Last night I had the joy of participating in the Kindling's Muse "Theologies of the Best Picture Nominees."
As always, so fascinating!
Oh! I just absolutely love story-telling! And films. And award season :)
The 2013 Best Picture Nominees:
Life of Pi - Ang Lee
Amour - Michael Haneke
Zero Dark Thirty - Kathryn Bigelow
*Beasts of the Southern Wild - Benh Zeitlin
*Argo - Ben Affleck
Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino
*Les Miserables - Tom Hooper
*Silver Linings Playbook - David O. Russell
*Lincoln - Steven Spielberg
* - one's that I've seen
Partner in crime ;)
(We have way too much fun together!!)
Dinner - bangers & mash in mushroom gravy... thank God for delicious pub food!
[In other news... I miss England. Yah... shocking.]
Ok... but back to the pictures themselves. I'll speak briefly to the one's I've seen:
Beasts of the Southern Wild - Odd. Mythic in an Odyssey type way. Art-house. At times uncomfortable, boring, stunning, jaw-dropping. Maybe it was because I was at home, but I had a rather visceral reaction to this film. Learning about how they made it was more intriguing than actually watching it. Wouldn't recommend it widely, but I know certain people who would really enjoy this.
Argo - Solid film. Almost everything Americans love about films - action, humor, redemption, beating the odds - wrapped into the representation of a true story (obviously exagerated at moments, but you know). Yes, for more mature audiences due to language - but surprisingly clean/uplifting. Strangely prophetic about where we are at right now.
Les Miserables - Obviously amazing story. The weaknesses of the film were due to not letting the lyrics, the story, speak for itself. Some incredible performances, but at times, over-performed and over-pathetic. And, of course, too many close-ups.
Silver Linings Playbook - So... really didn't get what all the hype was about. I expected something more art-house, or at least an unexpected ending. What I got was a darker, more vulgarized What About Bob. I applaud the screen-writers, directors, and production team for wanting to tackle a difficult-to-talk-about subject. Bradley Cooper let us see a different side. The other actors are pretty great at what they do. But it's gotten so much hype I was pretty disappointed. Don't feel a need to see it again.
Lincoln - Wow! Saw it twice in theatres - cannot wait to own it. Most immersive biopic I've seen. I felt that each actor, with the exception of Joseph Gordon Levitt [Sorry, JGL], dissolved into their character. Of course Daniel Day-Lewis was amazing. But I was surprised by and grateful for Spielberg's restraint in this piece. Last night many said that this will probably be remembered as his masterpiece and I have to agree. Even more than being masterful film-making or gifted acting, I felt it was the film America needed. It wins "Best Picture" in my book :)
The other films:
Life of Pi - I don't feel the draw to see this film. Maybe read the book, but no particular desire as of now.
Amour - I had been very anti-Amour, but last night, I think I was convinced to at least watch it. Thank you, Jeffrey Overstreet. I'll be waiting to see it on a smaller screen - I don't want to go to the cinema for a downer.
Zero Dark Thirty - some may not understand, but I need to wait to see this film. I think it might be emotionally too much for me right now, but I look forward to seeing it, again, hopefully on a smaller screen.
Django Unchained - Sorry, Tarantino is just not my cup of tea.
Finally, the painful hole in this list of Best Pictures - Moonrise Kingdom [obvi!]
More than responses or ideas about the specific films discussed last night, I was so grateful for some of the great insights on what these stories say about us as humans, especially humans in the 21st Century. It was a thought-provoking night - and a much needed one. I miss criticism--wrestling with art and examining its affect. So, so grateful for last night's good food, profound thoughts, and fun people.
Alright... there are my reflections on the years Best Pics - what are yours?