Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pictures & pubs - 2013 Best Picture Nominees

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?


  1. Samara, this was such a great post! So interesting.
    Your brief reviews were perfect. I think I would agree. Havent seen Beasts of the Southern Wild...not sure if I will. I would want to watch it for the little girl tho :)
    LOVED Argo. So good!
    I was curious about the hype of SLP...sounds like not really worth it tho.
    Les Mis...I am a fan and always will be, but I do agree with the weaknesses you mentioned. I am sure it will win several awards, just not Best Picture.
    Lincoln was fantastic! I hope DDL wins Best Actor. I think I need to see it again too to really get everything that was packed in it!
    I saw Life of Pi...it was fascinating to watch, had some interesting agendas and ended leaving much up to the viewer. A one-time watch kind of movie.
    I agree with ZD-30...I'll probably watch that one at home.
    I would have loved to hear the talk on these films, especially critiquing what they say about us as humans. So interesting!!
    Glad you had a fun night! Definitely up my alley as well! Love you :)

  2. Great summary, Samara!Loved getting to spend time with you!
    I think I need to write a summary of reviews and post it somewhere too...too much to write in a comment box. ;) And I will probably wait until after I see Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, and Amour (the last three). :)