Ha ha! The plan is working! For Christmas this year my wife gave me movie passes so that we could prepare for Oscar season, and it has totally paid off! Whereas in the distant past (B.C. – Before Children), we made it a goal to see every Oscar nominee (in every category), these days (A.D. – After Destruction of any semblance of a normal life) we are lucky if we see half of the best picture nominees. And there are years that, on nomination announcement day, we have seen up to, and including, zero of them. But this year we are on track to have our best A.D. year yet!
The nominees for best picture, of which I have seen TWO (and going to another one tomorrow!!!), are:
American Hustle – Totally saw this one. Totally loved it. It just seems like a best picture. Not sure if it is or not, but it was built that way. Great story, great acting, great directing, the way Argo was, although it’s not the kind of movie that has stayed with me long after the theater. Does that mean anything? Regardless, it has a lot of side-boob action and terrible hair, so you might want to check it out.
Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks. In the middle of the ocean. Disaster. Sounds like Castaway, but with more talking and more pirates. Actually, that sounds awesome. I saw Castaway, and it was good, in a gripping, somewhat boring, overlong sort of way. Glad I saw it; never need to see it again. But if you told me it had pirates and yelling in it, I would watch that movie a million times. Plus, Captain Phillips is in the Redbox starting on Tuesday. I’ll definitely see this one.
Dallas Buyers Club – I get that this is the story of a guy with HIV helping to smuggle medication to other infected people, but I keep getting this movie confused with The Lincoln Lawyer, which is the story of a lawyer living in his car, who may or may not be attacked by prostitutes. Or something. The trailer was unclear. Either way, both films have somewhat grainy posters depicting Matthew McConaughey, and I think that’s the problem. However, let me assure you that while I am only somewhat interested in seeing The Lincoln Lawyer, I am very interested in seeing Dallas Buyers Club. And not at all interested in seeing Ghost of Girlfriends Past.
Gravity – This is the other one I saw. And I liked it. I did not see it in 3-D, which I heard was amazing, and you could kind of tell would be amazing, what with all of the exploding rubble clearing trying to fly out of the screen at you, and so maybe the 2-D experience is the reason I am not thinking this is best picture material. I mean, it was good. Sandra Bullock was amazing, the story moved quickly and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, but it just seemed a little, I don’t know…, sparse?, to be a best picture winner. But a great film to be sure. I guess we’ll see in a few weeks what happens.
Her – This is what I’m going to see tomorrow. For sure, this is the one on this list I am most looking forward to. I love Spike Jonze and my mind is consistently blown by anything either he or Charlie Kaufman does, and this movie sounds perfect for me. Guy creates computer girlfriend. Hey, it worked in Weird Science, didn’t it? I’m going to go ahead and give this one a pre-stamp of approval.
Nebraska – Fun Throwback Thursday fact: One time in college I was trying (and failing) to talk to an extremely cute girl, and I asked her where she was from, and she said “Nebraska,” and I said “Oh, where’s that?” And she just looked at me and said “Did you seriously just ask me where Nebraska is?” And I was all like, “Oh! No! I meant, like, where IN Nebraska are you from! Ha ha! What a hilarious misunderstanding!” But it was too late. She was done with me. True story. So, all I’m really trying to say here, is that this movie has to be better than that experience.
Philomena – My favorite part of this movie was when Leonardo DiCaprio, when announcing nominees at the Golden Globes, referred to it as “Philomania.” Now that sounds like an exciting movie. Forget this “Philomena” stuff. When is “Philomania” coming out? And is it a wrestling movie starring Tom Hanks as a ship’s captain? Because I want to see that movie. And also he wrestles Judi Dench.
12 Years a Slave – This is another one of those “only if it wins” movies, because the world is depressing enough without spending my one monthly evening out watching something that is, from all accounts, manipulatively depressing. And I’m sure it is an amazing film that will cause me to self-reflect and rethink life, but today I’d rather go see Frozen for the third time.
The Wolf of Wall Street – I was discussing this movie with my wife the other night. Perhaps you have read about how controversial this movie is. I have read many articles on both sides of the issue, the issue being that this movie glamorizes American excess and horribleness. My wife has read the articles too, and says she does not want to see it, based on its celebration of greed, selfishness, and basic evil. I have read some people saying that, sure, and others, including the folks that made the movie, saying that it is satire, and we should clearly see the film as an indictment of such values and lifestyles. And I say, when there are so many people talking about it from so many different points of view, it makes me want to see it myself, so I can form my own opinion. But since my wife doesn’t want to go, I probably won’t. And honestly, no matter how good the film may or may not be, I would probably enjoy a fourth showing of Frozen even more.
So there you have it. We have nine nominees, and after tomorrow I will have seen a third of them. This is excellent for me, at least lately, and I am excited to see more of them. How many have you seen? Which ones do you recommend? I won’t get to all of them before Oscar night, but I may get to a few more. Point me in the right direction.