Saturday, February 25, 2012

2011 Oscar Roundup

2011 was a rather strange year for movies, and that makes for a strange mix of Best Picture nominees. Perhaps strange isn't the word of choice for many, as by many accounts it was a weak year for movies. But I tend to enjoy the bad movies as much as the good one, as it gives me something to complain about.

I do have to agree to some extent, at least. With the exception of my favorite movie of 2011, I didn't really love any of the movies. The same is true of the Oscar winners. I have some favorites, but none that I'll really be rooting for. I have four that I will be actively rooting against, however. Let's discuss.


Midnight in Paris, The Descendents, and The Artist all made my top 10 list. I honestly believe that the race is between The Descendents and The Artist. I feel like Midnight in Paris came out too soon, so it lost the momentum. However, it's out on DVD/Blu, but it's still showing in some theaters. That's unprecedented for a non-special effects extravaganza. The Descendents is probably the more emotional choice, and maybe the best all around movie. The Artist is the most different of the movies, and being silent and black and white, the best look back at classic movies.

The Middle of the road.

Moneyball and Hugo were good, but definitely not great. My favorite part of Moneyball was reliving the A's win streak, but that's because I followed it closely and went to one of the games. I'm also nerdy enough to enjoy the math conversations between Hill and Pitt. I didn't like the pacing of Hugo. It looks beautiful and is a great nod to film events that should be made a part of our country's remembered history. But, well, meh.

The toilet.

Of the four movies that I really disliked, I would be least offended if the movie I hated the most won. Reread that sentence if necessary to follow it. The Tree of Life was pretentious crap, but it was ambitiously crappy. For that reason alone, it will hurt the least if it gets the award.

War Horse was an over manipulation of emotions. While The Descendents was emotional, it was because of someone dying and felt genuine. We were supposed to be swept away by a horse in War Horse, and one that was spectacular. Looked like just a horse to me. The kid who played the lead was not such a great actor with a strange voice.

The Help. It has many of the notes of a good movie. The acting is good. The subject is interesting. There are parts that I really liked. But there is way too much crap. The most egregious problem to me is that the characters are cartoons, especially Bryce Dallas Howard's villainous white lady - awful. There are MUCH better movies about the civil rights era. And there is a great movie about the help waiting to be told; I've heard that the book is excellent. But tell it from the point of the help. Show their stories - don't having them tell them (creative writing 101, day 1).

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was Extremely Band and Incredibly Wretched. Tom Hanks is strange, and not in a good way.The plot is contrived and ridiculous. I will admit that there is a small twist at the end that brought some things together and made the mother's character, played by Sandra Bullock, make more sense. But it was too late at that point. I have no clue why this movie was nominated or even liked. I'll start my own riot and looting in downtown Concord if this wins.