Sunday, January 17, 2016

2016 Potentially Oscar Nominated Movies

Ah, yes. My yearly roundup of everything I've seen. I've been much more on the ball this year than in previous years and I only have six movies left from this year on my watch list with "Son of Saul" being the only one I want to see before the Oscars air. In spite of how diligent I've been, I definitely feel like my relationship with award-nominated movies has changed this year in a fun, new way: apathy. I am done with watching things just because they were nominated for an award and I can tell you exactly when I reached this breaking point.

This year my movie watch list hit an all time high of 450 and I realized that life is way too short, especially when I also have a book read list of 220 (many of which I thankfully own) and a television watch list of about 9 completed shows and 5 currently airing potential watches (that seems short but television is a real time commitment). So, I went through the whole list and removed a ton of things that no longer seemed important or appealing and then binge watched every movie on my list that I could find on Netflix. Yes, it was exhausting and I really should never movie binge again. 

In the middle of watching "The Aviator," a perfectly decent Scorsese film, it just occurred to me that I no longer want to bother with movies I don't care about. I don't care if the director is usually good; if they aren't one of my must-watch directors, I'm not bothering if it doesn't interest me. I don't care if it has a high Rotten Tomatoes rating; I'm not watching another sports movie. I don't care if I've seen the first two; if I wasn't too into it, I don't need to complete the trilogy. And I am going to need something more than "white guy struggles against adversary" if I'm going to watch the movie.

In this spirit, before talking about movies I saw, I'm going to list some movies I have not seen and don't really care to with explanations why. Maybe I'll watch them one day if they stand the test of time or someone I know recommends them but I'm not going to actively seek them out or put them on my list.

Movies I Don't Really Care About:

The Martian: My signother saw this movie and he has a much higher tolerance for not great space movies than I do and he said not to bother unless you really want to see lots of Matt Damon messing around in space. I've seen the clip with Sean Bean making a "Lord Of The Rings" reference and that's honestly all I need. I'd rather just watch "Moon" again.

The Big Short: I read the description of this once and was convinced I had already seen it. Maybe there hasn't been a movie like this before and I've just seen too many movies. Lots of white guys, I know that much.

Bridges Of Spies: Actually this one seems like the one I'm most likely to randomly watch one day because it's historical and about the Cold War. I'm just instinctually put off by the fact that Steven Spielberg directed it (I'm just done with his schmaltzy, emotional directing style) and the fact that it sounds like a James Patterson novel.

Steve Jobs: "white guy struggles against adversary". Also, Windows all the way.

Joy: David O. Russell is nothing special and every movie I have seen by him has been underwhelming ("Silver Linings Playbook" was the least underwhelming, "American Hustle" was two hours I'll never get back). I could not care less about this movie. Also why is Jennifer Lawrence always playing so much older than she is? And, as great as she is, she has done way better than this movie and probably doesn't deserve the Oscar nomination this time.

And now the proper list. You will notice that this year I saw a ridiculous amount of movies (and these are just from this year; I saw just as many if not more from previous years) so I will be very brief. As always, the order is partially nonsense and ones with plus signs are movies that weren't nominated for Oscars (usually films I saw earlier this year or movies nominated for other awards). I'm not starring movies for Best Picture this year because of my blatant disregard for the Academy and because my picks would obviously be the first four movies I listed below plus one of the first three + movies that I loved that the Academy ignored. 

Previous Years: 2015  2014  2013  2012  2011

Movies I Loved:

Room: My second 5 star movie of the year.

Spotlight: Amazing story and cast. Minimal camera work.

Brooklyn: I felt a lot of things about everything about this movie.

Mad Max: Fury Road: Like getting punched in the face by God.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: I am a nerd but I can acknowledge the flaws.

Ex Machina: I love low-key cerebral sci-fi.

Tangerine+: I really liked it. Then I watched it again and fully realized its awesomeness. 

What We Do In The Shadows+: My first 5 star movie and uncontested fav for a long time. Comedy does not get enough credit.

The Duke Of Burgandy+: An intelligent S&M movie with amazing sets and costumes? My life.

Girlhood+: Such good gender dissection. Love it more every time I think about it.

Mustang: Speaking of gender stuff.

Phoenix+: World War II noir with complicated relationship. Yes.

World Of Tomorrow: Liking the existential dread today?

Anomalisa: Didn't get the hype until about halfway through. Then I really got it.

Inside Out: The logic behind this movie is a thing of beauty.

Amy: Really honest documentary. Great sad double feature if you pair it with . . .

Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck+: Amazing journey into this man's mind.

Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison of Belief+: Needed to be done and done well.

The End Of The Tour+: Perhaps it's more a great story than a great story, well told but whatever, I love this.

Mistress America+: Hilarious and affected me on a level too personal for me to be unbiased.

Movies I Really Liked:

Carol: Only my second favorite lesbian love story of 2015 (see: "Duke Of Burgandy" above).

The Revenant: Beautiful direction, okay plot, a bit overly long.

The Hateful Eight: Not Tarantino's best but darn fun.

45 Years: I love character studies.

CInderella: Who would have thought this would be so well thought out?

Sicario: I wasn't as wowed as everyone else but this really is a good one.

Straight Outta Compton: Solid biopic brought down by very obvious rose tint.

When Marnie Was There: Studio Ghibli is here for your heartstrings.

Boy And The World: A really pleasent acid trip.

