Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar night

We watched the Academy Awards show last night. I actually like watching the program, particularly when I can do some web surfing at the same time. It's one of those wonderful shows where only about 20% of it is actual content. This makes it perfect for surf viewing. (Yes, I just coined that phrase!)

As much as I love Jon Stewart, I have to say that Ellen DeGeneres was much better. I laughed out loud several times at her performance. (Not as much as I laughed tonight at Jon Stewart's self-deprecating humour on The Daily Show. I had tears streaming down my face at the line, "Once Peter O'Toole tastes panda, there's no stopping him.") They could have done without the dancers... or the songs. In particular, what the hell was that song Celine Dion was singing? I always thought that instead of running those stupid bits, they should actually run the animation short nominees. Or, later on in the show, they could actually run the Best Animated Short and Best Live Action Short (whatever the actual name for that award is). Hey, they could even run the best acceptance speeches from the technical Oscars!

I used to try to watch as many Oscar nominees for best film as I could. I hardly saw more than two or three, but I at least tried (often after the fact, like a month or two after the Oscars). This year I've only seen one, the winner for the best picture, The Departed. Alana got it for me on DVD as a Valentine's present. We watched it last Tuesday.

I really liked the film. Was it flawless? No. There was a point about half way through that it dragged a little. I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending. I've come to the conclusion that Matt Damon is going to be a wonderful actor when he's in his 50s but right now he's just a little too good looking. Mark Wahlberg is good looking, too, but he has a grittier look about him. It's hard to think of Matt Damon as a real person, sometimes.

This week's Entertainment Weekly had the Oscar picks of three members of the Academy. All three felt that The Departed would not win. They attacked the casting of the film. Personally, I liked the cast. I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was particularly good. I certainly felt for the character. And Jack Nicholson was, well, Jack Nicholson...

An indicator of a film's worth is how much it haunts me in the days after I've watched it. I still think about scenes from The Departed a week later. It reminds me a lot of when I saw Reservoir Dogs...

As you can tell, I enjoyed the film. I heartily recommend it.

I checked out the Best Picture nominations from the last couple of years.

From the 2003 Academy Awards the only two films I haven't seen are Master and Commander (which I own, albeit as a used DVD) and Mystic River. Both are on my list of movies to watch.

From 2004 I have The Aviator (again used; most of our DVDs the last couple of years have been "pre-owned) but haven't seen. I'd like to see Sideways. I haven't seen the others and they don't really grab me.

I'm not sure I want to see Crash, last year's winner. Or, rather, I'm not sure I want to pay to see it. I do have Good Night and Good Luck (used). I want to see Capote and Munich. I'm not sure about Brokeback Mountain, mainly because of the country theme. (Seriously.)

Strangely enough, I want to see all of this year's nominees. Babel was the one I wasn't sure about, but the reviews (even the negative ones) have me curious. I already wanted to see The Queen and Little Miss Sunshine. I would have gone to see Letters From Iwo Jima but it never played in Monroe!

(I almost bought Flags of Our Fathers, the sister movie to Letters. It wasn't on sale, though, and there were no extras. It was obvious that it was just thrown out to attract interest in Letters. I decided to wait to see if they sell them together in a boxed set later this year.)

Of the other big movies from this year I also want to watch Pan's Labyrinth and The Last King of Scotland.

I will, of course, post if I see any of these films. I'm sure this time next year I'll be mentioning how I haven't seen any of them... Okay, except for Letters From Iwo Jima. I will see that this year!

2 comments:

Michael said...

My downward spiral from movie geekdom to complete ignorance is now complete. Last year, for the first time since the early eighties, I hadn't seen a single Best Picture nominee. This year, not only had I not seen any of the nominees, I didn't watch the telecast. I wasn't even really aware that it was on until the morning of the broadcast, when I heard a piece on CBC Radio 1 that duplicated, in far too many respects, a piece I did on Radio 1 two years ago. (But I'm not bitter.)

I hope that after a couple of years away I'll rediscover my love of movies. It's not a good sign, though, that 20 years after I ended my career as a music critic, I still can't stand being at a live pop, rock or country performance.

Allan Goodall said...

My downward spiral from movie geekdom to complete ignorance is now complete.

When in high school I went to movies once a week with a friend for about three years. That solidified my love of movies (and it still amazes me, to this day, the sheer number of movies that come on TV that I've seen and still remember). I didn't do it for all the years you did it, though. And I didn't have to write about it.

I did see Heaven's Gate; you'd think that would have done something to me... (I don't buy the revisionist reviews that say it was an unappreciated gem in the rough. It wasn't as awful as people said at the time, but lord it wasn't good...)


I wasn't even really aware that it was on until the morning of the broadcast, when I heard a piece on CBC Radio 1 that duplicated, in far too many respects, a piece I did on Radio 1 two years ago. (But I'm not bitter.)

It sort of snuck up on me, too. I didn't realize last weekend was Oscar weekend until Friday morning.

I take it that the CBC owns your work, and that there's nothing you can do about it as far as credit?


It's not a good sign, though, that 20 years after I ended my career as a music critic, I still can't stand being at a live pop, rock or country performance.

Some of the yahoos around me during the last Pink Floyd concert I attended almost ended my interest in live concerts. It didn't though. I haven't been to a concert in years, but I have been to a couple of places in New Orleans where we just dropped in to listen to the music for a bit. (New Orleans is wonderful in that respect. When we were in Kentucky last year we spent the night in Nashville. We didn't hear any music there because all the clubs had cover charges. That's virtually unheard of on Bourbon St.)

I suspect you'll get back your love of films. Unlike concerts, you can choose a film you like and watch it in the comfort of your own home when the mood strikes.