Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oscar's Best Pictures for 2011

We picked a really bad year to see every Best Picture Nominee.

We've now seen 6.5 out of the 9 nominated and only think 2 deserve a nomination. 

In the order we watched them:
Midnight in Paris
The Help
Tree of Life (<1/2)
The Descendants
The Artist
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

War Horse

"Midnight in Paris" - Anita 2/5 stars.  I originally gave it 2.5, but it's shrinking.  I enjoyed the main character in modern times running into 1920's characters.  I had fun trying to name them before they gave up their names.  But I can't recommend it.  Owen Wilson was the same as he always is - flat.  Nonchalant time-traveling while walking the streets of Paris.  Just didn't work.

"Moneyball" - we both gave it 3 to 3.25.  You'd better love baseball or Brad Pitt or statistics or this is going to be an extremely long movie for you.  I like baseball & Brad Pitt.  Not sure why Anita liked it.  Might have just been that it wasn't "Midnight in Paris."

"The Help" - I pre-judged this one. Anita liked it better than "Moneyball."  I did not.  I thought Viola Davis was marvelous, but that a lot of the rest of the cast over-acted, including best-supporting actress nominee Octavia Spencer.  I'd give the Oscar to Melissa McCarthy, but that's just me.  2.75 stars from me.  Anita says .25 higher than whatever she gave "Moneyball."

"Tree of Life" - I liked the hour I watched more than I thought I would.  But that doesn't mean I've managed to watch the rest.  It's annoying at best.  There's no story, no through-line, very little acting, certainly no actual direction.  Lots of pictures of things - galaxies, weird-ass aquatic life, trees, unidentifiable shit.  With music & whispered voiceovers.  I turned the sound way up to hear what was being whispered and then asshole Terrance Malick would show a volcano erupting with sound.  Scaring the crap out of our cats and Anita too.  Fuckhead.  Movie is pretty though.  I can't rate it until I see the rest, which may be never because our DVD player committed suicide before I tried to watch the rest of it on Sunday night.  Seriously, no power.  Hysterical.

"The Descendants" - 2 stars.  At MOST.  Total piece o' crap.  I love George Clooney, but there are no redeeming qualities here.  Not even Hawaii.  Boring.  Tedious.  No one cares about these characters.  Uck.  Would have had a nice nap, but Anita inadvertently woke me up.  Would have gotten 2 solid stars if I had slept through more of it.

"The Artist" - 4 stars from me.  Nice.  Charming.  Wonderful.  The first BP nominee we've seen that we agree deserves a nomination.  Anita wasn't all that keen on it (3.5 stars), but I really enjoyed it.  It may have helped that I wasn't looking forward to it, but I think it has a lot of genius in it.  Jean Dujardin is wonderful as is Bérénice Bejo.  It was extremely well directed and well-written.  With two movies left to see, I think it has a real chance to win nearly everything it's nominated for.  I especially loved the last 15 minutes of this film.

"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" - 4 stars from me.  Anita liked it better than "The Artist."  You had to work a bit for "The Artist" so I understand why she liked this one better.  I really did love this movie.  I hope I never see it again.  My eyes and head still hurt this morning from crying so much last night.  Max von Sydow is terrific as is Thomas Horn and Sandra Bullock.  Tom Hanks annoyed me with his accent.  Not sure what he was going for, but he missed NY by a long stretch.  I mentioned that to Anita and she wholeheartedly agreed.  He'd have been better off without trying for an accent.  Thomas Horn's character reminded me very much of The Kid we went to NYC with last month, which could be making a difference as to why this movie hit us so deeply.  Another movie that I especially liked the ending.

And so now we have 1/2 the Tree of Life (ugh), Hugo, and War Horse.  Can't believe we picked the worst year ever to see all the BP's, but glad now that we've seen two movies I very much enjoyed that I likely would not have seen.

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