Category Archives: Movies

Oscar Predications 2011

So Su and I have been making an effort to see all of the Best Picture nominees this year.  Ideally, before the winners are announced (but she doesn’t really care about that; she just wants to see good films).  Anyway, today we saw “The King’s Speech” and I think this allows me to make some predictions.

So I have seen: Black Swan, The Fighter, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone.  I have the dvds for Toy Story 3 and Inception, but for (non-)obvious reasons, I don’t think they will do anything interesting from an awards perspective.

Without further ado…

Best Actor: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) — It’s a simple as this: the ‘retard’ theory always wins.  Go back to every Best Actor winner and you will notice that the winner always plays some kind of affliction.  Besides that, I think he really made it believable.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (The Fighter) — Same theory above applies.  The only real contender is probably John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone).  Not sure why Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech) is even on the list, but does anyone really care that much about the supporting actor?

Best Actress: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) — I’m taking a bit of a guess here and going with a blue chip talent.  I thought Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)  both did great jobs, but I don’t see how they could pull it out.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) — She actually brought the movie out successfully.  No rip on Jeff Bridges, but she was the star.  I don’t think either of ‘The Fighter’ chicks did anything special.  That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if Melissa Leo (The Fighter) got the nod just because she was so creepy as a mother.

Animated Feature Film: Toy Story 3 — I actually saw “How to Train Your Dragon” and thought it was great; however, I suspect the Toy Story juggernaut cannot be stopped.

Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland — I’ve seen all of these minus what I already listed.  This movie was just plain beautiful.

Cinematography: The Social Network — Really tough to decide here.  I feel like Black Swan lived and died on the camera movement too.

Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland — This should win on originality alone.  I don’t see how rehashing western(True Grit) or early 20th century clothing (Speech) should win anything.

Best Director: Black Swan — I could see this going many ways, but I really think the director got it done here.  He really made the movie flow and got the best out of the cast.

Film Editing: 127 Hours — The integration of the flash backs and the progression of the understanding of the main character is perfect.

Best Picture: Black Swan — This is (yet again) another tough decision.  I think that The Social Network could win here too.  I find it amusing that Toy Story 3 made this list; it has no chance of winning.

Writing (adapted screenplay): The Social Network — the writing is what makes this movie.

That’s all.  I don’t really have anything more to contribute in the other categories.

Updated: On request, added the relevant movies where not otherwise listed.

Football Fun

Well, the Bears (expectedly) dominated the Rams today and so it put me in a good mood about football. So much so that I watched the second double-header game on FOX and I wasn’t even drunk. As it turns out, that was a pretty good game between the two top teams (Giants and Cardinals).

As luck would have it, I was lucky to see that following the second game one of the best football movies was starting on one of the many HBO channels: The Replacements.

Why is this one of the best football movies? To be sure, almost every football movie (be it slapstick or otherwise) is pretty awesome. What I find special about The Replacements is that it is funny, with a little romance, and incorporates real people like John Madden.

Madden has so many great quotes that you can imagine him saying during a real broadcast (and no, I’m not referring to any turducken).

The fat Japanese player(ex-sumo) ends up catching a tipped pass and runs it down the field for a TD. Madden quote: “I love it when the fat guy scores. Because then you get a fat guy dance.” Madden isn’t exactly svelt so you get what I mean.

The kicker makes a big field goal and gets tackled by a defenseman (brilliantly acted Jon Favreau). Madden: “There’s an old saying in football. Don’t do anything great unless you can handle the congratulations.” What made this especially funny is that Pat Summerall didn’t get it. If you’ve watched them together (and sorry if you missed it, but they were officially split up several years ago), you know that Pat Summerall didn’t get it a lot.

This isn’t the first movie where Gene Hackman took an underrated sports team and motivated them for greatness. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Hoosiers had a lot of great quotes, but the subject here is football and the character is Jimmy McGinty. He motivates the QB by letting him know that “When the game is on the line, winners always want the ball.” Near the end of the film, after Falco(Keanu) return to play for the second half he points out to the replacement players “They have underestimated you. There is no tomorrow. And that makes you very dangerous people.” which is subsequently repeated by John Madden.  And if you’re a Bond fan, you also know that though “Tomorrow never dies”, it sure can create some crappy  movies.

I’ll give one more nod to Orlando Jones who plays a fast but incompetent wide receiver. When the key game is on the line, the coach covers his hands in glue and Orlando (Clifford Franklin) says: “I look like I just jacked off an elephant.” Trust me, it’s funny when you see it. Aside from that, his added value is acting like an idiot and teaching the team how to dance to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive”.

And without further ado…”Ladies and gentlemen, number 16 in your program, but number 1 in your hearts”.  Keanu Reeves plays the funny, smart and all-around good guy Shane Falco. He really makes the movie believable (more even than Madden) because he plays football *and* knows how to lead the team. Perhaps my #1 movie quote (and I’m even including Heavy Metal in this) is: “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. And glory…lasts forever.” Don’t get me wrong. Keanu has had some stinkers, but this movie was fresh and enjoyable and he was perfectly cast. To sum up Jimmy: “Greatness, no matter how brief, stays with a man.”

Now as might be obvious, I like movies and movie quotes. I mentioned that there were a lot of great football movies. In fact, I think most of them are great. So, for your nostalgic pleasure here is a list of them (in no particular order).

  • Any Given Sunday
  • Necessary Roughness
    • I know you guys are tired and hurt but let me tell you one thing. If we get into that end zone, you won’t feel any pain.
  • Rudy
  • Best Of Times — ok, not great, but you have to like the Kurt Russell scene where he always wins when he wears white shoes
  • The Longest Yard — the original, not the Adam Sandler debacle
  • Friday Night Lights — the music and the acting were just plain awesome — Billy Bob’s best work
  • Remember The Titans
    • All right, now, I don’t want them to gain *another yard!* * You blitz…all…night!* If they cross the line of scrimmage, I’m gonna take every last one of you out! You make sure they remember, *forever*, the night they played the Titans!
    • I think this is a very good time for prayer and reflection… Coach, I’m hurt. I’m not dead.
    • Left side. Strong side.
  • Wildcats
    • It’s the sport of kings, better than diamond rings…football.
  • Varsity blues
    • We have the chance to play like gods.
  • Invincible
    • Eagles. Eagles. Eagles.
  • We Are Marshall
  • The Waterboy
  • The Program

Now I may have missed someone’s favorite football movie, but in case someone thinks that absence of the name means it’s ok, I want to specifically flag the following crap football movies:

  • Leatherheads

Heath Ledger is Oscar material

I just came back from a 3:30am showing of A Dark Knight and it did not disappoint. Though it was a bit on the long side, the movie packed a punch both in terms of action and acting.

The top actor was Heath Ledger. I’m sure there will be comparisons to Jack Nicholson’s Joker, but really, Ledger’s performance was just plain better. His mix of mannerisms and voice combined to create a dreadful, scary, clever character that kept you wondering what would happen next. And whatever it was, would be unexpected yet completely correct.

Though he may win the Oscar posthumously due to his drug overdose, that asterisk shouldn’t diminish the part he played.

This has been the summer of really, really great action movies. I thought the top movie would be Iron Man. The way that Robert Downey Jr. balanced comedy and action was unique. That being said, when compared to A Dark Knight, the movie seemed too simple. I haven’t seen the remake of The Incredible Hulk, but I have heard good things.

Anyway, my vote is cast. Hopefully, he won’t be forgotten at Oscar time.