Tonight is the Oscars, and I find it amusing that as I get older, I become more and more detached from the mainstream. Of the nominees, the only one I have seen is the only one I was interested in seeing, which was Moneyball. Of the rest of them The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life, and War Horse, there are several I have never even heard of, and most of them I have no idea what the plot is about nor do I care.

I’ll probably go to the theater to see the Hobbit when it comes out, but I sort of feel alienated from the whole Hollywood experience. If something is good, I’ll catch it on PPV, or I’ll just wait six months and watch it on Saturday night on HBO. I’m much more excited about the tv show Awake than I have been about any movie in a number of years.

93 replies
  1. 1
    cathyx says:

    I’d like to see the Descendants. It’s a George Clooney thing.

    I hear the Artiste is most likely to win.

  2. 2
    Some Guy says:

    I am less interested anymore as well, but I will say that Midnight in Paris is very enjoyable and beautifully composed. Hugo is lyrical; I loved that movie. For me, it is the first film to use 3d in a way that magnified its aesthetics rather than distracting, and that is because it added a subtle quality instead of beating you over the head with objects floating above your head. And the Descendents is a terrific character story, IMO. I have not seen the others. So I understand, but I really recommend these movies.

  3. 3
    cathyx says:

    I wait even longer to see them and get them at the library.

  4. 4
    Mnemosyne says:

    If you liked About Schmidt, you will like The Descendants. I have to admit, I haven’t seen the others, either. Though I hear The Muppets got robbed.

  5. 5
    Soonergrunt says:

    Awake premiers on March 1. I’m excited about the premise.

  6. 6
    BGinCHI says:

    I feel the same way, especially since so many films are nominated. It’s as if the quality and the number nominated are going in opposite directions. From what I read of “Extremely Loud…” it sounded like a giant piece of shit.

    Descendants was good, but no better than hundreds of films made in the last 5 or 10 years.

    Tree of Life, on the other hand, was great. It’s what you’d expect from Malick, but is, I think, greater than anything he’s done so far. It appears at first not so much as a movie (in the sense of a narrative film), but instead a disjointed series of scenes from the life of a family. But there is so much more to how he does it, weaving various stories together and shooting it so brilliantly that the camera never really sets up the shots like in a typical film. Characters are forever coming into and out of the frame as though it’s unblocked. I’ve never felt so inside a film. Or at least the world of the film.

    I wasn’t really expecting to like it as much as I did after reading about all those images of galaxies and all that stuff. But that’s the least impressive part of the film (along with the contemporary parts with Sean Penn). The rest is fucking mesmerizing.

  7. 7
    Mnemosyne says:

    I did see Margin Call, which is nominated for best original screenplay, and liked it. Sort of like The Andromeda Strain, but set in the world of finance.

  8. 8
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    I saw WarHorse because my daughter is into horses. Its typical Speilberg so is not bad and pretty satisfying. Its something most people would like.

  9. 9
    sashal says:

    Artist, Descendants, Hugo- all worth a big screen experience, especially Hugo.
    Haven’t seen the rest

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    @Mnemosyne: I thought Margin Call was terrific. Really underrated. I liked Drive, too.

  11. 11
    General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero) says:

    The only theater out here in the wilds, is a metal utility building with a big screen teevee in it, so the choice to be detached is already made for moi. I’m content with NF and waiting for movies I want to see, but am no longer a movie buff like before. Reality these days, is actually stranger than most fiction. And it’s going to get stranger.

  12. 12
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    Sitting here enjoying a Cole-inspired Irish Peasant dinner – corned beef, cabbage, turnips and carrots, with homemade baked beans.

    Since the Green Bay Packers extended their stock offer to Canadians, I bought one–mostly just so I can say I’m an NFL owner.

    I watched Moneyball at the theater and thought it was a great film…but I don’t know if the Academy of Old White Guys and SOPA fans will pick it as a winner.

