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Monday Movies: Post-Oscar

I’m actually writing this as the Oscars are airing and I have no idea who is winning — indeed, my interest in the Oscars is at an all-time low this year, to the point where I have decided that being a major Oscar contender is a sign that a movie is not worth seeing. What sealed the deal for me was when I saw the preview for The King’s Speech, during which I remarked to The Girlfriend that it was the stupidest premise for a movie I’d ever seen, and then saw the next day that the New York Times had wall-to-wall coverage of the new Oscar favorite.

People keep telling me it’s great, but you know what Oscar nominee really is great? The Kids Are Alright. We watched it this weekend and were both moved — and both surprised, as the major themes turned out to be very different than what the preview had led us to suspect. But there may be no way to portray it accurately without producing major spoilers.

A movie that wasn’t great was the last step in my Coen Brothers Completism project: Intolerable Cruelty. The beginning was often hilarious and the end was funny as well, but the middle seriously dragged. I have to say that Catherine Zeta Jones either isn’t a very good comic actor or else was brutally misused here. What’s heartbreaking to me about the mediocre Coen Brothers movies (basically this one and Ladykillers) is that they’re still obviously Coen Brothers movies — not in the sense that they become parodies of themselves, but in the sense that their weaker films may actually provide a starting point for assessing the flaws of their more successful ones. I haven’t yet fully fleshed out this theory yet, though.

How about you, my loving readers? Did you watch anything of note this week? Do you want to talk about the Oscars? That’d be okay, too.

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February 27, 2011 - Posted by | Monday Movies

12 Comments

  1. We’ve only seen three movies nominated for “Best Picture” in the past five years. Two of them (“Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Departed”) were complete shit. “District 9” was alright, but a little long.

    Now, more importantly, what we watched this past week. Last night we watched “MacGruber.” Certainly not the best movie ever, but the shit humour was great. I especially liked the use of “upper decker,” which was masterful. Perhaps it was last week, but we also saw “House on Haunted Hill.” Admittedly, we likely never would have watched it if not for Bill Hader’s Vincent Price sketch, which is likely the only funny regular character on SNL for the past decade. Other than MacGruber, of course. Finally, we watched “Death Race” again on TV. Turns out we do this weekly. I still don’t know what it means, but I really like it when Hennessy says, “Ok, cocksucker, fuck with me and we’ll see who shits on the sidewalk” (link)

    Comment by Craig | February 27, 2011

  2. I liked all the Oscar-nominated movies I saw this year, which I take as a sign of aging boringly. The King’s Speech was a movie that smelled badly of Oscar from a great distance away, but up close was funny and moving — great script, two great performances, fuck me if I didn’t just feel great sympathy for a King of England (and, if the critical historical context pieces are correct, as non-premature an anti-Fascist as there ever was). Also cheers to The Kids Are All Right, which is especially good as yet another, more complex revision of the one movie Lisa Cholodenko keeps making.

    I would have won the Oscar pool if Annette Bening had won Best Actress as predicted by Deadline Hollywood. Curses.

    Comment by k-sky | February 28, 2011

  3. I saw Blue Valentine last night, despite being warned off of it by my several of my friends. It was pretty good! Also, surprisingly porny! Also, not nearly as sad as everyone said.

    I watched the Oscars telecast this year, which I almost never do, partly because I’ve actually seen a lot of the nominated films, which almost never happens to me. I liked The King’s Speech, as I mentioned before in this forum. It was sweet, formulaic, predictable, and very nicely executed. I like western genre films, and True Grit was an excellent exemplar thereof. Black Swan was great, but the experience of watching it wasn’t fun, and I never want to see it again. I had no interest whatsoever in watching The Social Network, and 127 Hours sounded thoroughly unpleasant. I missed The Kids Are Alright. There were a lots more movies nominated. Are there really 10 good movies in a year? I’m skeptical.

    Anne Hathaway and the million costume changes! She looked amazing.

    Comment by jms | February 28, 2011

  4. I liked ‘The Kids’, saw it on a plane. Well, I liked it until the last 5 minutes, it was, and is, beyond me why the father needed such a bad exit. Sometimes, you just have to dare to go with the feel good to the maximum.

    Comment by Guido Nius | February 28, 2011

  5. 2/21/11 – Kuroneko – Shindo
    2/23/11 – Untamed – Naruse
    2/24/11 – Umoregi – Oguri
    2/26/11 – Miss Oyu – Mizoguchi

    Was going to watch Ozu’s Tokyo Twilight last night, but it’s 2:20 of dreary, and it was too late.

    Watched The Secret in Their Eyes Thursday, Argentinian cop-movie 2009, Oscar foreign-film winner, beat Haneke’s White Ribbon. Two movies usefully compared, bourgeois vs high art? I might have voted for Secret, accessibility is a factor.
    Ricardo Darin, actor, is a marvel, and Aura is recommended.

