Posts tagged ‘Academy Award’

February 7, 2011

Oscar Movie Review – The Social Network

by brandt

Yes, I know I’m late to the party.  It seems like everyone and their brother watched this movie over the summer, and everyone and their brother lauded it’s praises.  The problem with being so vocal about praises for a movie is that you set the bar extremely high.  Some movies can reach that bar easily (“The Dark Knight,” for example).  Some movies are a disaster (“Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” tops the list of countless films).  And then there’s “The Social Network,” gives me personally more questions than answers.

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February 1, 2011

Oscar Movie Review – Black Swan

by brandt

Malcolm Gladwell, the awesome author of such books as Tipping Point, Blink, regular columnist for The New Yorker, and author of the bestseller “Outliers: The Story of Success,” theorized that many of the “elite” people have a combination of a few things: Work ethic, luck, a strong support base, heck, even being born in the right year. But he draws on the research of Anders Ericsson, and postulates that many of the elites have put in 10,000 hours into honing their craft. According to Gladwell:

What’s really interesting about this 10,000-hour rule is that it applies virtually everywhere… You can’t become a chess grand master unless you spend 10,000 hours on practice.

The tennis prodigy who starts playing at six is playing in Wimbledon at 16 or 17 [like] Boris Becker. The classical musician who starts playing the violin at four is debuting at Carnegie Hall at 15 or so.

The obsessive approach is particularly evident in sporting icons. Jonny Wilkinson, the rugby player, Tiger Woods, the golfer, and the Williams sisters in tennis have all trained relentlessly since they were children.

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January 28, 2011

Oscar Movie Review: The King’s Speech

by brandt

Some people really get into the British lifestyle and way of thinking.  I knew a couple of people who loved watching BBC America and the comedy shows from overseas.  I knew people who went on university-sponsored European tours, where they got to visit the birthplaces of famous authors like Dickens and Jane Austen.  There are those that love British royalty,  the concept of knights and ladies, and the glamor that goes along with it.

I’m not really one of those people.  I mean, I’m interested in the lifestyle, and I’m fascinated by the accent, but it’s never been a primal urge to get into the history and culture of England.

So when Ashley told me she wanted to watch “The King’s Speech,” I was a bit hesitant.  Yes, the movie had been nominated for a ton of things, and the acclaim was almost unanimous in its praise, but it’s all about KINGS and PRINCES and PRINCESSES.

Boy was I wrong.

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January 27, 2011

Its Oscar Time!

by brandt

(Obviously, we have no house news.  But I like to write.  So in lieu of house information, I give you information about life.)

As you may or may not have heard, the 2011 Oscar Nominations were released on Tuesday, and I may or may not have squeed in excitement that the tradition could start again this year.

My tradition originally began back in 2008.  Ashley and I had been married for about 6 months, and we were immersing ourselves in the poor-newlywed-college experience.  We would go on dates on Friday/Saturday nights to Wal-Mart or the local grocery store to get food.  We kept RedBox in business by grabbing DVD’s all the time.  But the greatest part of the small college  town in Southeast Idaho we lived in was the movie theater(s).  There were 3 of them: A first run movie theater, and 2 second-run movie theaters (or, as we fondly called them, the “cheap” theaters).  Friday and Saturday nights were $3.00 for each of us.  Tuesday nights, we could see a movie for $2.00.  Wednesdays were free popcorn days.  And the best part?  It was literally one and a half blocks from our apartment complex.

So we watched a lot of movies.  And I would get so frustrated when I would invest my hard-earned $3.00 (and a valuable 2 hours of my time) into bad movies.  I would come out of the movies feeling like I’d been ripped off, or that I’d made a horrible mistake (a feeling akin to taking the HUMONGOUS BURRITO CHALLENGE at some of the local Mexican restaurants).  And the biggest problem was there was no secret formula to a good movie.  Some movies that were really long were excruciating.  Some that were short left me wanting more.  Some PG-13 movies decided to throw a couple of choice words in there to bump the rating up that had nothing to do with the movie (Vantage Point?).  Some PG movies were fantastic (Hairspray), some were wretched (*Ahem* “Old Dogs” anyone?).

So we became snobs.  Movie snobs.  We would watch a movie, and one of three things happened.  We would discuss it until 2AM, mock it mercilessly, or walk away feeling nothing.  Obviously, the goal was to see movies we could discuss.  But there’s nothing wrong with walking away feeling nothing.  I mean, I’m a man.  I like explosions and car chases and guns.  Ashley’s a woman.  She likes her chick flicks, her rom-com’s, and her Brits (oh does she swoon over British men).

But we wanted to stay informed, so we tracked the hot movies leading up until the Academy Award nominations.  It’s one thing to track what critics are saying, but critics have opinions, and everyone knows what they say about opinions:  Opinions are like…erm…bellybuttons – Everybody’s got one.  And instead of someone like Roger Ebert telling me who should win best movie of the year, we decided that we should come up with our own opinions.  And once the nominations were released, there were a good amount of movies that we hadn’t seen yet.  And we came up with the wild idea of going on a movie blitz.

So here’s the tradition: Every year, we watch all the movies in the following categories:

  • Best Movie
  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Director

We then come up with who we think should be the winner of the Academy Award in each category, and compare our individual picks to each other and to the Academy.  I’m proud to say many times, I’m almost spot on, but there have been a couple that I totally disagreed with (for example, Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” losing Best Actor a couple of years ago to Sean Penn in “Milk.”).

So instead of watching movies and being selfish, I’ll watch a movie and write a review for it.  That way, I can put my thoughts on paper, and if ever you need a recommendation for a Netflix, RedBox, or traditional movie-theater movie, you can come here and read what a (somewhat) normal person thinks of the supposedly “best” movies of the year.

Here’s my question to kick of Oscar Season: Do the Academy Awards sway you at all in what movie you watch?  Have you ever watched a movie based on the fact that it was nominated/won an Academy Award?

PS – Another integral part of the tradition (that was started last year) has been watching the Academy Award Nominated Short Films.  The high-brow film theater down in Detroit does a film festival every year showing the nominated animated and live-action short films, and we had such a fun time at it last year that we’ve included it in the “tradition” as well.  Highly recommended if your local film houses are doing something like that in the area.

Pictures via FataCulture, Zazzle