I am a lucky, lucky woman. For yet another year, I have seen pretty much every movie that has come out in the past few months. Well, not every movie. I haven't seen any movies where people get cloven in two with axes or where dogs' heads rotate upside-downly in a most upsetting manner or where unborn twins send messages in mirrors … or really anything at all in that whole "WHAT THE HOLY HELL?" category. I was going to go see Saw 4 but having missed Saw 2 and 3 I just was worried I wouldn't be able to follow the plot line.
Anywhoo … With the Oscars just around the corner, I thought I'd give my run-down of the movies. Not that anyone would care about my opinion of the movies. But here it is anyway. By the way, while I'm at it, I've never gotten that whole thing … I mean, just because I like something doesn't mean you will. Example: Seven Pounds. And just because you like a movie, doesn't mean I will. Example: The English Patient. Lord Gosh Almighty I hated that movie. Hated it. Hated. And man oh man I felt like I was the only person in America and possibly the world who felt that way. Which is pretty unusual since I'm normally a pretty easy sell on movies. Not as easy as The Hub who would have to actually be physically injured by a movie for him not to like it but overall I usually can find something fairly enjoyable about the movie. Oh but, and let's just get this out right here and right now … I did NOT like Gran Torino. I know I just may get myself strung up by the Clint crowd (actually, I'm not worried, I can outrun most of the Clint Eastwood fans out there – especially the ones on their scooters) but I have to say it. The only thing worse than The English Patient was Gran Torino. Pa-tooy! The acting was wooden, the dialogue was forced, and Clint Eastwood's portrayal … ulg! Even his voice was awful. It was all scratchy and throaty and weird. It was like he ate a handful of dirty hot rocks and then the rocks turned into little tiny aliens that coagulated into one big alien and the big alien digested Clint from the inside out leaving only the Alien Clint behind – and also the alien is a SUCKY actor.
But I digress. My point was …here are my thoughts about the movies up for the main Oscar categories. First category, best picture.
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' - saw it, liked it. Think I mostly liked it because I've never heard the story told before. Meaning the story of a man aging backwards. Of course, I've never seen the story of a lot of things told before.. that doesn't mean it would make a good movie. The Curious Case of Rotten Cheese, for example, wouldn't really interest me … no matter how it aged.
'Frost/Nixon' - saw it, loved it. Made me see loafers in a whole new light. Also of note: I haven't used the word "loafer" since I paired it with "penny" back in the 1990s.
'Milk' - saw it, wow'd by it, totally drew me in and made me miss ringer t-shirts and funky 70's mustaches.
'The Reader' – saw it, moved by it. I read the book a long time ago and forgot what it was about. P.S. Ms. Winslet has nice boobies.
'Slumdog Millionaire' – saw it, loved it. want to marry it. Jenne's pick for best picture. Because it is the best picture (and, let's face it, the best title, too). Also, even though it had nothing at all to do with the movie plot, the dance sequence at the end of the film is all that and a bag of baba ganoush.
Let's move on to Best Director. Okay, I'm going to fess up to something here, I just don't understand this category. I mean, I think I can understand the criteria in other categories (best picture should be … well, the picture that was the best. And best actor is the actor who acted the best) but in this one … how would I KNOW a director was doing some mighty fine directing? I mean other than it ends up being a good movie which means it should be in the best picture category, right? And also, shouldn't this be a category the actors vote on? Oh wait … do they? Who awards these awards anyway … oh hold up … It's the academy right? The Academy Awards. Lord, I'm so Oscar-retarded. Okay so I guess I could say this best director should be won by the person who got the best out of the actors. But how am I supposed to know that? Unless I knew for sure these actors were total crap and then was blown away by them in this role I just don't think I can attribute the good acting to the directing. Don't get me wrong … I think many a bad situation can be remedied with some good direction… and this applies equally well to movie scripts, leadership and to sex. So I'm all for good direction … I just don't know how to evaluate it in this situation. Still, that won't keep me from choosing a winner here.
Danny Boyle for 'Slumdog Millionaire' (sidebar … every time I see the name Danny I think about the time my mother told me if I'd been born a boy she would have named me Danny. Wow. Talk about a life changer. "Hey, who's that who just got his ass kicked at lunch?" "Oh that's Danny." "Again?" See?)
Stephen Daldry for 'The Reader'
David Fincher for 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Ron Howard for 'Frost/Nixon'
Gus Van Sant for 'Milk' (now Gus … THAT'S a name I could have rocked as a boy. "Hey, why are you laughing so hard?" "Oh that Gus just cracked the best joke ever!" "Hey, who should we award the coolest dude award to?" "You need to ask? Gus! Of course!" "Hey, who was that who befriended that geek, Danny, and turned him into a normal boy?" "GUS!" See?)
Um …. I pick …. Uhhhh … Frost/Nixon. Because I still think that Richy Cunningham is a cutie-pie
Richard Jenkins, 'The Visitor' - oh this was a great movie. I really loved it. It was heartwarming and unexpected. And Richard Jenkins did a wonderful job. I'm really glad he got this nomination.
