet, you’d come across that sentiment a lot. But something about a man who’s just getting owned on all sides trying to figure out WHY, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME, and only being rewarded with inanity and stupidity and disregard resonated strongly with me. And I think it only truly works because it’s the Coen Brothers. There’s just something about the way they handle such tragedy that makes it at the very least bearable, but also sometimes extremely amusing to watch. And Michael Stuhlbarg in the main role as a creeping-towards-middle-age Jewish man who likes to reiterate that he “hasn’t done anything” is perfect. His breaking down on the phone was one of the best, most heartbreaking moments of cinema in 2009. There’s no way George Clooney deserved an acting nod over him for playing himself. Again.

Inglourious Basterds

In terms of pure entertainment value, there’s no nominee that has this beat. I’m sure there’s plenty of people who think Quentin Tarantino had a bit TOO much fun with it, and I can’t garner up points to refute that — but I know I had fun watching it. I think the opening scene and the scene in the tavern basement are as tense as anything in The Hurt Locker. And the ending is just totally. fucking. awesome. It’s the ultimate Nazi-killing fantasy.

Looking up the film on Wikipedia just now I found out that Tarantino originally sought Leonardo DiCaprio for the role of “Jew Hunter” Hans Landa. I think we can all agree that would have been pretty goddamn disastrous. Luckily, the role fell to Christoph Waltz, an actor that no one in America knew, and he fucking killed it — in four languages. I think he’s deservedly won every acting award there is.

The Blind Side

I guess I’ll start with a compliment: the movie isn’t offensively bad. There’s just nothing of note. It feels exactly like every other by-the-numbers feel-good story out there. Both its Best Picture nod and Sandra Bullock’s WIN are totally goddamn mystifying to me. What did Bullock even do in the movie other than call some tough black guy a “bitch”? She put on a blonde wig and spoke in a Southern accent. Oscar-worthy? I guess so.

Oh, and the black kid in this movie had the dumbest, most fucking annoying glum face on for 90% of the time. I wanted to take a lead pipe to his massive mug. I’ll just sit here and not talk like a big fucking retard. Oh, and I need my new white mommy to tell me what to do so I can be good at football DURRR. Jesus Christ.

On second thought, maybe the movie was offensive.

Fuck you, Academy, for nominating this piece of shit, which enabled me to convince myself to watch it.

Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire

Let’s just say this isn’t a movie I would usually be interested in, but I decided to allow this little blog post idea to expand my horizons. Now this is a good movie starring a big black teenager. Precious actually had some semblance of a personality, unlike the black kid in the movie above. She has dreams of being a star, shown in flashes after she gets knocked to the ground or against the wall in some way. She takes quite a beating over the course of movie. But I guess she’s a big enough girl to handle it.

Even though the awful situation and living conditions Precious had to grow up in seem so goddamn over-the-top and ridiculous, they feel more real than anything in The Blind Side. Mo’nique gives a great performance as her mother, and all the other roles fill out the world extremely well — even if they include LENNY KRAVITZ AND MARIAH CAREY WHAT. I went in expecting to watch a melodramatic piece of garbage, and it certainly can be a bit melodramatic, but when dealing with rape and abuse like that, it’s probably hard to avoid. I found a movie with pretty damn great acting across the board that doesn’t sugarcoat anything or come out with an especially uplifting ending.

Up in the Air

Oh hey, it’s another movie where George Clooney gets to have fun as a handsome, confident dude who can manipulate people very effectively. I’m not even sure what message the movie is trying to spit out, but I did enjoy it. I can hate on the Academy slobbering over Clooney, but I can’t deny that he’s entertaining to watch. He’s just so charming, isn’t he?

The movie does play with your emotions by alternating between funny and depressing and shocking, but I can’t find much fault with it. Managing to juggle comedy with laying off people is tough, and it works most of the time. I did appreciate one twist in particular. If you know me, you can probably guess. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to praise the movie too much though, after what I’ve heard about Jason Reitman, and how he’s pretty much the biggest douchebag on two feet. Between trying to take full credit for the screenplay, lying about writing parts for certain actors, and a massive sense of entitlement, he sounds like a spoiled Hollywood kid. Oh wait, he is. Maybe I should watch Juno so I can hate him for making that, since I’ve only seen Thank You For Smoking and Up in the Air, and thoroughly enjoyed both.

An Education

The shortest movie on the list, and easily the most intimate. If Precious is about a teenage girl getting destroyed by outside forces, An Education is about a teenage girl letting her own emotions get the best of her. What 16-year-old isn’t going to be enthralled by some man twice her age taking her the most cultured places she could imagine? Of course in real life, the older man wasn’t as dashing as Peter Sarsgaard — he wouldn’t need to pick up a schoolgirl after orchestra practice.

Carey Mulligan plays a giggle-happy teenager better than I thought any 24-year-old could. She is extremely cute and charming (as she is in real life, as evidenced by an interview I saw on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson), but also a childish innocence and that false sense of arrogance teenagers have. School is worthless! I want to travel the world with my handsome, worldly sugar daddy! Ok, have fun fucking up your life. Oh wait, all you need to do once everything goes south is then appeal to a teacher you horribly insulted and then study for a while for your exams and everything will be alright. I guess that actually happened, so I probably can’t rip on the ending too much.

But yeah, Carey Mulligan was robbed. At least the BAFTAs got it right.

Related posts:

  1. I Watch Movies Sometimes: 2010 Foreign Edition
  2. I Watch Movies Sometimes
  3. Oscars Outsourced to India