  13. 13
    Mike in NC says:

    “The Artist” will win Best Picture, from all I’ve read, but we haven’t seen it yet. Saw “Midnight in Paris” and the “The Descendants” and they were OK, not great. “The Help” was a boring chick flick. Fell asleep during the first few minutes of “Moneyball”. “Tree of Life” was incomprehensible horseshit.

    Plus I cringe at the thought of hearing “Who are your wearing tonight?”

  14. 14
    David Koch says:

    there are several I have never even heard of, and most of them I have no idea what the plot is about nor do I care.

    I blame Ebert.

    I used to watch “Siskel & Ebert” and later “Ebert & Roper” every weekend. Their shows were fun, entertaining, and informative.

    But since Roger left tee vee in 2006, due to losing his voice, I’ve become disconnected from feature film news.

    I also stopped subscribing to a daily paper in 2003, so I no longer read any entertainment sections.

  15. 15
    Breezeblock says:

    I haven’t been to a theater in, at least 2, probably 3, years. I HATE all the “kid-friendly” shit. That goes for shit that is friendly for 40 year old kids.

    Sorry if that offends anyone. NO FUCKING CARTOONS!

    “Midnight in Paris” was a fun movie, and I’m not a Woody Allen fan.

  16. 16
    Jager says:

    @cathyx: The final scene in the Descendants, Clooney and his girls on the sofa, sharing ice cream and a blanket is wonderful. He is still as clueless about his kids as they are about him, but they have come so far since the beginning of the story. No words, none needed. I was hoping the closing scene would show them camping on the beautiful beach like he and their Mom did when they were young and in love.

  17. 17
    RossInDetroit says:

    Thanks for the reminder that the Oscars(tm) are on. My wife will have the TV on and I will decamp to the upper storey with a fat book and a cup of tea. The show just doesn’t hold my attention.
    I’ve seen fewer movies this year than probably any year in the last 20. Not sure why, just not as interested.

  18. 18
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    I think this a ‘huh?’ year for the Oscars.

    I liked Midnight In Paris, though it felt like a remake/homage of a 1970s Woody Allen film, with the leads impersonating actors from that era. Which, I suppose, isn’t a bad thing if you want to make a funny film.

  19. 19
    Skipjack says:

    I’m with those who say to see Hugo on the big screen. It’s in 3D and is the most beautiful 3D film I’ve ever seen, not even close. It’s not a gimmick at all.

    And as well, I highly recommend seeing the Artist in the theater, most importantly with a crowd. It’s a testament to the movie-going experience, and demonstrates what it’s like when all of you are trying to get what is going on (the film is mostly silent) and all of you get it at the same time. The shared laughs are great, and the shared experience very moving. We lost something immediate when sound came in, almost as much as we gained. The Artist is the kind of movie where people clap at the end.

    ETA: Still I could hardly drag myself to the movies this year either. Most of the Hollywood movies seem pretty detached as well, not from the mainstream I guess but from the movie experience. Explosions and tears aren’t the only things to put butts in the seats, we need to feel the stakes to be moved.

  20. 20
    cathyx says:

    @Jager: I thought it was apparent from my comment that I haven’t seen the movie yet. Are you being a spoiler?

  21. 21
    aspasia says:

    And The Help demonstrates that white racism is alive and well.

  22. 22
    Jager says:

    @cathyx: Sorry, go see it. The young actors are superb. I didn’t give much away.

  23. 23
    TBogg says:

    @cathyx: Don’t believe Jager. The Descendants ends with Clooney and family attacked by flesh-eating robots. I won’t tell you how that ends. You’ll have to see it for yourself.

  24. 24
    cay says:

    I bet you’d like Drive, JC (but I’m from LALAland and like movies set here).

  25. 25
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I think the Ides Of March, is now available on NetFlix so I will rent it. As for movies at the theatre, the last movie I saw was J.Edgar,ok but paying $9.00 for a matinee that turned me off going to the Cineplex, I may go again for the Hobbit but I going to be a rare sight for these first run movies unless I win the Powerball.

  26. 26
    Billy Beane says:

    Loved MoneyBall. Pitt did a great job.

