Once again, The Boyfriend and I have enlisted ourselves to suffer through the annual AMC Best Picture Showcase. That is, we are watching all 10 nominees for Best Picture in two consecutive Saturdays. Last Saturday was week 1, and so I’m a little late in posting this, but better late than never, here is the play by play.
Toy Story 3
The premise here is the same as the first two Toy Story movies; Woody and the gang have to get back to Andy, with all sorts of adventure along the way. It was cute, kinda funny. I laughed, but I didn’t cry. Buzz Lightyear in Spanish was pretty funny, and the sad tale of how Chuckles lost his owner was probably the highlight. But why is Toy Story 3 nominated for Best Picture? Best Animated Feature MAYBE… but where that’s concerned I wouldn’t say it was as good as How to Train Your Dragon, not even close. So I’m not really sure I get it.
Well, I’ve talked with a few other folks who have seen this, and I’ve come to the conclusion that whether or not you remember the Aron Ralston story actually happening back in 2003 can definitely influence your reaction to this movie. I remember the Aron Ralston incident in all its gory detail. So for me, watching 127 Hours was an exercise in controlling my nausea. I knew what was going to happen, and when, and how, and how it all would end; so I basically made myself sick thinking about what I was going to have to watch. The Boyfriend, on the other hand, did not remember anything about Aron Ralston, and therefore enjoyed the movie thoroughly, blissfully ignorant of the decision Aron would eventually make until the moment presented itself.
Aside from the self-induced nausea, I did think that the movie itself was really beautiful; the music, scenery, and visuals were great. I’m not sure how closely the movie adaptation of Aron’s experience while trapped in Blue John Canyon paralleled the actual event, but I think the story was told in an interesting way. I liked the way his friends and family were incorporated, and how he recognized that he was in his predicament as a result of his own hubris. I will say that I had a hard time seeing James Franco as Aron Ralston; I think an actor who isn’t currently flooding the motion picture scene would have better served the role. Also, it took me almost the whole movie, but I eventually figured out where I had seen the actress who plays Aron’s love interest, Rana, before. Fleur Delacour! Whew, that would have bothered me for days. Or at least until I got home and Googled it.
The Kids Are Alright
It was Alright. Mark Ruffalo is cute. Annette Benning has aged well. Julianne Moore has great hair. But as for their characters? I had a hard time sympathizing with any of them. A couple has kids with the help of a donor, and then they proceed to freak out when the kids meet up with the donor 18 years later and want him involved in their life? Moms, did you not think this through? The apparent shock and surprise tells me you did not. Let this movie be a lesson to couples conceiving with the help of a donor: Kids, and people in general, are curious about where they come from. So you should not be surprised when the third parent shows up, in fact; perhaps you should plan for it, such that you avoid the shock and surprise. And let this movie be a lesson to sperm/egg donors: You could have kids out there. Lots of them. Be prepared should they come and find you at any time. And while we’re at it, let this movie be a lesson to drinkers: If you drink too much, too often, or if drinking makes you act like an asshole; then quit drinking. And lastly, let this movie be a lesson to adulterers: Keep it in your pants, unless you are completely prepared to abandon your marriage/relationship, and possibly have your kids abandon you. Ok, I’m off my soapbox now.
Well, this one is probably my favorite of the bunch so far. I’m a sucker for a good period piece, and for the Coen Brothers. Hailee Stienfeld was great as Mattie Ross, the young girl who seeks to avenge her father’s death. Jeff Bridges was annoying as the drunk and belligerent Rooster Cogburn, but then I think that was probably the point. And while I’m generally not a Matt Damon fan (or maybe I’m just not a Jason Bourne fan), he was surprisingly good as LaBoeuf. True Grit was beautiful to look at, and thoroughly enjoyable. Its no A Serious Man, my favorite Coen Brothers movie in recent years, but pretty darned good. Believe it or not, I don’t remember ever seeing the original True Grit, but now I want to. Time to update the Netflix queue.
Oh goodness. Well, if you ever wanted to feel better about your own dysfunctional family, this is the movie for you. I’m not really sure why this movie was made, to be honest. Can filmmakers not find more interesting subjects than would be boxers with white trash families? What with the drugs, drinking, enabling, skanky clothes, girl fights, big hair, smoking, poor parenting… should I go on? I couldn’t really find it in myself to get behind any of these characters. The best thing about this movie? Christian Bale wearing MC Hammer pants. So hilarious. At least some terrible clothing got a second life as a result of this movie. Glass half full, right?
Alright, so not a lot of positives here… lets hope tomorrow’s batch has some more promising candidates. What’s on the agenda?
The Social Network
The King’s Speech