It's that time of year again: you know, the time of year where Hollywood takes a night to pat itself on the back and bombards our televisions with a lavish ceremony featuring red carpets, long speeches, and the most dramatic opening of an envelope since our holiday credit card bills showed up a couple weeks ago.
Next to the Super Bowl it's the biggest televised event in the U.S., yet you still get the feeling most people just watch in hopes of seeing another streaker.
As the self-appointed movie expert at the Enterprise however, I felt like I should take a moment to talk about the year in movies.
With George Clooney ("The Descendents") and Viola Davis ("The Help") as the front runners for both the major acting awards, the true story lies in the roughly 75 films nominated for "Best Picture." It's actually only nine, but it's still more than double what it used to be and takes a heck of a commitment to watch them all.
For those of you that are not caught up, let me give you a quick rundown from worst to best.I realize this is not the most objective overview and that these are only my opinions, but it is only a matter of time before everyone realizes that I am always right. If you see my parents or girlfriend walking around Eagle in the near future please remind them of this:
War Horse - Steven Spielberg's latest war story will most likely appeal to people who like horses ... and people who like bad movies. People who enjoy bad movies about horses will be especially pleased. It is a happy reminder that wars are bloodless, PG-13 rated and always end with a friendly handshake between both sides.
Tree of Life - A film filled mostly with whispering voiceovers for images that don't have anything to do with the movie. Yet the film eventually develops a weird poetic draw. Brad Pitt is great in the lead, and it seems like the type of family drama that would really appeal to someone who spent his or her childhood in the 1950s.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - A movie that may have been more appropriately titled "Extremely Long and Incredibly Depressing." Don't get me wrong, the movie is not bad, but hold to your heartstrings 'cause the film strives to be far more emotional than the Jonathan Safran Foer novel that it is based on.
The Artist - The silent film and current favorite for best picture still hasn't managed to find it's way to Capitol Theater, but be prepared. This film is very good and great for any child over the age of 6. But it is silent ... very silent. I tried to add as much sound as possible by eating a bag of Corn Nuts in the theater, but it only served to annoy everyone else in the aisles.
The Help - A simple, yet enjoyable story about race relations in the South in the early 1960s. Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard's daughter) does such a great job in her role as the antagonist, it is hard to separate the actress and the despicable character she plays. It was so believable I feel like there's a chance I may punch her if I ever see her in person then shout "That's for not letting Viola Davis use the indoor bathroom!" This may actually be a real problem. I work on movie sets, have done a movie with her before, and there is a good chance we will cross paths again.
The Descendents - (currently playing in Eagle) - From the mind of Alexander Payne who created such films as "Sideways" and "About Schmidt" this film is a little more drama driven than his previous works, but still fills a theater with laughter for about 25 percent of the time. A strong side plot about the complexities of selling off family land to be developed should appeal to people though out the Eagle Valley.
Moneyball - An extremely well-made movie concerning a simple yet true story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics. Anyone unfamiliar with baseball and the last time Oakland won the World Series will find the end very suspenseful.
Hugo - If you've been itching to show your kids a Martin Scorsese movie, before you rent "Taxi Driver" or "Goodfellas," you should probably take them to go see this film. "Hugo" is a kids movieabout the history of film, and if seen in 3D, it gives you the kind of feeling you get when you walk into a really, really good toy store.
Midnight in Paris - I don't want to say anything about this film because I knew nothing about the plot of the film before I walked into the theater and it turns out that's the best way to see this movie. It is a Woody Allen film, it is a comedy with an amazing cast, and in my opinion (which is always right) was the best movie of 2011.
It is always good to end a column about an awards ceremony by mentioning the snubs. This year critics across the country cried afoul when the film "Cougar Hunting" received zero nominations. Although all three were perceived to be early favorites; locals Nancy Powell, Kathy Heicher and Janet Ewing were all snubbed of any sort of "Best Supporting Actress" nominations for their work on the film.
For anyone unfamiliar with the film "Cougar Hunting," it is the reason these three locals will never be able to run for public office in the future. It should appeal to the same sort of people who enjoyed "War Horse."