  27. 27
    BGinCHI says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: Thought Ides was underwhelming….

    Good cast but not well-written.

  28. 28
    lacp says:

    Thought The Descendents was dreadful, though Clooney & Co. gave it the old college try. I’ve tried to describe it to others, alternating between “Hawaii Five-O meets Hallmark Movie of the Week” and “Adultery Road Trip.” Ill-defined characters in unbelievable situations giving unrealistic responses in insipid dialogue. It’s cool if you like that sort of thing, though.

  29. 29
    kevin says:

    I think Tree of Life was completely awful. I cannot be convince otherwise. Literally the entire movie is whispered. With characters whispering random giberish in the background as well “why god?”. Why? Because you and your family are boring.

    And the 10 minute history of the planet in the middle was absolutely pointless. This was the closest I’ve ever come to walking out of a movie. And honestly, i think it could have been fixed to be watchable pretty easily. Not good mind you, there was no story or plot or…anything really. But take out the pointless Sean Penn stuff, cut out the dinosaurs, and have the characters speak their lines in normal voices, and this could be a decent coming of age story. Instead, it was a pretentious mess.

  30. 30
    Billy Beane says:

    @BGinCHI: Ditto

  31. 31
    scottinnj says:

    Actually of the nominees Hugo was an inspired film, fine directing by Martin. Also, too the young chap who played Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is going to make an excellent Enders when that is made into a film

  32. 32
    cathyx says:

    When someone says that a movie that is up for an academy award for best picture is dreadful, then I do not take their comment seriously.

  33. 33
    RossInDetroit says:

    I’ll go see The Hobbit at a big theater. Probably wait until the crowds die down so we can enjoy it. My wife goes all bugnuts apehole over bad audience behavior and then disturbs my Viewing Experience complaining about it.
    I thought LOTR was one of the great adventure series in decades.

  34. 34
    BGinCHI says:

    @Billy Beane: If you were the GM of a country that had a limited budget, but a solid formula for picking undervalued talent, who would you nominate from amongst the GOP crowd?

    Just a hypothetical.

  35. 35
    scottinnj says:


    If Movie Posters told the Truth:

    The Help “You’re welcome black people: White People Solve Racism”

  36. 36
    BGinCHI says:

    @cathyx: Did you read any reviews of “Extremely Loud…”?

    Pilloried, I tells ya.

  37. 37
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Jager: The scene where he is looking for some kind of advice, any advice, from that dumb as nails teenaged boy his daughter drags around everywhere is also memorable. I think it really is the best of the bunch.

  38. 38
    MattR says:

    @BGinCHI: My initial reaction to that movie is that I absolutely do not want my friends and family looking into the “hidden” aspects of my life after my death. If I wanted them to know about it, I would have told them.

  39. 39
    YellowJournalism says:

    Just don’t have the time, energy, or babysitter required to go to the movies, so we end up waiting for VOD. Even then, I’ve felt like it’s a chore to watch the ones that were nominated. I do want to see Moneyball, but I wasn’t in the mood to watch a baseball movie this weekend. I also want to see The Artist. From what I’ve read, it’s not the Oscar-pandering film that the sure-thing squad make you think it might be. Also, too, John Goodman.

  40. 40
    BGinCHI says:

    @scottinnj: Liked the one for Iron Lady.

  41. 41
    cathyx says:

    @BGinCHI: A movie may not be someones cup of tea, but to say that any of these movies that are nominated for best picture is awful is ridiculous.

  42. 42
    forked tongue says:

    The Oscars are an abomination. Hollywood isn’t anything to celebrate and hasn’t been for many decades.

  43. 43
    ReflectedSky says:

    I live in L.A. A grocery store was handing out chocolate dipped stem strawberries this morning. I heard a mother respond to her preschooler son’s question with, “It’s a special day here, like a holiday.” It’s L.A. own holiday.

