I married a creative, dynamic man with systematic tendencies. These are not a negative, per se, but they sometimes catch me off guard. The over-used example is that we need to watch the Olympics, without commercials, on the DVR…even if it’s a day after the particular competitions have aired. So, just figure out how to get through Thursday without someone telling you who won the gold in pairs figure skating. I guess in some circles that wouldn’t be a huge problem…
Anyway, one especially fun systematic initiative is the husband-driven quest to see all movies nominated for Best Picture before the Oscars air. Here are just a few of my thoughts on what I’ve seen so far.
Note: By virtue of the fact that they are nominated, I’m probably a lot harder on them than if I were to just discover them instant on Netflix.
War Horse: Yeah. Right. I’m not seeing this movie. At 30, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what’s going to make me miserable, and this movie has all the right ingredients. A horse on the battlefield? I can’t watch ANY historical war movie without getting totally preoccupied with the tertiary horse characters’ well being. Ryan saw this one solo.
The Artist: OK. Yeah, OK. It’s very beautiful and the female lead reminds me, charmingly, of a latter-day Shelly Duvall**. Emotionally, I got nothing from this piece and found the whole light-hearted suicide business to be kind of jarring and weird.
Midnight in Paris: Again, a very pretty movie. Also this time, a great story too! Beautiful setting, engaging story…really terrible dialogue. I submit that maybe I am missing something. Is this Woody Allen’s thing? At one point the purposefully one-dimensional character played by Rachel McAdams says to her fiance, “cease with the idle chatter.” That’s in the course of a casual hotel room conversation in 2010. I get the character sketches of the historical figures, but the present day characters never had a human conversation. Which is odd. Is it on purpose? If someone could explain this to me I’d love that. Special note: Adrian Brody was FAR and away the best thing about this movie. His performance was the one truly spectacular thing I picked up on.
Hugo: Love. I mean, taking into account my tastes and who I am, this is no surprise. But how lovely. This is one of the two nominated movies that made me feel something.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: I read this book and loved the language and style, but I won’t see the movie. I don’t want to feel PAIN! This was another Ryan-solo trip.
Moneyball: Oh, Brad, you’re aging! But still so cool. This was enjoyable and tight and engaged me in a topic that I usually find mind-numbingly boring. All of the performances were very good. This movie was very good. According to me.
The Help: I didn’t want to see this movie, but I did. I heard some media criticism at some point about this being the story of a white girl sweeping in to save the down-trodden, black, female population of a southern town. That gave me a funny feeling so I didn’t want to watch. However, it’s good. Very good. I got invested in the characters who were all gorgeously played, and I got all riled up at the injustice even though it’s a story that’s been told in many many different ways over the past few decades. It still felt fresh. That’s quite a feat. Weirdly, this movie almost lost me in the victory laps. The point is made, the battle fought,and then the film runs around the track a few too many times screaming “I’m going to Disney World!” I just wish they’d quit while ahead.
The last two I have yet to see:
The Tree of Life: I saw the last five minutes of this and that was all. Some of my arty-smartest friends loved this movie, so I’m not going to pass judgement till I see the whole thing. I just hope all those nice people get off the beach and aren’t eaten by a smoke monster.
The Descendents: Scheduled for this weekend. Clooney, don’t let me down…
**OMG you guys, Faerie Tale Theater is on Hulu! I can’t express to you how much more exciting this is to me than the Academy Awards. I just found out when I googled Shelly Duvall. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!!!