Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oscars 09- (Belated) Post 3

I know, I know, I know. I’m late. I’m always late these days. But I wanted to finish what I’d started and write about the movies I had forgotten I had seen (and the one I saw after I wrote the first two posts.) Here goes:

The Dark Knight

The nomination (and win) from this movie went to Heath Ledger for his performance as The Joker. I thought that it was a brilliant performance. From everything I’ve heard, Ledger came to director Nolan with a head full of ideas about how to play this Joker. I have to state for the record that Tim Burton’s Batman, with Jack Nicholson as The Joker, was one of my first favorite “non-kid” movies. And while they are very VERY different, I do like both Joker performances.

Unfortunately, I do not think that anyone will ever know if Dark Knight was a success because of our morbid fascination with Heath Ledger’s death, or if it would have been just as successful without that event. Just as I’m not sure we’ll ever know if Ledger would have won this Oscar for this performance if he had not died before the release of the film. I also wonder if there wouldn’t have been a deeper discussion of Dark Knight’s themes of privacy vs. surveillance, certainty vs. chaos, etc, if so many people hadn’t been focused so closely on Heath Ledger’s performance, viewed posthumously. So I’m not sure if it deserved to win outside of its current context, but I do think it was still a great performance and great film.

Tropic Thunder

I was pretty surprised that this movie was nominated for any of the main Oscars. So to see Robert Downey Jr. nominated for Best Supporting Actor was pretty surprising. Especially when he was “the dude playin' the dude, disguised as another dude!” One of those dudes being a white Australian man playing an African-American man. From the beginning, I had a weird feeling about the “black-face” aspect of Robert Downey Jr.’s performance, but, when the movie came out, I just couldn’t pass up what I was hearing from everyone was a hilarious satire of both war movies and the Hollywood movie-making system. I even went with an African-American male, who seemed to enjoy the movie a great deal.

I would say that I would like to submit a few new categories to the Oscars. One is stolen from a friend, who suggested that there should be a special category for people playing real people in biopics. Often these actors and actresses are nominated in the general category. But I think that there is a difference between measuring how good Marion Cotillard is as Edith Piaf (for which she did win Best Actress 2008), when she has recordings, writings, and pictures of the woman, and how good Julie Christie or Ellen Page were in their films, when they don’t have those things. In some ways, it is harder to play a real person, not just to look like them, but to act, move, talk, etc, like them, while still seeming real. So I submit that there should be a “Best Actor/Actress portraying a Real Person” category.

I also submit a “Best Cameo” category. There would be a limit to the amount of screen time that an actor/actress could have to be considered for this category. But I have heard of several instances when someone put in a performance that was amazing in a pivotal role that gave them very little screen time and other were upset when they got nominated for “Best Supporting Actor/Actress.” It is often thought that those nominations should go to people with more screen time, who put in “more work” on their movie. Thus, the “Best Cameo”. I’m bringing this up in discussing Tropic Thunder because, if there was a category for “Best Cameo”, I would have nominated Tom Cruise for his role in Tropic Thunder. He is all kinds of greasy, fat, smarmy, and gross. He plays the role with his whole heart. And anyone who can dance like that, like no one is watching, when in reality millions will see it, should get some kind of an award.


I bought this movie for my mother for Christmas and watched it with her. I thought that it was an incredibly cute, animated, good for kids, but has something for every age group kind of movie. It was beautifully realized. It had positive “female” roles, ones that weren’t just a princess or a girlfriend. It was also a message movie where one can take the message to heart or just enjoy the movie, unlike, say, Happy Feet, which annoyed even this liberal-commie bastard. I would recommend the movie for a light-hearted night but, while visually stunning, I’m not sure it ranked for screenplay or any of the big categories.

Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

These were all very interesting. I went with a man I met recently, we’ll call him “White Shadow.” He told me that, during the Oscar ceremony, the filmmaker of one of the shorts said that he had worked four years for that fourteen minutes of film. Some of these short films are really a labor of love. A filmmaker has to tell a complete story in a very small amount of time. I think the most fun of the nominated shorts was “Oktapodi” about an octopus using the terraced seaside of Greece to rescue his/her mate from a truck heading to a restaurant. It was brightly colored, fast-paced, and cheerful. I also really liked “This Way Up”, about a father/son funeral home workers who go on a very strange journey just to ensure that their client gets to her rightful resting place. Strangely, though, it was the other animated shorts included in the collection, the ones that got “highly recommended” but not nominated, that I liked the most. There was one about a man who was ?not? hit by a meteor, resulting in his conscious and visible body being 90 cm. away from his physical, able to act, but invisible self. Yes, it sounds weird, but I totally dug it. I think it was French. That would explain a lot, huh?


Ok, so I actually didn’t get to go see Milk like I had planned. I had intended to take Obsedian (a young woman I’ve been dating recently) to the film, so that I could ensure that these young folks get some education in Gay History. But we ended up going to see something else. Which brings me to…..

Rachel Getting Married

This was a very good movie. Not for everyone, granted. It is shot with hand-held digital cameras, in everyday settings, with no added music. It is just the story of the weekend of Rachel’s wedding. Well…actually… it is the story of Rachel’s sister, Kym, getting a weekend-long furlow from rehab so that she can attend her sisters wedding. Now because she was in a movie about Nazi’s and the Holocaust, where she was naked much of the time, I can understand why Kate Winslet won Best Actress. But, of the performances that I’ve seen, I think that Anne Hathaway’s raw, emotional, expressive performance should have won. Honestly, I would not recommend this movie to anyone having difficulty dealing with an addict because, to me, it hit so close to home. The character Rachel states over and over again throughout the movie how Kym has made things all about herself, which, in my mind, is just typical addict behavior. The biggest example of this is that the movie’s title is “Rachel Getting Married´ and yet the main character is Kym. I think that this has been my favorite of the movies that had major Oscar nominations.

Oscar Show

Ummmm…..Well, I kinda didn’t watch the show. Usually I will flip back and forth between the show and something else. Usually I am alone and at my own house where I have control of the remote. I did get to see some of the acceptance speeches. Overall, I’m fairly happy with winners. But, honestly, I enjoy seeing the movies a great deal more than I do watching the awards show.

Let me know what you think about any of the movies you have seen, or just any opinions you have. Nighty, night, kids.

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