    I wish the movies were better, but more importantly, I wish the show was better. It’s likely to be dreadful this year. I can remember when I was a wee lass and it was actually worth staying up late because even if Best Picture was usually middlebrow slop, a bunch of the nominated clips would be worth watching and the show was entertaining. It’s like the Academy wants to avoid at all costs being entertaining the the people in the TV audience.

    Also Jason Isaacs on my TV every week would be more than I could ask for.

  44. 44

    The only one of the Best Picture nominees we didn’t see was “The Help,” and that’s because we both just refused. I think the movies this year generally sucked. “Moneyball” was good and some others had their moments — I didn’t hate “The Artist” or “The Descendants,” and I actually like “Midnight In Paris.” But Oscar material? Nah. Not a one of them.

    I hated “Extremely Loud/Close.” What a wretched film. I hated that little child in that movie so much I wanted to punch him. This is not good.

    Hollywood needs to make some fucking good movies for a change. Not everything needs to be in 3D or feature a Marvel Comics superhero. How about telling some real stories? Or using some imagination?

    Also, offa my lawn.

  45. 45
    lacp says:

    @cathyx: Too true. When has anything other than the finest in motion picture artistry ever been nominated for one of these awards?

    Hey, I don’t expect anybody to take my word for it when it comes to my opinion on movies. It’s not like I get paid for it or something.

  46. 46
    YellowJournalism says:

    I don’t know, cathyx. Extremely Loud, by all the reviews I’ve read (even positive ones) sounds pretty damn awful. Even if you don’t like something like Tree of Life or The Artist, at least they were trying for something different rather than cramming what sounds like every single kind of pandering BS into one movie. (This may also apply to The Help, too.)

  47. 47
    BGinCHI says:

    @cathyx: I said many reviews said it was awful. Take it up with the critics.

    And do you seriously think no nominated film has ever been crap? Or even won?

    Did you see “Crash”?

  48. 48
    kevin says:

    This year has a couple of movies i am really looking forward to.

    The first is “The Master”, Paul Thomas Anderson’s first movie since There will be Blood. I love all his movies, and this one stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a L.Ron Hubbard-like cult leader.

    The second is “Django Unchained”, Tarantino’s slave revenge western. I know some people really dislike him, but I love his movies, and I’ve thought for awhile that he would be perfect in the western genre. Glad to see him trying it out, and I think this one will be great. Too bad both movies come out so late in the year, I think Christmas for both.

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    @forked tongue – an abomination? Which god to we need to sacrifice to to get better movies?

  50. 50
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Southern Beale: What they need is to sit down at watch TCM 24/7. And relearn how to make a movie, no not remakes, but learn how to tell a story, dialogue that is not every other word a F-bomb or S-bomb. Leave the CGI to a minimum. Perhaps also maybe actually look for some writers who can write. It is like Hollywood is run by a bunch of Griffin Mills(played by Tim Robbins in The Player) on steroids. As a matter of the fact Hollywood, needs to be run by people with liberal arts degrees instead of MBA’s or so it seems.

  51. 51
    gogol's wife says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    Seconded. I haven’t seen anything since “The King’s Speech.” I just keep going to school on TCM with Mr. Wilder, Mr. Hitchcock, Mr. Lubitsch et al.

  52. 52
    scav says:

    OT ramble
    A) well, if someone(s) in a position of self-appointed authority says a movie is good, it must of course, inevitably be good. (not something I expected to read on BJ)
    B) there is no way from title alone to distinguish this post’s content from its immediate neighbors.
    The A) was the aside (I’ve seen none of the movies this year) (yes, read with irony) and the B) was the intended ramble. I be allz out of rantz and need to go recharge. The BBC promises me a regal beheading and some infighting among the roundheads. Sounds like a busman’s honeymoon.

  53. 53
    Kathleen says:

    I saw only one of the nominated best pictures, and that was The Artist, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I’m a sucker for a good romantic story. The dog was precious. I also just saw Red Tails, which I highly recommend. I look forward to seeing Moneyball on HBO.

