Jim and I generally don’t agree on movies. I enjoy a wide range of movies, from mainstream to documentary. Jim is pretty much only interested in a movie if it’s been nominated for an Academy Award, the more lifesucking the better (he actually liked There Will Be Blood – painful). So between January and the end of February he kicks into high gear movie watching. Except, not so much this year.
Last week we found ourselves just one week away from the awards and we had both only seen 1 movie on the best picture list (Avatar) and 1 best actress performance (Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia). I had also seen a handful of movies that were nominated in categories such as Costume (Coco Before Chanel and The Young Victoria), Cinematography (Harry Potter), Documentary Feature (Food Inc. – Jim watched 15 minutes and then left the room saying it was too biased a la Michael Moore) and Art Direction (Sherlock Holmes – Jim had no interest in seeing this – seriously?). Panic set in.
We immediately headed to the theater to watch the Nominated and Commended Animated Shorts. All 5 nominees were featured plus 3 bonus “highly commended” films. Jim and I actually agreed on our two favorites – miracle. Our top choice was one of the commended films, The Kinematograph, a Polish entry. The Kinematograph was heart-wrenching, in just under 10 minutes, no less. If you get a chance, see it, now. If you click on the link above you can see the trailer. I don’t want to give the story away, but the trailer sums it up nicely: The Kinematograph is the story of a man working on the creation of moving pictures, in color. But, as the trailer says, every invention comes at a price. Seriously, I was crying at the end, and I’m pretty sure I heard a sniffle out of Jim too. I have no idea why The Kinematograph wasn’t nominated, but, then again, I’ve never understood the Academy’s obsession with the Coen Brothers either (they’re nominated AGAIN this year).
Our second favorite short was much cheerier, beloved Wallace & Gromit in A Matter of Loaf and Death. Wallace and Gromit are now bakery owners and a serial killer fixated on killing bakers is on the loose! If you’ve ever seen Wallace & Gromit before, you can pretty much figure out how this goes. Still, it was 30 minutes of fun and I love that Wallace & Gromit is still in stop-action animation instead of following the Pixar parade, like most everyone else.
After the Shorts we stopped at the video store to rent District 9, a best picture nominee. I wish we hadn’t. For the record, I like action movies, I like Sci-Fi movies, I own a DVD of Predator! But District 9 was, in a word – ok 2 – complete sh*t. When it started, we thought it was going to be a commentary on refugee camps and the tensions between refugees and the inhabitants of the cities in which they flee too – NOPE. Then, when they started talking about how the aliens, referred to as prawns, adored cat food, we thought maybe it was a satire – NOPE. 52 minutes in we couldn’t have cared less, we just wanted the torture to end. If we had been in the theater we would have walked out (something I have never actually done), as it was we just turned off the TV.
So we head into Awards night completely unprepared. Can you help us out? Have you seen the nominated films? Which are your favorites? Which would you say to skip?