It was ten years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday…
We were in a Friendly’s, wait, no that can’t be right I had a beer, okay a few beers. Oh yeah, it was a Buffalo Wild Wings. Anyways, I remember it like it was yesterday…
Maglomaniac’s own Nick Newert and I were feasting on wings and watching the 76th Annual Academy awards. Instead of the usual electronic trivia, B-Dubs (as the cool kids called it) had an Oscar prediction game running. Nick was doing a fairly good job of kicking the living shit out me, as there were several moments where I was more entertained by spicy garlic wings than the same slapnuts Billy Crystal routine we’ve seen 847 different times.
Somewhere around hour eight, as the staff stood in a circle around our table, audibly debating whether it would be easier to ask us to leave again, or just go ahead and kill us, Nicole Kidman took the stage to present the award for Best Actor.
It was the moment I had been waiting for. Finally, a man whose movies had become instant classics would get his due. Sure there were Space Jams and Larger than Lifes along the way, but that can’t take away Caddyshack, Scrooged, What About Bob, Ghostbusters, Rushmore, and the movie that brought him to the dance that night, Lost in Translation, a movie that is still one of my all time favorites. Yes sir, this was Bill Murray’s night.
And the award goes to Sean Penn for Mystic Pizza (That doesn’t seem right)
That was the last thing I remember. Next thing I know, I’m lying on the floor of a Mongolian prison. The prisoners had given me the nickname, “El Diablo Con Leche,” which didn’t really make sense, because it translated to The Milk Devil, and none of them spoke Spanish.
As I served my sentence, spending most of the time as the prison’s librarian and bookie, I made a vow to myself that after this betrayal, I would never let myself care about the Academy Awards again…
Sometimes a man has to forgive. He has to be a better man. He has to realize that he didn’t plan out an article for this month, and as luck would have it, he’s seen a couple of the movies nominated for Best Picture, and this would make for a topical and mildly entertaining topic. That said, I welcome you back to the Mike Minch Movie Minute…
But First!!! What’s a movie without a coming soon preview?!?!?!
Man of Steel 2 Coming 2015, (or 16. You know, whatever)
I’m pretty middle of the road when it comes to Man of Steel. I enjoyed it, noticed it’s logic gaps, and was happy Zod’s plan didn’t revolve around real estate. So naturally I’m interested in the plans for a sequel, Man of Steel 2: How Much Shit Can We Stuff Into This Movie?
My only issue with Batman being around is that we had Batman. Is everything running on the Spiderman principle now? How long has it been? Ten minutes? REBOOT!!! I’m not the type of person who won’t go to a movie because the casting doesn’t click, but…come on?! Jessie Eisenberg?
Don’t get me wrong, he could turn around and kick this role right in the ass, and I’d be happy to see him do it, but when I read that Luthor is going to be a brilliant former gang member turned millionaire, complete with tattoos and a shaved head, it’s just not what I thinking as I watched Zombieland.
Finally, as I have gone a very long time without reviewing a single movie, this reminds me of the time George Miller was supposed to do a Justice League movie. There was a script, a cast, and a location, everything a movie needs and then out of nowhere (FART NOISE.) Poor thing went right into the DC/WB tire fire where Birds of Prey and later Green Lantern currently reside.
…and now, on with the show.
Alexander Payne has directed a few movies that I really truly enjoy, the underrated About Schmidt and Sideways–Yeah, yeah I know. We all joke about how Paul Giamatti is always sad. Give the guy a break, wouldn’t you be sad if you were Paul Giamatti?
This movie ranks right up with some of his best work. Bruce Dern is a doddering old man, who keeps trying to walk to Lincoln Nebraska (from his home in Montana) to claim a million dollar prize he believes he won. His son, played by SNL Alum Will Forte, decides to bring him there himself, both to indulge the far fetched idea that he won something and to give himself an opportunity to spend time with his obliviously ailing father.
There is so much that is special about this movie. For one, Bruce Dern was so good at playing the ailing old man, that I actually started becoming worried for Bruce Dern himself. His wife, played by June Squibb, is constantly verbally abusing Dern, and just when you get to the point where you start to hate her, she gives you a reason to love her.
The beauty of the movie is the simplicity. They aren’t searching for treasure. While there are a couple of assholes, there’s no real villain. The audience is given a slice of life, and you are left hoping against hope, that maybe this old man is right about what he received in the mail.
The thing I kept thinking while watching this is, “Why doesn’t Spike Jonze make more movies?” He has an amazing eye, and there are always very distinct visual themes, both subtle and in your face.
Joaquin Phoenix is divorced, lonely, and in a state of self imposed isolation. One day, he buys the new high tech operating system which is based on artificial technology. His operating system, or “OS” is female (by his design) and named Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Slowly but surely, he starts to fall in love with his OS, who also falls in love with him.
It would be so incredibly easy to make this a screwball comedy. Play “Treat Her Right” by the Commitments in the trailer and edit in shots of Phoenix with his junk in a CD burner drive at work while his angry boss stands behind him. But it doesn’t, it takes a futuristic concept and uses it to explore human nature and the capacity for love.
If I do have one concern with the movie, it’s Spike Jonze’s scary vision for the future of men’s pants. So high waisted…
This movie reminds me of Avatar, in that I enjoyed watching it in 3D in a movie theater, but I cant imagine ever watching it again. That said, Gravity has bit more substance that Avatar, and quite a bit less Unobtainium.
Visually, this movie is a knockout. I’m pretty surprised no one in my theater I was watching it in threw up, given the average age was 115, keeping in mind the curve with me being there.
George Clooney is basically Buzz Lightyear, and Sandra Bullock is the reluctant, I’m not even supposed to be here scientist on a mission to work on a space station. When the Russians blow up one of their own satellites, the debris causes some major trouble. Honestly, would we come to expect anything less from the Russians? They can’t even get shit houses at the Olympics right?
On it’s own, that’s a sellable and entertaining premise, but they add in a fairly heavy personal tragedy to Bullock’s character which occurred before the time frame of the movies plot. It was as if the movie should have started with a, “Previously on Gravity” button. Despite that, Gravity was engaging and enjoyable, but not something that will translate well to a 2D television.
Sure there are plenty of other movies that are up for an Oscar. Hell, there are plenty of movies not up for Oscars, like Burt Wonderstone. Good Glob, how did they pack so many funny people into such an aggressively unfunny movie? Let’s take this one step at a time, maybe one day I’ll forgive the Oscars, but more importantly, maybe one day they’ll give Bill Murray his due…
Until Next Month,
Crazy Shits Coming soon to