  54. 54
    ReflectedSky says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: It IS run by a bunch of Griffin Mills. Nobody in power understands any aspect of filmmaking or narrative art, and they don’t want anybody who does around. Really good movies get made because they slip through by accident, because someone wasn’t looking or somebody really clever was able to hide their intentions successfully.

    It’s run by people who are only interested in power and self-enrichment. Making it rather like Wall Street, government and the traditional media. The failure of the elites is pretty comprehensive.

  55. 55
    SuzieC says:

    I’m interested only in whether Melissa McCarthy wins supporting actress for “Bridesmaids.” (She won’t.) Saw “Midnight in Paris” and liked it.

  56. 56
    Michael57 says:

    I have to defend Tree of Life, I thought it was a very good film and in general not hard to understand at all, though there were some bits that I hope a second viewing would help clear up..

    I thought Drive was like a bad episode of Miami Vice.

    Descendants very good. The Help, meh.

  57. 57
    Violet says:

    Enjoyed “Midnight in Paris”. Not a great movie, but fun and some of the casting was inspired. It helps if you’re familiar with the writers and artists of that period.

    Loved “The Artist.” It’s hard to do what they did and it’s a good story and very well executed. I have a great fondness for old black and white silent films, having grown up watching old Buster Keaton and Keystone Cops and so forth, and this movie definitely captured the feel of those films. I think it’s hard for an actor now to act in a way that carries it off and is believable and Jean DuJardin did a great job. Probably not everyone would love it, but I did.

  58. 58
    Jim C says:


    I’ve found the “How To Make The Show Better” or “Like It Used To Be” to be a hard one to play. For me, it could be that what I like is what No One Else Likes: I love the long, windy, babble-y acceptance speeches. Playing people off after whatever ticks me off. This is their moment! Let them babble. I love it, even when they’re thanking agent after agent. What I hate is watching the long procession to the mike for the presenter. It’s not about them – put their podium on either wing and have the winner accept in the middle.

    But that’s me.

  59. 59
    Jim C says:

    Oh. And I haven’t actually seen any of the nominated films. I walked into my sister’s house when they were watching Midnight in Paris, but I was only there long enough to see the first time he meets Ernest H. (And I spent the whole time trying to figure out who was playing him*) So I think my opinion probably doesn’t count.

    *I had to look him up. It was Corey “Law & Order LA” Stoll.

  60. 60

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    … relearn how to make a movie, no not remakes, but learn how to tell a story, dialogue that is not every other word a F-bomb or S-bomb. Leave the CGI to a minimum. Perhaps also maybe actually look for some writers who can write.

    YES yes and yes. Relying on gadgets instead of the basics — good storytelling, good characters — is a recipe for failure.

  61. 61
    marcopolo says:

    The only best picture nominee I saw (and I only saw half) that I walked out of the theatre with a silly grin on my face was Hugo. That being said, this ain’t a great year for films…and let’s hope that isn’t a trend that will get worse.

    However, if you would like to see some smartly made films I heartily recommend catching the live short features. I saw them together about a week ago and a couple were really great. Am hoping the one called Tuba Atlantic wins.

    Animated shorts didn’t excite me as much. Hoping the one about the flying books wins.

  62. 62

    I just didn’t get the big ta-dah over The Artist. It was “A Star Is Born” remade for the umpteenth time. Yes they did it in a clever way, which made the message more positive and not a downer, but basically we’ve seen this story before.

    I dunno. Maybe I’m too old.

  63. 63
    Jager says:

    @TBogg: Gee, I guess Mrs J and I left too soon, dammnit!

  64. 64
    Nicole says:

    I enjoyed the few nominees I saw, but I just can’t watch the Oscars anymore. Somewhere along the line it started taking itself too seriously and I can’t sit through four hours of self-congratulation.

    Well, okay, I’m going to watch Billy Crystal’s opening routine. And then I’ll go yell at those kids to get off my lawn.