    Was pleased with the Foreign film winner this year, I haven’t seen this one, but Suzanne Bier’s 2006 After the Wedding was wonderful.

    Asian films apparently invisible, Korea’s Poetry and Secret Sunshine don’t even get nominations

    Comment by bob mcmanus | February 28, 2011

  6. i just wondered why the british movie is in the main nomination, _the king’s speech_ or was it a hollywood production, have no idea and all other foreign movies are in a separate category
    i think i’ll like that movie, the boxing movie i’ll never watch perhaps cz skip anything with murder or obvious violence in the description and all others hopefully will find some time this year, cz again i didn’t watch any of the nominations except _dogtooth_ and _ i am love_, both seemed like that, subpar
    i didn’t watch any movies last week and anne hathaway changing the dresses so many times i was to recall hungry children of the world but fell asleep then

    Comment by read | February 28, 2011

  7. I thought all the dresses from the Oscars were like the Super Bowl T-shirts that list the wrong team as the champs and were shipped off to developing countries.

    Let’s see, this week I made more use of Netflix streaming and watched The Warriors and Daybreakers. I remembered watching the former as a kid and thinking it was ridiculous. However, if you can get past the humorous themes of the various gangs – there was one dressed like mimes at the beginning – it was a pretty simple, enjoyable movie. A gang has to fight its way back to Coney Island. The scene where the gang is sitting in the subway train, tired and dirty, and has to watch as the happy prom dates look them over was very well done, I thought.

    I had originally paid to see Daybreakers in the theater, but made the mistake of doing so after a dinner with a good special on pitchers. I was shocked to see how much of the movie I slept through the first time. I’m not sure I realized Willem DaFoe was in it. The gore at the end of the movie felt like they were trying to reach some vampire movie quota, but that sort of thing doesn’t really bother me so I enjoyed it as a whole.

    As for the Oscar nominees, I saw Inception, Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland at the theaters. It’s amusing to me the range of the quality of movies that can claim to be Oscar winners. I guess I don’t really care about the Oscars because they’re fairly quickly ignored as a measure of a movie’s quality. I mean, does anybody still really think Forrest Gump was better than Pulp Fiction?

    Maybe the Oscars should be like the Baseball Hall of Fame and wait until the movie’s been out for five years so it can be more appropriately judged.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | February 28, 2011

  8. Anne Hathaway? Really? Her?

    Comment by Craig | February 28, 2011

  9. The Kids Are All Right SPOILER ALERT

    it was, and is, beyond me why the father needed such a bad exit

    If Annette Bening had been a man, she would have shot him, so not such a bad exit. More to the point, the daughter brings her biodad’s jacket with her to college; a scrap of redemption for after the story’s end.

    Comment by k-sky | March 1, 2011

  10. Thanks for pointing out the jacket, k-sky, I missed that and it at least shows us where biodad stands from Joni’s perspective.

    I really liked that they prioritized the theme of family/ marriage over lifestyle. I also appreciated two moments where the script was really direct. First when the son asks why they watch male gay porn, and then when Annette confronts Julianne about whether she’s straight now because she had an affair with a man. You really feel the betrayal because she hasn’t just slept with someone else, but outside her sexual orientation. Simultaneously I felt sympathetic to Julianne’s character for being put on the spot about her identity. How would anyone in that situation be able to explain it?

    There were a number of cheesy moments I could have done without, and the characters constantly referring to each other as ‘honey’ belabored the point that they were intimate. But the scene when they’re eating together at biodad’s house– and Annette sings to ‘All I Want’– is devastating.

    Compared to the other Best Picture noms, a couple which I liked, this movie was far more subtle (I’m looking at you, Aronofsky) and refreshingly honest.

    Comment by ebolden | March 1, 2011

  11. My wife and I watched this, though I had hoped not to watch it, planning instead to make it a night after watching BBC’s Being Human. As usual, I looked for meaningful speeches that could somehow convey sincere gratitude for everyone who helped in maybe 15 secs and then some meaningful comments about art, morality, politics.

    We both liked King’s speech; I for its script and acting. Rush is almost a force of nature in his craft. I am an ardent anti-Royalist of Miltonian/Jeffersonian persuasion, so thought the plucking heart strings of sentiment for a coddled class and individual nagged me raw at times.

    I hoped Jeff Bridges would win Best Actor for his bloated, blow-fly rendition of a guy who could still learn how to care. I like Portman as a person but thought the film too much a Romantic rendition of what men (director and scriptwriter) think women should be, morally and spiritually and sexually.

    Comment by Charles D Miller | March 2, 2011

  12. @9: yes, I missed that as well. But if I had been Annette Bening, I wouldn’t have shot at all. I would not have liked him, but I would never have made it an issue between him and others who were not my lover.

    But héh, I’m just an average guy and far too peaceful for the real world, certainly as it is depicted in film.

    Comment by Guido Nius | March 4, 2011


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