Award Season, how do I love thee?

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Let me count the ways. Award season is so much fun. You all know my love and adoration for popular culture (movies especially!) so I’m sure you can imagine how excited I am that the first two months of the year are always dedicated to reviewing, critiquing, and talking about movies. Just splendid. I know I have been reviewing Best Picture winners prior to an event but I figured for the mother of all awards we’d simply celebrate and I’d give you some fun facts! You know, interesting information you can share at parties to make yourself seem more informed and intellectual.

The Basics
– The Academy Award statuette is 8.5lbs and 13.5in tall
– The Academy Awards began in 1929
– The name “Oscar” comes from Margaret Herrick, the academy librarian, who thought the statue looked like her uncle Oscar. (or so they say…)
– They were aired on a Sunday for the first (and ever since!) in 1999

The -Est’s

– Walt Disney has won the most Oscars at 26 statuettes
– Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won all 11 awards for which it was nominated. This along with Ben-Hurr and Titanic hold the title of most awards won in one year
– Titanic was nominated 14 times in its year
– Meryl Streep has been nominated the most times with 13
– Adrien Brody is the youngest to win Best Actor. He was 29 at the time
– The youngest actress to win an Oscar was Tatum O’Neal. She was 10 when she won in 1973.

The Firsts

– Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman to win an Oscar (1940); Sydney Poitier was the first black man (1963).
– Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win Best Director in 2010 (you go girl!)
– The first technicolor telecast of the Oscars was in 1966

The Impressive “Did You Know”‘s

Beauty and the Beast, Up and Toy Story 3 are the only animated movies that have been nominated for Best Picture
– The Godfather: Part II  is the only sequel to have won Best Picture
– Seven of the Best Actress winners in the last 11 years have been based on real people
– In 1932 Wallace Beery and Fredric March were tied for Best Actor

The Speeches

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Who doesn’t love a good montage?

February 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

My friend Meghan just posted on her blog today and it gave me the inspiration to finally sit down and write this post. So thanks. Plus I’d rather do this than outline my case study presentation on a neck injury. Actually I’d rather do anything except that. Irregardless (which isn’t a word but it will make Meghan laugh), I’d like to give you a fun little post.

There’s nothing I love more than a great make over montage in a movie. Seriously though. They’re fun and exciting and you get to see a really great transformation that ends up with a very attractive individual and everyone likes to look at attractive people. Am I right?

She’s All That
Sorry. Predictable. But it’s a classic and that red dress looks fantastic on her! Plus my inner 13 yr old just goes crazy for Freddie Prince.

Princess Diaries
I love this movie so much. Her makeover is probably my all time fave. I mean those brows, that hair. Phenomenal transformation.

Miss Congeniality
These movie make up artists have a serious talent in making attractive people look ugly. Even Sandra Bullock, the total babe she is, can look a hot mess.

Crazy, Stupid, Love
Anything involving Ryan Gosling is fine by me.


And Then?

February 3, 2012 § 4 Comments

Alright. We’ve something to discuss here. Let me preface this by saying if you plan to see any of the movies discussed this evening (Another Earth, Beginners, 50/50, The Romantics, Door in the Floor) and do not wish to know how it ends, stop reading right now. But really. Because we’re talking about final scenes!

As I’m sure you are all aware, I love watching indie films. I’m all about the little, baby independent movies that no one has heard of. Sadly, I have a soft spot for the romancy ones. But I digress. Fortunately, I have watched a significant amount of movies in the past week or so. Yay, Redbox!! And I have been seeing a trend. Many indie movies end ambiguously. Like you need to figure out where the story was going once the credits roll. You hope for the best, but there is never a firm confirmation. You just assume. I was ok with this for my indie films. They’re artsy and interpretive and the directors want to make their audience “really think about the film”. Fine, I’ll think. I like to do that. But now, the mainstream producers/directors/writers are catching on to this artful technique and taking it out of control. Let’s take a look!

The Romantics
The Premise
This is a semi-independent film. Little film, big stars. Katie Holmes and Josh Duhamel to name a few (and a bunch of people you would recognize if you saw them). This follows a group of lifelong friends that got the name “the romantics” because they all had love affairs with each other. Long story short, Holmes is in her best friend’s wedding but is in love with the groom.

The Final Scene
Everyone is at the wedding, Holmes has had relations (yes, I’m 65) with the groom. The ceremony commences. It starts raining. Everyone runs inside. Holmes and Duhamel remain standing in the rain laughing. Is the wedding called off? Are Holmes and the bride still friends? Does Duhamel still love his fiancee? See? What do we do with that ending?