  65. 65
    RossInDetroit says:


    Artists want to make art but Hollywood wants to make money. This pretty much explains what comes out as commercial film making. It represents what people will pay for. I don’t have a problem with that, as a business is a business. I’d like movies to educate, enlighten and entertain me. To lift the human spirit on wings of imagination, etc. But I can’t expect a bottom line driven industry to make that a priority just because it would make me happy.

  66. 66
    handsmile says:

    @BGinCHI: (#47)

    To wit, “Is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close the worst best picture nominee ever?”

    The article details some other “Best Picture” selections which have not aged well, films now regarded as cringe-worthy or simply mediocre. “The Academy has a long and illustrious track record in idiocy. Confusion reigns and compromise rules.”

    Tree of Life. Hmm…Saw it twice, out of my respect for Malick’s previous films. On both viewings, utterly astonished that he had created such a pompous work. True, its central section depicting the protagonist’s childhood and family life was quintessential Malick-lyrical, indirect, portraying human life as but one element in Nature’s order. But the protracted opening and concluding sequences (that insipid beach scene!) were overwrought and diffuse, albeit visually dazzling. Masochist for art that I am, I’ll still probably see it again in a couple of years.

  67. 67
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Billy Beane: Billy Beane! 2002, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  68. 68
    WereBear says:

    @kevin: Those both sound great! Say what ones wishes about Mr. Tarantino; he knows how to make a movie that will not bore the audience.

    I have a particular loathing for movies that meander around and look pretty and are too too precious to have an actual plot. Why yes, I did see Last Year at Marienbad at an art house once, and no, I never got over it. Why do you ask?

  69. 69
    BGinCHI says:

    @handsmile: I agree with the assessment of its flaws. I was really blown away though by that section you mention. In my memory it’s almost the whole film, as I’ve blocked most of the rest out. He’s doing something really interesting there that I wish he’d let loose for the whole film. The “present day” and “clip art” sequences were insipid.

  70. 70
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Southern Beale: The Artist is an ok film, but it’s got a gimmick and that’s why it will probably win even though I think Hugo and a couple of others are head and shoulders above it. My pick would be Hugo.

    I’ve seen half: Hugo, Moneyball, Midnight in Paris, The Help and The Artist. Midnight in Paris was great, Moneyball was very good but unless you’re a fanatic baseball fan, or a fan of either the A’s or the Angels, it’s probably not that exciting. The Help was well done, they only pulled their punches a little. I was pleasantly surprised to see Cicely Tyson in it, when I found out who played Hilly’s mother I laughed a lot, and then one of my kids pointed out who played Hilly.

    I’ve got The Descendants sitting on my desk, on loan from a relative who is a voting member of the Academy. I need to watch it, maybe tonight.

  71. 71
    opie_jeanne says:

    @BGinCHI: Our reaction also. Disappointing. Stage plays do not always translate well to film.

  72. 72
    Yutsano says:


    Did you see “Crash”?

    There is only one reason “Crash” won. Because a vastly superior movie that had won about half of the other top categories (“Crash” won exactly one, Best Picture) including Best Director and Best Male Actor was also about two gay cowboys. It was the first time I EVER felt the Oscars were fixed. Also: “Crash” was heavily sponsored by the Church of Scientology, hence all the anti-psychology references throughout. That year I was PISSED. And I stopped caring after.

  73. 73
    handsmile says:

    Living where I do (NYC), I’m very fortunate to have a enormous variety of films to choose from. (Of course, living where I do, the cost of a first-run movie ticket is $13.00.)

    The only request I make of any movie is that it does not insult me. For that reason, I see fewer and fewer “Hollywood” movies. Of this year’s “Best Picture” crop, the only ones I saw (other than ToL as noted above) were The Artist, Hugo, Midnight in Paris. Hugo, alone, was worth the time and big-screen price (for its virtuosic cinematography, clever screenplay, and imaginative art design.) The other two were to cinema what the Olive Garden is to food.

    To tar myself even more than usual here, my favorite new film last year was Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a Turkish contemporary crime drama (think “CSI” set in rural Turkey).

