Sunday, January 27, 2013

At the movies

Just as the swallows return to Capistrano, I return to the movie theater when the Oscar nominations are announced. I'd already seen (and enjoyed) Lincoln and Argo. Now I have played catchup and seen Les Mierables and Silver Linings Playbook.

I finally saw Les Miz on stage a little over a year ago and it rocked my world. Especially Eponine. The movie was a little less awe-inspiring and more grueling. My mind wandered at times (like what an ordeal the filming must have been for Hugh Jackman -- he earns the title "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" -- and why didn't The Boy from Oz ever play Chicago?). But Jackman and Russell Crowe were fascinating rivals and Samantha Banks was a heartbreaking Eponine. Anne Hathaway was wonderful, too, but I'd seen the clip of Fantine singing, "I Dreamed a Dream" so many times that it wasn't a surprise. Amanda Seyfried's Cosette kind of annoyed me. But then I'm so totally Team Eponine I may not be objective. The boys who play the rebels were all so achingly young -- like all frontline soldiers, I suppose -- that their inevitable slaughter hurts. So while this movie has much to recommend it, I just wish it was more deft, moved faster and had a bit more wonder to it.

If Les Miserables was something of a letdown, Silver Linings was a delightful surprise. I knew Bradley Cooper was a hunk, I just didn't know he could be such an affecting actor. Jennifer Lawrence was great in a difficult, edgy part. Robert DeNiro -- who has been such a hamhock in recent movies -- was vulnerable and real. Jacky Weaver embodied moms. The script was knowing and funny and original. In short, I looooved it.

So if I was in charge of the Oscars,* here is how I'd rank these 4:

Silver Linings Playbook
Les Miserables

I missed Life of Pi, but I wasn't that enthusiastic about that one anyway. Ang Lee is not one of my favorite directors. On the subject of directors, I have no intention of seeing Django Unchained. Tarentino and I broke up after Inglorious Basterds.  

I likely won't see Zero Dark Thirty, either. While I understand the necessity of Bin Laden's murder, it did not fill me with joy. I cannot celebrate the death of any human being (ah, those pesky Sunday School teachings stuck after all). And I have always been disturbed by the specter of my country using torture, as I believe we're better than that. So no matter how wonderful the film may be, I think I'll pass.

*And wouldn't the world be a better place if I was?


  1. I didn't see Life of Pi because I hated the book.

  2. Anonymous10:45 AM

    Jacki Weaver - yet another Australian to make it in the US.


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