I have a lot of movies to catch up on as I haven't done this since November. As the Academy Awards are on Sunday, I am going to stick with the movies nominated for Best Picture and then do other miscellaneous movies next time. When the nominees were announced (NOW 10 MOVIES!), I had only see 2 of the nominated films. But, both of these, UP and Inglorious Basterds were movies I gave a 10 out of 10 rating to. So, how did the other movies stack up? Let's run down the rest...
The Blind Side - I don't get why this film is nominated. Sometimes an artsy film is nominated that I think is bad, but see why the Academy chose to nominate it. This film was pretty decent, but there was absolutely nothing special about it. It's just a simple sports biopic that I guess was kind of touching and entertaining, but nothing more. It gets a decent score from me just because it kept my entertainment, but an Oscar movie? NO. Hell, I gave Zombieland a 9.5 and that isn't an Oscar movie by any means. And I don't see why Sandra Bullock is getting such accolades for this. She didn't do anything special or out of the ordinary. As entertainment, this movie is ok, but it doesn't belong on this list by any means. 7 out of 10.
An Education - This was a pretty well-done film about a young girl trying to decide between pursuing college or pursuing the new life she just discovered with an older man. Carey Mulligan is outstanding in it and the supporting cast does an excellent job as well. It is also kind of nice that they fit it all into 90 minutes as this movie could have dragged, but they told the story they needed to without all the added fluff that bogs movies down at times. I don't think i would need to ever see this film again, but it wasn't bad. 7 out of 10
Up In the Air - This was a fantastic movie about a man whose job is traveling across the country and essentially firing people on behalf of companies. Along the way, he meets a couple of women who make him analyze his own life and look at the direction it is going. George Clooney is his usual excellent self and both women nominated for Best Supporting Actress do a really good job as well. It is a touching story and makes the viewer do a little soul searching at the same time. For a little bit, it seemed like it was the front runner to win and I wouldn't put it that high, but it is a very good film. 8 out of 10
Avatar - Beautiful. Of course I am talking about how the movie looked and sounded and not the actual story itself. This was a really outstanding film, but a lot of this has to do with just how beautiful the special effects in this film are. Visually, it was a masterpiece. Storywise though, it was good, but nothing unique as the story has been done countless times before in films like Dances with Wolves and Last Samurai. Now, from what I have heard recently, James Cameron wanted to make to make the film easy to follow and instead, let viewers concentrate on how beautiful everything looked, especially in 3D, but that doesn't make me say, "Well, in that case, the movie was perfect." It is a good story. It is a touching story. As a sci-fi film, it rocked and I will probably want to see it again and again on Blu Ray. But does that make it a Best Picture? Not really sure about that. One thing can be said, Cameron has definitely opened up the next generation of the movie viewing experience. 9 out of 10
The Hurt Locker - This is an absolutely outstanding film about the US soldiers in the Middle East who are responsible for deactivating bombs. You know how tense you get in a film when someone has to deactivate a bomb or else? Well, you get the edge of the seat feeling for the whole movie! And what a great story too. I loved that is a war movie, but it really didn't have a clear cut beginning, middle, end plot. I don't think it was supposed to. This is about the daily lives of these soldiers so forcing a storyline out of it isn't really necessary and in fact, would take away from the grittiness of this film. Following them on the day by day activities almost gave it a documentary feel, as if we were following along with what these people really go through. Loved it! 9.5 out of 10
District 9 - Another sci-fi film nominated for Best Picture? Very cool. Surprisingly, I did not like this film as much as some other people. I thought it was ok, and I thought it was a pretty innovative story, but it wasn't quite as good as I expected or wanted it to be. It is an interesting concept - aliens are here, but treated as lower creatures and put in internment camps. You feel for them as you see how they are treated. I thought the special effects showing these aliens were great. But maybe one reason I didn't like it as much as I could have is I hated the main character. As first, he is a douche and then, without giving too much away, you are supposed to feel for him, but I just didn't see the person as a likable character. There were even parts I was actually bored. Oh well. 6 out of 10.
Precious - This is a simply outstanding film that gets my vote for this year's, "I am so glad I see all the nominees every year otherwise I would have never seen this film." The film takes a harsh look at an inner city high school age girl, with one child already and another on the way, who lives with her physically and verbally abusive mother. The performances are top notch and almost too tough to watch at times. It is amazing how a film so raw can be so sad, yet so moving and inspirational at the same time. This is a must see. 9.5 out of 10
A Serious Man - I LOVE the Cohen Brothers. Fargo, Raising Arizona, No County for Old Men, and countless others have all been favorites of mine. I looked forward to another fine film by them. I guess I will be waiting a little longer as this was honestly, one of the worst films I have ever seen. I was bored to death, I didn't care about the characters, and I could not wait for it to end. Where did you go wrong Cohen Brothers? This movie about a man who ends up having one bad thing after another happen to him sounds like it would be interesting. But I hated it. Correction, I HATED it. In fact, I am going to stop wasting time on it right now. 1 out of 10.
So, with all that out of the way, how do I rate the movies nominated for Best Picture? Well, like this...
10. A Serious Man
9. The Blind Side
8. An Education
7. District 9
6. Up in the Air
4. Hurt Locker
1. Inglorious Basterds
What do I THINK will win? Well, I think it is a toss up between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. I can't say I will throw a fit if either win, especially if it is Hurt Locker, but I like a few others more. We shall see...