Frank Langella, 'Frost/Nixon' - I think it says a lot about Langella that I left the movie thinking, "That Nixon … what a neat guy."
Sean Penn, 'Milk' - I was maybe 15 minutes into the movie when I stopped evaluating whether or not Sean Penn was doing a good job. From that point on, I was sold.
Brad Pitt, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' - you know … he's cute at pretty much any age. I'd say I like Brad Pitt forwards or backwards but that sounds so dirty (which is why I said it!!! Ba-da-bing!)
Mickey Rourke, 'The Wrestler' – yes. yes yes yes. This movie is phenomenal. And Mickey Rourke is my pick for best actor. I would like to see him win. But I kinda sorta hope he comes down with a mild case of lock jaw right before the ceremony just so he doesn't thank his dog like he did at the Golden Globes. Cause that was straight-up weird.
Anne Hathaway, 'Rachel Getting Married' - oof this movie made me U N C O M F O R T A B L E . In the good way .. not in the underwear up my b-crack way … I thought Hathaway did a phenomenal job in this movie. I liked her and I hated her. She frustrated the hell out of me and was, I felt, totally believable.
Angelina Jolie, 'Changeling' - whoops. Guess what? I didn't see this one. This movie happened to fall during my 3 Day tour and I had exactly no time to see movies. I will say this though, I think Angelina is a two-face. Not disloyal but she's one of those people who looks so great one second that I want to dye my hair black, disown my father and adopt 12 babies from other countries too and then the next second I think she's so unattractive I want to run screaming from the screen while gouging my eyes out.
Melissa Leo, 'Frozen River' -- Hey. Was this even PLAYING anywhere near me? Sorry folks, another miss for me.
Meryl Streep, 'Doubt' - oooh … did you see this movie? Man oh man and I don't even like Meryl Streep (I know, I know) but she was incredible in this movie. Is it a forgone conclusion here that she'll land this one? I don't know. She was awfully good. And awfully good at being awful. Not just awful but awfully awful. Awful. Awful … damn. Said it too much. The word has lost all meaning for me.
Kate Winslet, 'The Reader' - Nah. I mean, she did a good job but I don't know. Maybe I've seen too many Nazi movies lately. I'm sort of bored with it.
I don't know who to pick. For me it comes down between Anne and Meryl. Meryl probably deserves it but if there was a Most Improved category, I think Anne would take it. How's that for a left-handed compliment? I'm sure Ms Hathaway would award me the Shove-It-Up-Your-Rear award.
Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, 'Milk'
Robert Downey Jr., 'Tropic Thunder'
Philip Seymour Hoffman, 'Doubt'
Heath Ledger, 'The Dark Knight'
Michael Shannon, 'Revolutionary Road'
I'm getting tired talking about movies (you: and talking and talking) I can't imagine how you feel reading this nonsense. But hang tough, we're almost done. This will go to Heath – and he was incredible. In fact, they were all incredible. And I love it that a comedy showed up in here somewhere. By the way, that movie "Revolutionary Road" … Egads. Another not-so-feel-good movie. There seemed to be a lot of depressing movies this year. This one was the icing on the depressing cake. I really felt like the snack bar should have been selling Prozac instead of milk duds for this flick.
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, 'Doubt'
Penelope Cruz, 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'
Viola Davis, 'Doubt'
Taraji P. Henson, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'
Marisa Tomei, 'The Wrestler'
I'm going to go out on a limb and give this to Viola Davis in 'Doubt'. Mostly because she had the snot factor. Anyone who cries on screen and has not only tears but also a disgustingly runny nose usually walks away with it. The Oscar I mean, not the nose. Well, they walk away with that too – unless they're Michael Jackson <rim shot> Thank you folks, try the veal.
Best Animated Feature Film
'Kung Fu Panda'
Duh. Wall-E. I saw all of these movies and I liked them all. I avoided Kung-Fu Panda for a long time but it turns out to be pretty good. I think it was the eternal optimist part of Po (the panda) that made it so great and heartwarming. Come to think of it, that's kind of the theme for all of this year's animated films. But of the three, I really loved Wall-E. It was brilliantly done and I really enjoyed the story line and didn't even mind the in-your-face environmental message.
I know there are other categories … costuming, score, etc. but I just don't have it in me to think about those. I have one more group of movies to see – The Shorts – and will take care of that this weekend at the artsy fartsy theater near me. I can't wait. I love shorts. I think they are rarely given the acknowledgement they deserve. Which is funny for me to say that when I just dedicated a whole post to full length movies and nothing to shorts. Huh. Irony.
And this concludes my first and most likely only movie review post. Reviewing these movies was much more intense than I thought. This reminds me, remind me sometime to tell you about my run in with Roger Ebert.
One last thing, if you can see only one movie between now and the Oscars … make sure it ISN'T Gran Torino.