Yay! It’s award season! I’m excited about the Academy Award noms even though Anthony Hopkins and Jaoquin Phoenix told me not to be. Even though I worship the ground Anthony Hopkins walks on (I’m not even sure why, I think I saw Meet Joe Black at a very impressionable age), I’m excited anyway. Jaoquin Phoenix’s opinion is entirely another matter, because no one listens to Jaoquin Phoenix, especially Gwyneth Paltrow. But whatever, I’m a lowly peasant who can’t even afford the free subscription to GOOP, so I’m gonna get my jolly on.
Ok I’m only going to talk about two of the movies I have seen that got nominated, but beware, SPOILERS BELOW!
Best Actor – Hugh Jackman
Best Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway
Best Film, Best Costume Design, Best Film Mixing (what the hell is Film Mixing? Is this a new category? Why do I not know this?)
UGGGGGGHHHH ANNE HATHAWAY. She is the WORST. Ok, no she’s not, but I h-h-haaaaaaaate her acting. It became apparent to me in this movie that she missed the mark as far as her career goes and should have been a Broadway musical star. Her acting is just WAY too overdone for film and it makes me cringe. I just end up yelling at the screen: “I can see you emoting, bitch!” and it just ruins it for me and everyone else in the theater . She’s like that drama-nerd in high school who got the lead in EVERY play and musical and then also had straight A’s and the teachers loved and you hated. She is basically my version of Liv Tyler in Empire Records, and I’m the emo head-shaved chick hating her silently in the background.
I first started hating her when she got nominated for Rachel Getting Married, which I didn’t see and maybe she deserved. But that was the year that they brought out all the old-school Hollywood A-listers to announce the nominees, and Shirley MacLaine got to announce Anne Hathaway and go on about how cool she is, and of course she overdid it because she’s Shirley MacLaine. And there’s Anne Hathaway in her chair all glowing and thanking Shirley and like blowing her kisses while she’s crying and shit and it was just TOO much. Ugh. Then a year or two later she hosted the academy awards with James Franco, and my feelings about that can be best described by the Great and Wise Gabe Delahaye of Videogum who summed it up best by saying she “took too many insufferable pills.” HAAAAAAAAA so on point Gabe, as always. Dial it down like twelve notches, Anne Hathaway.
Her nomination points to a failing in the Academy that ALWAYS nominates EVERYONE who sings in a movie and proves they aren’t tone deaf. Like the singing makes up for their shit acting somehow? No, that’s not how it works, Academy. You are WRONG. Hugh Jackman was nominated for the same reason, and he is ALSO over the top, but he plays Wolverine for chrissakes so no one expects so much from him. But, ugh, the scenes with both him AND Anne Hathaway just like exploded with saccharine. GO BACK TO BROADWAY, KIDDOS.
The movie itself was fine, although honestly I was bored. I don’t know what the musical is like because I’ve never seen it, but I really don’t think they did a great job adapting it to film. The great thing about film is you have more than 10 square feet of stage and set design to work with, so you can really create something sweeping and awe-inspiring. Les Miserables did NOT take advantage of the medium, however, so the audience has to spend their time staring only at the face of the person who is singing. Is that what the musical is like, for real? People just standing around singing?? BO-RING!
I will say that Amanda Seyfried was on point, and knocked it out of the park with both her singing, which is stellar, and her acting, which is perfect and understated as the medium of film demands. Also, the chick who played Eponine kicked ass on her solo “On My Own”; that was great. True confession: I’ve loved that song since Katie Holmes sang it to a clueless James Van Der Beek on that talent show episode of Dawson’s Creek. The song was a perfect pick, but whoaaaa Katie could not hit those high notes.
Silver Linings Playbook
Best Supporting Actor – Robert DeNiro
Best Supporting Actress – Jennifer Lawrence
Best Actor – Bradley Cooper
Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
This movie left me feeling kinda torn. I didn’t realize it was a “dramedy” (terrible word) and so when I started laughing early on I felt kind of guilty, because I knew it was about some guy who gets out of an institution and his life is in shambles. No one else was laughing at first, but by the end people were CRACKING up. And then I got that yicky feeling like we were all laughing at something that should be treated more delicately, namely, mental health and it’s portrayal and treatment in American culture. Chris Tucker’s character in this was a perfect example of the lack of sensitivity; he was Cooper’s friend who kept escaping from the looney bin and appeared in drive-by appearances only for comedic relief and to advance the plot. Tucker’s character was one-dimensional, and though entertaining, an insensitive and un-dynamic portrayal of someone struggling with mental illness.
