Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Movie Madness (part 2)

Here are the rest of my takes on this year’s Best Picture nominees (to see the first five, please read my previous post).

127 Hours

Being somewhat of an “out doorsy” kinda guy, this movie had a lot of appeal to me. I had heard Aron Ralston’s crazy story before, so I was excited to check out the film. I figured it would be a lot of flashbacks of events leading up to the accident, which wasn’t really the case. The majority of the movie, with the exception of some hallucinations, is Ralston (played remarkably by James Franco) stuck under that rock. I would have never believed that the movie could stay interesting for almost two hours and stay so focused on one person stuck in one tiny space. Somehow, Franco and director Danny Boyle pulled it off and made a great movie. I loved it.

(As a side note, I also loved all of the Phish references throughout the movie, including the t-shirt Franco was wearing the whole time. After a little research, I found out that Ralston is a big Phish fan and was listening to a tape of a Denver show from ’99 the entire time he was stuck. He insisted that if the movie was made, Phish do the soundtrack. I guess the producers tried to make it happen, but it fell through. Instead, the soundtrack consisted of a bunch of awful, generic nonsense. Nice try, anyway.)

The Social Network

I think that this movie better served as informative piece than an Oscar winning film. You could make a pretty sub-par movie about the history of Facebook, and people would want to see it. I see it as a kind of “can’t-lose” situation. That being said, I did like The Social Network. I thought the casting was great, and the music gave it a pulse and kept me interested. I especially like the sequence when Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) was in his dorm room creating a “pre-Facebook” website while the drug fueled party was going on across campus. The alternating shots between the two scenes in conjunction with Trent Reznor’s track was probably my favorite part of the movie. I’ve heard a lot of debate as to how realistic the film was, but it was pretty entertaining nonetheless.

Toy Story 3

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of animated films. I just don’t get it. I think WALL-E was the most boring thing I’ve ever seen, and I tried three times to watch Up but could never stay awake. I always think it’s a little strange when my thirty-something year old friends get upset when I say such crazy things. I mean, I liked the Smurfs when I was four, but, well, I was four. To each his own, I guess. In all fairness though, I did kind of like Toy Story 3. It was funny and kept my attention. I think it was WAY better than the aforementioned animated films. No comparison. I remember watching the first Toy Story when it came out in ’95, and it was fun to see all of the old characters back in action. I’m still not convinced that any animated film has ever deserved a Best Picture nomination.

True Grit

I loved this movie, but to be fair, I’m a huge Coen Brothers fan. The Big Lebowski is my favorite movie of all time, and I think that this was Jeff Bridges best role since "The Dude" (sorry, Crazy Heart). I love the Coens’ dialogue heavy style of writing and how their movies make you laugh not because they’re necessarily comedies, but because the characters are, well, such characters. I’ve seen several of the Coen Brothers’ movies over and over, and I have a feeling True Grit won’t be any different.

Winter’s Bone

I had never heard of this movie until I looked at the list of Oscar nominees. As it turns out, it was nominated for good reasons. Winter’s Bone is an interesting look in to life in deep backwoods Missouri. It’s set in the type of place where you don’t just show up unannounced, or you are likely to get shot (and then fed to the hogs, as they mention several times in the film). While the movie was a little slow at times, I think it only portrayed the pace of life in that particular setting. The story itself was interesting, and the acting was great. If for nothing else, you should see this film for an ethnographical look in to a place that you probably know very little about.

And just to make sure I drag this out a little too long, I’m going to wait a couple days to post my picks for this year’s Academy Awards. We’ll call it “Boog Picks.” Okay, maybe not.

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