Friday, January 18, 2013

I Heart Oscar Season

The part that has to do with writing: BY HIS RULES is now out in paperback! Actually it’s been out for a while, but I didn’t realize it until recently. That’s how on top of things I am at the moment. But I got my author copies the other day, and they’re shiny and lovely.


Since I love movies, and since my birthday always falls right around the time the Oscar noms are announced and the Golden Globes are held and all the best picture contenders are in theaters at once, it’s been a longstanding tradition in my family to see how many nominated movies we can manage during my b-day week. Now that I’m far from home in Alcatrazabama, I’ve tried to carry on this tradition with random volunteers. Here’s what I’ve managed to see so far, and my completely unasked for ranking and opinions:

1. Les Miserables. I’ve been obsessed with the stage show since I was sixteen and used to die as Eponine over and over in my room. I normally hate movie adaptations of musicals, but in this case, color me impressed. It’s just as big and beautiful and epic onscreen as onstage. I may never be able to look at Anne Hathaway without crying again. Also my dog hates me because I will not stop serenading her.

2. Argo. Too much fun. A great example of how to take interesting source material and Hollywoodize the crap out of it (I mean that as a compliment, in this case). I’m always impressed when I know a story has a happy ending, and yet the storytellers can make me believe for a minute that it’s not going to be okay. Tense, exciting, funny, and scary—and even better when you read BBC's interview with RL Houseguest Mark Lijek, who claims he enjoyed the movie but good-naturedly acknowledges that all that stuff at the end? Never really happened. They pretty much just walked onto the plane. Still, bravo, both to the real life tale and the gunfire-ridden, will-Carter-wire-in-time? movie version. “Argo fuck yourself” indeed.

And the 70's mustaches--oh, the 70's mustaches.

3. Zero Dark Thirty. Ooh, Controversy! Oscar Ban! The movie is pro-torture! Seriously Martin Sheen & Co, WTF? You know what the movie really is? A dark, disturbing, and realistic look at a war where there are no winners, just people who give up aspects of themselves and in some cases their lives in an endless cycle of violence. And, um, WE DON’T CENSOR ART, right? If we don’t like K-Bigs possibly playing fast and loose with the truth, then what about Argo? Or, you know ANY MOVIE EVER THAT SAYS “BASED ON TRUE EVENTS?” Is truthiness okay if it makes America look badass, but not if it makes us look like assholes? As bleak and tense as The Hurt Locker with a fantastic performance by Jessica Chastain, totally worth a see.

4. Lincoln. I like this movie. I do. I’m just not nuts about it. DDL is amazing, as always. The scenes of corruption and Congressional mayhem are fun. But lately I kinda feel like Stephen Spielberg is just filling in the blanks in the Give Me An Oscar Formula. Which is probably unfair of me, because it is a good movie. Just didn't blow me away.

5. Django Unchained. I saw this on my actual birthday, because nothing says “I’m turning another year older” like watching people get ripped apart by dogs and muttering to myself, “That’s what time is doing to you. Metaphorically.” I have a love-hate relationship with Tarantino. There’s always stuff about his movies that I enjoy, and I can never quite write them off as self-indulgent gorefests, cuz dude’s got something going on style-wise. But I rarely connect with his films on any kind of emotional level. Ultimately I don’t care about much in Django except Christoph Waltz. And that scene where Jenny didn’t do a good job making the bags.

So that’s where I am now. I’m tackling Silver Linings Playbook tomorrow, and then waiting around for Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour to get here. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what Amour is. I think I missed my shot at Life of Pi.

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