  74. 74
    scottinnj says:


    1990: Dances with wolves beat Goodfellas. Definitely one where the Academy got it wrong in addition to Crash (which should have gone to Brokeback Mountain)

  75. 75
    RossInDetroit says:

    Mrs. inD is going to watch The Oscars(tm) now. The Donald is on our TV. I am retreating as far as I can get from this right now before I start hollering.

  76. 76
    Ejoiner says:

    Hey, check your cable on-demand service, John. The pilot for “Awake” has been available here (SC) for several weeks now. Good first episode and looks really solid with many intriguing directions it could go. Which means it’ll be canceled after the second season :)

  77. 77
    Elizabelle says:


    Tuba Atlantic! After my heart.


  78. 78
    Ogliberal says:

    Blah….I’ll be the cranky old 41-year old and say that i saw none of these. Movies these days just aren’t that good. Like the Downey Holmes stuff for fun only…not for art. Otherwise, I’ll stick with Apocalypse Now, Fast Times, Three Kings, Usual Suspects, Fight Club, Hollywood Knights, Being John Malkovich, Underground Aces, War Games, Empire Strikes Back, Red Dawn, Terms of Endearment and Steel Magnolias – but only after the Julia Roberts character dies – as my faves. Not many Oscars among that bunch. And maybe not that many good films…

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yes, and The Greatest Show on Earth is clearly a better film than High Noon since it won Best Picture and High Noon did not.

  80. 80
    p.a. says:

    I’ll go see The Hobbit to check out how bad Jackson fucks it up. I thought he did ok with The Fellowship, especially Moria and Galadriel’s turning down the ring, but the last 2 movies were a storyline mess. (of course non-Tolkienites will say this is because of the book itself) I admit I’m a JRRT nut, and I realize scenes from so long a book have to be left out, but why cut the author’s work to then add invented scenes? And Faramir, one of Tolkien’s favorite characters, was butchered in the movie. I haven’t seen the unedited version; maybe it makes more narrative sense. But the vision, the scenery, sets, the whole creation of Middle Earth, was awesome. AND SAURON WAS COPOREAL, HE WASN’T JUST A GODDAMN EYE!!! I feel better now.

  81. 81
    Ogliberal says:

    And “Harold and Maude”….how could I forget that one.

  82. 82
    dance around in your bones says:

    Watching the Oscars now, don’t know why as I have seen exactly one of the films; Midnight in Paris – which I liked (beautiful photography) but as with all Woody Allen films in the last 15 years or so he seems to coach all his actors to act like him. The female characters are all like his original ones (Mia, Diane, etc), so you feel like you’re watching a remake, in a way. The premise was good – the time-traveling thing and the yearning for a previous ‘Golden Age’ that kept receding into the past.

    Tried to see Pina, got the theatre wrong, went to another one to see The Artist and it had already started so ended up watching the execrable Safe House which was like a poor remake of The Bourne Identity movies. I’m sure my friend and I annoyed the ten other patrons in the movie with our snide comments (sorry, other patrons) but boy was I glad when that movie ended.

    Popcorn and WATER cost $10.00. Meh.

    I likes my Netflix. Did a Luther marathon the other night, pretty good.

  83. 83
    Bloix says:

    My wife and i saw The Descendants with my parents and our children. Three generations and two sexes agree: it’s god-awful. The plot is written by committee. The characters are cardboard cut-outs from of the Hollywood box of cliches. Clooney walks through the role. The resolution makes no sense. And yes, it’s yet another movie about how hard life is for a middle-aged multi-millionaire white man.

    The Artist is charming. Not deep, but amusing and fun.

    Midnight in Paris is less annoying than other recent Allen movies. At least it tries to be a movie, unlike, say Vickie Christina Barcelona, which is an idea for a movie.

  84. 84

    I love the comments: “I haven’t seen any movies this year and they all stink.”

    Is this not self-evidently narcissistic, solipsistic, ignorant, arrogant and ridiculous?

    Not least because you all assume that “Movies I Like” equals “Movies That Are Good.”