Another Earth
The Premise
I loved this movie. It was beautiful and poetic and deep and sad. But I’m trying to make a point here. Rhoda, the heroine in our story, kills a family in a drunk driving accident leaving only the husband alive. She was distracted because a second Earth – Earth 2 – was discovered. Turns out, it’s a direct reflection of our Earth. The movie then poses many questions about what would you do if you could meet you? What would you talk about? The thought of traveling to Earth 2 becomes a hope of a second chance for Rhoda. A way to find herself.

The Final Scene
Rhoda wins a trip to Earth 2. To go meet herself. The last thing we see is a head shot of her face. Camera pans around and we find out she is standing in front of her Earth 2 self. Did she accept herself after the terrible thing she did? Did she forgive herself after all this time?  Such a deep movie and all I want to see is a small smile on her face to put my heart at ease that she had reached forgiveness. Is this too much to ask?

The Door in the Floor
The Premise
Jeff Bridges is a dysfunctional dad/writer/painter/squash player. The movie begins with Bridges and his wife deciding to separate. They had many marital problems after their two sons were killed in a severe car accident. He hires a young intern to drive him to his appointments and book signings and illustration meetings. Bridges is a real dirtball. Yadda, yadda, yadda his wife takes everything from him even the hundreds of photos of his sons hung around the house – the only thing keeping him grounded.

The Final Scene
Bridges finishes playing squash in the top floor of his shed. He sits down in complete exhaustion looking dejected. He opens a small hatch in the floor – the door in the floor (you see what they did there?) – and walk down the stairs. You’re left with an empty squash court. Granted, we find he wrote a children’s book about a mother wanting to protect her child from “the door in the floor” aka the scary world. So there’s some serious symbolism. Ok, this wasn’t a great example, but it’s still a little ambiguous right?

Beginners
The Premise
Here we go. We’re getting into mainstream. Beginners is up for a bunch of Oscar’s and Christopher Plummer has been sweeping up in previous award shows. Rightfully so, he did a nice job. So Plummer, as an old man, comes out of the closet to his son, Ewan McGregor. The movie then follows McGregor’s emotional journey through this and his father’s death. He runs into a French girl (the girl from Inglourious Bastards) and they have a little romance. She’s a hot mess, lives in hotel rooms, stays in town for a month and then runs off to another city. McGregor’s a wreck, lost his dad who was able to find true, he still hasn’t found that lucky lady. They’re quite a pair.

The Final Scene
After finding out French girl didn’t move back to New York like she said she would, McGregor professes his love. Turns out, she’s into him to. They’re sitting in her hotel room next to each other on the bed. She looks over at him and says “What’s next?” So I suppose they’re together? Yes. But she’s so fleeting! They’re going to run around the city and she’ll leave. So they’re not together. But I know she said she loves him. They’re together. Yes. Come on! Give me a little something!

50/50
The Premise
This just came out. And I just watched it last night. Joe Gordon-Levitt is dreamy as ever and I want to marry him. He plays a guy, Adam, that gets cancer. It’s the story of friends and family coping with someone they love having a terminal illness. He’s got some issues of his own, well, because he’s dying. So he starts seeing a therapist, Kathryn (Anna Hendricks). Yadda, yadda, yadda he has a meltdown and realizes Kathryn should be in his life forever. (Side note: there is a moment where he comes out of his surgery, cancer free, and talks to Kathryn. He says “I’d like to make you pancakes.” Adorable.)

The Final Scene
Adam’s hair is grown back and his best friend (Seth Rogen) is applying his scar cream to the massive surgery scar down his spine. Doorbell rings, Kathryn is there for a date. Rogen leaves, Kathryn and Adam stand in the dining room smiling at each other. She says “Now what?”. He pauses. Smiles. Credits. Come on! You know what would’ve been perfect? What I would’ve accepted as a sufficient, sure ending? She says “Now what?” He says “I’ll make you some pancakes.” I should be a writer. All job offers can be sent to my assistant. But really, I need a little more assurance.

 

I need to let all my movie lovers – and literature lovers, too! – know that I love analyzing film, and I love symbolism and imagery. So many of these endings are indeed poetic and beautiful and meaningful. But sometimes I just need a kiss at the end of the movie that says, don’t worry, everything ended the way it should have. Maybe it’s commitment issues. Maybe I just want Joe Gordon-Levitt to be happy. Who’s with me?

Go Watch a Movie: Shakespeare in Love

January 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Turns out the SAG awards are tomorrow! Hopefully I’ll get to watch them, but forgive me if I miss them. At least you’re getting this post! Super fast update on the life of the writer: first week of class down and things are going well. Busy as ever, but nevertheless things are good. I watched 4 new movies this weekend. And will review them by request! – Another Earth, Our Idiot Brother, Beginners, Door in the Floor. Or I’ll just pick one in the next week or so and just write a little ditty. But I digress. Onward!