I know Bradley Cooper’s character was diagnosed as Bipolar, but I felt like the only scenes that treated his illness fairly were the ones where he’s in session with his psychiatrist, in which he describes his experience and how he was handling the recent developments in his life. These were Cooper’s best scenes by far, and I was impressed by his range and ability. I went to see the movie with my friend Peter and we both agreed that his career has unfortunately limited by his douchebag face. Ok, that’s kind of harsh, but there’s something about his face that leads you to mistrust him, let alone the fact that he’s played the douche in several films (Wedding Crashers, The Hangover). I realized it’s the length of his nose that does it. Don’t ask me to elaborate on that.
The interesting part of this movie, which I felt could have been developed more, is that everyone else in this movie who was NOT diagnosed with a mental illness, is, in fact, their own brand of crazy. Bradley Cooper sees the world as it is, says what he feels, and reacts as is fitting to the distressing reality of his circumstances, whereas everyone else stuffs their crazy so far down that it manifests as neuroses. Robert De Niro plays the OCD Dad, the Mom is so far up the river of DE-NIAL that she thinks it’s totally ok to check her very ill son out of the mental institution, Cooper’s best friend is completely unaware that his wife is a controlling wacko, and his brother says every thought that passes through his head, regardless of how hurtfully honest it might be.
The one exception in this room full of repressed neurotics is Jennifer Lawrence’s character, who is also supposed to be the second passenger in Cooper’s “crazy boat.” She sees things as they are and calls it like it is, hence their attraction to each other. Your kneejerk impulse is to be like “Yay, the crazies found each other to love,” but I think this take on her is an oversight of the reality of the truth of Lawrence’s character’s, which is that she is a grieving young widow who, while eccentric, does “crazy” things like sleeping with all her former coworkers because she’s severely grieving and not just eccentric.
Basically I was left to assume that the novel this film is based on deals with the subject more sensitively and in-depth. But I think it’s kind of a cop out to give a movie a pass for not handling a sensitive subject well just because it’s a movie that’s meant to entertain and earn big bucks. Aren’t those like the worst parts of American culture — to push aside compassion and fairness in favor of money and mindless entertainment?
Other Movies that Got Nominated that I Haven’t Seen but Have Opinions About Anyway:
Lincoln – so one of my good friends told me that this movie made her cry and I decided not to see it. I know I’m depriving myself of some apparently amazing filmmaking, but I have just seen waaaaay too many movies that represent African Americans in some way and leave me feeling horrible and conflicted (Amistad, The Help, etc.). So I have nothing to say about this except that Daniel Day Lewis can be as much of a weirdo method actor as he wants because he knocks it out of the park EVERY time, and I’ve loved him since Last of the Mohicans, when he ripped my beating heart out my chest.
Beasts of the Southern Wild – I actually have seen this movie, but it was so long ago that the opinions I had about it I no longer really care about it. Basically I was disappointed that the Aurochs were some sort of metaphor or some shit and weren’t the main characters, and my inner motherly instinct was appalled by the conditions those babies were living in. I was just like “Eeeew don’t touch that, it’s dirty!!”
The Master – Everyone I know who has seen this said it sucked. But apparently, every movie Phillip Seymore Hoffman does gets a Best Picture nod. Which is good news for Hunger Games: Catching Fire — apparently going to be a shoo-in.
Life of Pi – I really want to read this book before I see the movie. The reason why I am the last person on earth to read this book is because it got so popular and I was like trying to be all counterculture and was just like, “Pshaw, NO I did not read Life of Pi and I CANNOT come to your book club, ok?” But I’m not cool enough to be truly counterculture, so…guess that’s next up on my reading list. Anyway, you just can’t go wrong with a CG Animated Tiger. Kudos to Ang Lee for making this a PETA-friendly flick! I think the 1980s equivalent would have been a cartoon tiger drawn on the ship with homeboy ala Pete’s Dragon, which would have been both badass and ridiculous.
Zero Dark Thirty – does Katheryn Bigelow only make war films? That’s cool if she does, just asking! As the first woman to EVER win an academy award for directing she can do whatever the hell she wants, in my opinion.
Django Unchained – Oof. I heard this was good, or at least it was popular, but I just don’t really want to see slaves beat up, even if they get their revenge and beat up their former masters in the end. There’s all this hullabaloo out there about Quentin Tarrantino pissing off a lot of people who don’t believe he has the right to make a movie representing the point of view of African Americans because, last time I checked, he is not African American, but I have a hard time taking a stance on that either way. I see their point; if a major movie director is going to do a revenge fantasy about slavery, it would be really cool if he were black. But I’m also excited that a movie that sympathizes with the African American point of view is out there in the mainstream, even if it was made by a white director. It’s kinda cool though that a white director who has no historical or ethnic ties to the plight of African Americans wants to portray them kicking ass and taking names, but, oy, this is a heavy topic and ripe for debate.
The Sessions – Yay, Helen Hunt is back! Good for you, girl. This movie seems sad though so I will probably never see it.