Category Archives: Film.

The 2014 Academy Awards

 The 2014 Academy Awards

Here’s the somewhat annual disclaimer: I love the Oscars. It’s not that I am a “film buff,” it’s that I love brilliant filmmaking and unlike the Grammys, the Oscars generally successfully offer an authoritative take on what was the year’s best. For several years, I’ve tried to offer my piping hot Oscar takes before the awards are handed out, and not to brag, but when I’m allowed time to educate myself, I’m very good at it.

This year, I walked out of the final Best Picture nominee that I would see (“Captain Phillips”), got into my car, parked at my Southside apartment, walked across the street and got hit by a car. So I was never able to see “Nebraska” or “Philonema.” I did catch “Blue Jasmine” on DVD, whatever help that provided my judgement, and I also caught Oscar nominated “Bad Grandpa” on DVD. One of those movies was a made by a pervert.

So here’s my best effort. I wish I had seen more, but I suppose life happens.

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The Academy Awards: 2012 Predictions From Someone Without a Clue


I’ve seen six of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, with one of the three I missed being “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” a film that has no prayer and I can’t fathom why it was nominated. Maybe it’s brilliant, but most brilliant films manage better than 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. So I’ll take their word.

Best Picture – It isn’t with much hesitation that I believe “The Artist” wins here, and I don’t really think it’s close. I know it’s a sexy pick, but so much was happening beyond a silent movie. It was a silent movie about silent filmmaking, and it’s central themes were relevant in 1930 and in 2012. I liked “The Descendants” a lot. And I loved “Moneyball,” but “The Artist” is a perfect representation of the year in film, and the Academy will eat it up. I imagine middle America will be outraged something they saw didn’t win, like “Moneyball,” “The Help,” or “War Horse.” And, granted, I missed “War Horse,” but “Moneyball” isn’t a great achievement in filmmaking, it’s simply a great movie. “The Help” was far too long and it seems to be relying on Oscar-winning cliches. “The Descendants” finishes second here, for me, because while it wasn’t a grand slam, it was a story I felt had not been told before. “The Tree of Life” was artistically gorgeous, but the plot was so abstract I would have a difficult time imagining it as something that can represent the year in film. I loved “Midnight in Paris,” but it’s not Best Picture. It was too short, it didn’t have a powerful message and Owen Wilson was in it. And Owen Wilson doesn’t win Academy Awards.

Best Director – I’m going to give Best Director to Terrence Malick for “The Tree of Life,” and it’s a race to the finish with “The Artist’s” Michel Hazanavicius for the same reason: both directors got a lot out of their casts and delivered stories with almost no words. I think Malick managed to portray a very different version of Brad Pitt than we have ever seen, a blue-collar, frustrated but loving father of the 1950’s. It wasn’t, to me, that Pitt’s character was abusive, it was that he didn’t do things with modern sensibility. And I think that’s something that may have never quite been portrayed the same. When you juxtapose this Pitt role with what we are accustomed, I feel Malick got a lot out of him. And that’s unfair to Hazanavicius, who was working with a cast of unknowns, but that’s life, and that’s my untrained, non-professional and meaningless opinion.

Best Actor – I’ll take George Clooney. I’m not convinced why I am taking George Clooney, and this will likely go to Gary Oldman or Demian Bichir, just because I haven’t seen those films. But “The Descendants” was spectacular and Clooney is the face of it. I suppose it deserves some recognition. Pitt was nominated, but for the wrong movie. As I said above, his work in “The Tree of Life” was the only thing that made the film watchable to a pedestrian film fan not interested in art. He was just fine in “Moneyball,” but I’m not sure it was the best performance of the year.

Best Actress – Enter the category I know the least about. I wish I had seen Michelle Williams performance, because I feel like, executed well, a great portrayal of Marilyn Monroe is Oscar bait. But then, there’s Meryl Streep, just peeking around the corner. I’m not going to pick Viola Davis simply because she had the only performance I saw. Besides, my instinct tells me it’ll be between the two I previously mentioned.

Best Cinematography – This isn’t particularly a household category, but I’m including it to say “The Tree of Life” will win it. I suppose “The Artist” may, but the former was nothing if not a gorgeous visual display. That and Brad Pitt are its saving grace.

Best Original Screenplay – I’d like to see “Bridesmaids” win, and so will America. But the smart prediction for the Academy is going to be “The Artist” or “Midnight in Paris.” And I’m going to choose the latter, because I really loved the “new fiction (or whatever you want to call it)” style popularized by guys like Gay Talese. And Woody Allen should be the most fun acceptance speech of the night, in a year littered with really high brow stuff. Maybe Clooney.

Best Adapted Screenplay – I didn’t read any of these books, but I’ll take “Moneyball” on a whim. Those that read it and saw the film seem to have been satisfied. And of the group, it was the most popular in book form. I’m surprised “The Help” didn’t make the cut here, but people who have read the book and seen the film seem to agree with me: the film was long. I feel this is the category I’m most likely to miss on, but it’s a “big one,” so I’ll throw a guess in the ring.

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The Films of 2012.

Below, is a collection of every film I watched in 2012. I may include a brief review – I may not. Depends on how I feel. I will grade each film on a joey scale. Continue reading

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Forgotten Broments (or More Reflections of 2011)

I thought of a lot of wildly awesome moments from 2011 that I neglected to include amid the epic story of love and theft, career and disaster, trials and travel. I also neglected some records I wish I had included in my list of “Best of.” So this follow up post is 100% awesome, and mostly just photos and lists.

Like the photo above, where Blair sprang 20th row seats to the Braves v. Cubs game in August on me for my birthday. But it wasn’t just any Braves/Cubs game. In this game:

– Dan Uggla broke the Braves hit-streak at 32, by going 3-3 with 2 HR

– Chipper Jones, Jose Constanza and Freddie Freeman all homered

– Bobby Cox had his jersey retired

– Carlos Zambrano was tossed, from the mound, in the 5th for throwing at Chipper

Braves won 10-4. Mike Minor got the win. Continue reading

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2011 Broments (or Return of the Jedi)

Each year, I move farther from the events that shaped me. And still, I think I’ve made good on the promises made to myself when I left Rogersville after high school and, completely unaware, never looked back.

“You can throw me in the Colbert County jail house. You can throw me off the Wilson Dam. But there ain’t much difference in the man I wanna be and the man that I really am.” – Never Gonna Change, Drive-By Truckers

When juxtaposed with 2009 and 2010, I suppose 2011 is Return of the Jedi to ’09’s A New Hope and ’10’s Empire Strikes Back – complete with Ewoks. The trilogy of my most recent three years has been an epic journey of how to deal with circumstance and rebirth. Then, perhaps 2011 was its own trilogy, with each third of months representing its own stage of an entire life. This year has been a remarkable dichotomy of blessing and curse, and it’s final days have been an epic reflection of how far we’ve come. Continue reading

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