    You embarrass me as fellow progressives.

  85. 85
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kerr Lockhart:

    You embarrass me as fellow progressives.

    Dude. They’re movies. Get over it. And I say that as someone who works for a movie studio.

  86. 86
    Gemina13 says:

    The only movie I saw that was nominated was Hugo, which I saw with the BF. 3-D gives him a pounding headache, so the BF didn’t leave the theater with an ear-to-ear grin. Still, we both loved it. There was absolutely no reason Hugo needed 3-D; it was gorgeous without it.

  87. 87
    Bruce S says:

    The Tree of Life was one of the greatest films ever made. A stunning work of art that tread where few directors would dare.

  88. 88
    ReflectedSky says:

    @RossInDetroit: I disagree. They don’t make movies that make money. The Hollywood business model is a disgrace — it’s kind of like the Republican economic plan. They SAY they want to make entertainment, but they rarely do.

    I’m not arguing that Hollywood should crank out esoteric art. I’m arguing that they should care enough about storytelling and the craft of cinema to make entertaining movies on a regular basis. Knowing how to rig a balance sheet will not make most people laugh.

  89. 89
    bob h says:

    Most of the really good films are foreign made these days: A Separation”, “Miss Bala”, “Albert Nobbs”, “Shame”, “Pina”, etc. You probably don’t get to see them in West Virginia.

  90. 90
    S-Curve says:

    My wife and I found ourselves very much in the minority wrt Hugo. The visuals are tremendous, but we felt that the story is awfully weak and the two kid leads unappealing. (My wife calls the boy “Nostrils.”)

    Agree with those who thought The Descendants OK but not great. Though I did enjoy watching co-screenwriter Jim Rash (the Dean from Community) making fun of Angelina’s dress slit while accepting the Adapted Screenplay Oscar.

  91. 91
    Paul in KY says:

    @scottinnj: ‘White People! Cause We’re Just that Special’

    Looked like the movie might give me diabetes.

  92. 92
    Deb T says:

    I liked The Descendants, but have to say it took me about 30 or 40 minutes to get into the movie. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood???
    I’m with John though. When I was younger, I saw everything worth seeing and about half of wasn’t worth seeing. Now, it’s hard to sustain interest in most of the movies. I mostly see films when I go with other folks who want to see something (i.e. The Descendants).
    I watch more TV than I used to and I don’t even have cable. I watch TV online and via Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. I catch premium cable shows when they come out on DVD or Netflix. I also watch old TV. ME TV and Antennae TV put a lot of content out. I’ve been watching Naked City and Thriller lately – along with Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Dick van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart. I Netflixed all of Lee Marvin’s old TV series, M Squad and loved it so much I bought the boxed set.
    And Westerns??? I know, what’s up with that? They are so retro, sexist and racist, but I kind of like seeing how things on TV have changed and how they used to be, and I love the cowboys, the scenery and the horses. (I also love the chaps and gun belts – but that’s another conversation).
    The episodes with Native Americans (Indians!) are particularly embarrassing even when, or maybe especially when, they are trying to be ever so patronizingly sympathetic.
    It’s the same with all people of color. Fascinating how white TV “evolved” in their ability to respond to changing culture – however naive, insincere, downright revealing it was.
    It’s eye opening to observe the attitudes toward women. Men are always showing women what it means to be a woman. One insightful cowboy opines that it’s harder for women because if men don’t like what they’re doing they can get up and leave. Women have to stay where they are and make the best of it. His partner says, “That’s the way it is. What can you do about it?” Guess we showed them what we could do about it.

  93. 93
    Can't Be Bothered says:

    Good lord you all are a bunch of malcontent party pissers. Movies aren’t good anymore, like they were in the old days. Grumble, grumble. I like being a hermit and criticizing everything. Not a great year for movies by any stretch, but there were a couple gems, and going OUT and doing something is fun… or should be. And for the record, 2012 looks to be an absolutely banner year for movies and could rival 2007 as one of the best years for movies in the past 30 years.

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