Tonight’s movie won best picture in 1998. Yes, I was 7. Spectacular film that so many people forget about. Everyone and their acting school roommate are in this movie, but not in a Valentine’s Day way. Like in a “Geoffrey-Rush-invited-all-his-friends” way. A poetic story of how Will Shakespeare might have written Romeo and Juliet– a beautiful, inspirational romance, a fantastic cast, the perfect mix of romance and witty comedy. Judi Dench is the queen of the world. Gwyneth Paltrow is charming as usual.

In the scene below, the cast is performing Romeo and Juliet for the first time and their Juliet just hits puberty and no longer has his high pitched girly voice. Gwyneth Paltrow – who had been practicing under cover as a man for weeks gets called to the stage and for the first time a woman performs in the theater.

In other Oscar news:

– Cate Blanchett was nominate for “Elizabeth” and Judi Dench was nominated for “Shakespeare in Love” – each for playing the same character, Queen Elizabeth I. Only once before had two actors been nominated in the same year for playing the same character: Kate Winslet and Gloria Stuart for playing Rose in “Titanic”

– This was the first year The Oscar’s were aired on a Sunday

– Roberto Benigni makes the best acceptance speech ever for being in “Life is Beautiful”

Golden Globes 2012

January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Such a bland title today. I was pleasantly surprised with last night’s awards. Again, I am not up-to-date with many of most of the movies that were nominated (damn you limited release movies and empty bank account!). So let’s discuss a few thoughts:

– Ricky Gervais was fantastic. Just enough ridicule to make you feel uncomfortable but not embarrassed for him. However, as the night progressed, his jokes just got sloppy.

– The presenters were delightful and had just enough banter. Well done, banter writers.

– The speeches.. were not so great. Almost every acceptance speech was lengthy and boring and wordy and unnecessary. But George Clooney, oh George, he was classy and well spoken and short and charming. Let’s date? (see what I did there? I’m respecting his choice not to marry)

Helen Mirren is still smokin’ hot

– Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie look at each other like there is no one else on the planet. Every time one of them was on stage, the other smiled like they’ve never seen anyone so lovely. True love and adoration do still exist in Hollywood.

– Tina Fey is the funniest person on the planet. Hands down.

– Modern Family should always win. They are a hilarious group of super good looking people.

– Peter Dinklage is a spectacular human being. And everyone should want to be friends with him

– Most everyone looked fantastic:

Go Watch a Movie: Braveheart

January 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Way back in the dark ages when Mel Gibson wasn’t walking the streets of Hollywood like a crazy drunk, he was actually a little decent in movies. Based on a true story, this movie tells the story of Scotland’s freedom from and triumph over Britain. Everything about this film gets me excited. The music, the filming, the writing. It’s all so liberating and motivating. It’s a beautiful story of a man’s love for his wife and nation.

The passion and determination William Wallace (Mel Gibson) has for his country’s people is inspiring and heartbreaking. This movie will bring you to tears I promise you.

 

In other news, my sincere apologies for no post on the People’s Choice Awards. It sucked so badly that I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it. However, tonight’s event is much larger and I will have plenty to say afterward I’m sure.

 

Go Watch a Movie: LOTR: The Return of the King and more Oscar’s fun

January 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

First, to all of you out there making bets that I wouldn’t post on time: hand over the cash, I’m giving you a review!

Second, People’s Choice Awards is on tomorrow night 9pm ET on CBS. Don’t miss it. And after you watch it you’re going to post your thoughts on this blog entry.  Deal? Excellent.

And now, the beginning of the best picture reviews. Beginning with 2003’s winner: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. To my knowledge you have not had the privilege of seeing my dorky side. But after this you’ll be able to see that I’m much cooler than you thought. And by cooler I mean kind of a nerd.

This movie, the only LOTR that won a best picture was fantastic. It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen it so you’ll have to forgive me some of the details. The cinematography and effects in this film are absolutely unreal. Something you can only understand by watching it.  The story line is gripping, emotional, shows incredible camaraderie and heart. In its year, this movie was nominated for 11 awards at the Oscar’s. And won every. single. one. Still don’t want to watch it? Orlando Bloom is a total dreamboat. Yeah I’m not a fan either. But, there’s a plethora of attractive men to look at it. Don’t knock the fantasy genre till you watch it. This is the kind of movie you just can’t hate.

In other 2003 Oscar news, Billy Crystal was hosting for the 8th time, his 9th being this year’s awards. Sophia Coppola (daughter of Francis Ford Coppola) became the first American woman to be nominated for directing with Lost in Translation. And Finding Nemo won for Best Animated Feature. Because, well, Pixar kicks ass.

There ya have it, the first edition of our Academy Award reviews. I’ll be tweeting during People’s Choice and blogging on Thursday!

I <3 award season (I swear I’m not 12).

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