anti awards

I used to host parties for the Oscars with my pals….at one time in my life, these were a big deal, until I found films and performances that were so much better than those recognized by Oscar. Actually, I think it ended when Julia Roberts won for Erin Brokovitch (poor Ellen Burstyn and Bjork!).

But in keeping with the subject of movies, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites here:

The Deer Hunter: Great acting all around; I especially enjoyed a young Meryl Streep, as girlish and sweet as she’d ever be onscreen, John Cazale in his last role (did he ever make a bad film in such a short career?), Robert DeNiro, and of course, Christopher Walken’s heart wreching performance as Nicky, who pushes his lost and self destructive nature all the way to the end.

Being There Such a gem. Funny and sweet. Peter Sellers is understated and brilliant. This movie is still relevant almost 30 years later. For me it has everything; innocence, farce, irony, and a touch of a mystical ending. This is a good time to watch it during an election year.

Bringing Up Baby One has to be in the mood and headache free to watch this. God, that sounds like sex, doesn’t it? Actually, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are sexy and sparkling in this laugh-a-minute screwball comedy. Katharine in particular is beautiful in this; much more feminine and coy than she was in her other films, and deliciously madcap and conniving. Cary Grant is Cary Grant; and that’s always good. But if you’re not in the mood for its screamingly fast pace of dialogue to keep up with, wait.

Closer I think this one was received in divisive fashion; you either loved it or hated it. It doesn’t end happily, which is a strike against it. It’s four characters, who all hurt each other, are hardly sympathetic or likable (though I do like Natalie Portman’s Alice, who’s the biggest liar but probably more emotionally honest than any of them). But it’s an interesting examination of truth and lies, and the way truth is manipulated in order to hurt and exploit, and the way lies protect or even tell a greater or deeper truth.

Before Night Falls it’s only Julian Schnabel’s second film, and it’s vivid, beautiful, sensitive, and sensual. The cinematography alone is reason enough to watch it; like a lush painting. But it’s also a beautiful portrait of an angry, voracious artist whose sexuality and art rebel against a repressive atmosphere and government.

Night of the Hunter I love this for Robert Mitchum’s performance as the preacher, and for its camera work. The imagery is dense and sometimes beautiful and enchanting, and there’s always an eerie edge of suspense and terror in a seemingly ordinary country setting. I fell under its spell the moment I laid eyes on it.

Others: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kill Bill2, Three Kings, Life is Beautiful, The Insider, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and of course, Harold and Maude.

3 Responses to “anti awards”

  1. 1 Doktor Holocaust February 25, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    the oscars happened again? oh, wow. I used to have a passing interest in them, until i realized that the sort of cheesy scifi and horror movies that delight me to no end essentially do not exist in that red-carpeted, velvet-roped world.

    my own movie pics include
    Fido – a 50s-era sitcom where everyone has pet zombies, and some people realize that zombies can be more than pets. it’s heartwarming and sweet and always makes me smile.
    Black Sheep – man-eating sheep. nuff said.
    FLCL – yeah, it’s a six episode anime miniseries and not a proper movie. It’s a coming of age story with robots and crazy aliens.

    Lifetime achievement award – George A. Romero, for preparing us all for the coming zombiepocalypse.

  2. 2 petitmuse February 26, 2008 at 3:58 am

    hmm…I can’t get into horror unless it’s really cerebral, complicated; something for me to dissect and analyze, something to find metaphors in. And it would have to pretty, not all messy and goopy. I do like The Hunger. That’s the closest to horror that I get. You would probably like the photographs of Joel Peter Witken. Or not. They’re out there, creepy.
    I am happy that Mulder and Scully are making a new movie, apparently.

  3. 3 Doktor Holocaust February 26, 2008 at 8:19 am

    to me, all horror movies are something to find social commentary and other dissection-worthy things in regardless of their relative goopiness. the messier ones do tend to be more along the lines of old cautionary tales, like the pre-Disney versions of Cinderella/Ashputtel where the wicked stepsisters get their feet mangled towards the end.

    Or not. This new batch of horror-movie-makers, they use the messiness specifically to ward off serious critics because they operate under the assumption that serious, analytical people will be turned off by the gore and overlook the story and scenery and other little hidden nuggets around it, that they’ll look at the soup and never read the writing on the side of the bowl.

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