Crimson Peak+: My favorite not-amazing movie of the year. It has everything I like in it.

It Follows+: Every year produces one really solid horror film. Here you go.

Clouds Of Sils Maria+: Two characters in a room is everything I write in my own life.

Beasts Of No Nation+: Where's Idris Elba's nomination? Seriously.

Testament Of Youth+: I'm trash for anything World War I.

Dope+: More good teen movies, please. This was delightful.

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl+: Delightful teen movies, part 2.

99 Homes+: Good job making something kind of boring, interesting.

White God+: Puppies! And racism metaphors!

The Tribe+: Hardcore crime movie.

A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence+: What did I just watch? I liked it though.

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter+: Journey over destination. Reminded me of "The Big Sleep" in a weird, good way.

Goodnight Mommy+: Freaky thriller. Kind of predictable twist.

He Never Died+: Henry Rollins in the role he was meant to play.

The Last 5 Years+: Good adapation of a stage musical that I really like.

Trainwreak+: Funny and felt very real.

Diary Of A Teenage Girl+: Unrelatable to me. Smarter than you might notice. Sex is icky.

The Gift+: Somewhat unexpected psychological thriller.

Man From Reno+: Still not sure of the plot but it was captivating.

India's Daughter+: I'm not done crying yet.

Dior And I+: As a Dior fan, I was all about this.

The Wolfpack+: I'm a voyeur who likes seeing people liberated and discovering life.

Hot Girls Wanted+: While slanted, this one showed a new side to porn outside the pro.

Batkid Begins+: Warms the heart and then makes you a bit concerned.

Movies I Liked:

The Danish Girl: Beautiful visuals! So-so everything else.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2+: Still not sure the split was necessary.

Suffragette+: Pretty good historical film. I was engaged but not blown away.

Jimmy's Hall+: I think I expected this to be better but it was still fine.

'71+: Ditto, expected to be better but fine. 

He Named Me Malala+: Best part: Malala googling guys she thinks are cute and denying it.

The Final Girls+: I got a lot of laughs. Sometimes I just need movies to be fun and this was.

The Night Before+: Ditto plus Michael Shannon. 

The Overnight+: Not as many laughs. Mostly odd but engaging.

Unfriended+: Dead teen horror movie but I was really into how it was done.

Kingsman: The Secret Service+: Action movie with a cup of tea. Kind of silly but mostly fun.

Movies I Thought Were Okay:

To Write Love On Her Arms+: I actually thought this would suck. Not bad at all really.

Paper Towns+: Perfectly fine teen movie overshadowed by better teen movies.

Pitch Perfect 2+: I got some laughs but not very memorable aside from Flula Borg.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel+: They shouldn't have made a sequel.

Maps To The Stars+: Cronenberg, you gotta step it up. This was messy.

Movies I Thought Were Over-rated:

The Age Of Adaline+: Only overrated because this movie was really not good. I kept looking for a purpose and couldn't find one.

Movies I Didn't Like:

Jupiter Ascending+: Watched it on Bad Movie Night. Cool visuals though.

Hot Pursuit+: Saw at drive-in. Played 20 questions the whole time; it was so bad.

The Boy Next Door+: Watched knowing it was suck. It did. I was pleased.

Fifty Shades Of Grey+: Hey, still 100x better than the book. There was a screenwriter!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How To Be Cool

Allow me to immediately invalidate everything I am about to write with this admission: I'm not cool. I don't really know what cool is. Cool to me is an abstract and debatable concept like "what is art?" or "what is existence?" However, in spite of my own personal feelings on this and the fact that no one can fully agree on what exactly defines something as "cool", I think I do know the secret to becoming cool. In the same way no one can really agree on art or existence, humans as a collective all seem to agree on a basic, flawed idea of what it is and that's what I can teach: how to be cool in the generally accepted definition of the word to the population at large.

I came by this secret knowledge through years of effort and eventually a revelation. People who have been cool their entire lives probably have this revelation at a young age and then live up to it from then on. Some people will never realize it and even if I explain it, you still might not be able to actually do it. Hank Green has a great video on how to escape the friendzone that is 100% accurate but once you watch it you realize it may not be something you could ever do yourself and that's okay. Maybe you'll find a way to be cool some other way but honestly, I have never seen anyone accomplish it differently.

So now with all the necessary disclosures out of the way, here's a story. For the first ten years of my life, I tried really hard to fit in. Fitting in is not a bad thing, mind you, but I was bad at it. I was able to make friends with people who were pretty and popular and I consumed the media and culture that was popular at the time which made it easy to belong. The problem was that I couldn't keep it up convincingly for very long once you started to get to know me. I didn't think any boy band members were cute and my favorite pop songs were always the weird album tracks no one liked. I didn't dress stylishly because I mainly just let my mom buy my clothes because I didn't know how to have a personal style and generally didn't like whatever was trendy and age appropriate (I wanted to dress more classically adult and somber in a children's section full of bright colors and strange late 90s styles). I thought a lot about my own mortality. I was smart but not witty or clever, my jokes fell flat, I wasn't pretty, my only somewhat notable accomplishment was being the 4th best artist in my year, and I got way too into the worlds of books and television that I liked and made up stories about them in my head. I couldn't be honest with my friends because I knew if I was, they would think I was weird which meant I was the opposite of fitting in.

I went through a depression that started when I was 11 that I think may have been caused by being unable to uphold the facade anymore and ended when I was 13. That might seem short for a depression and something you could easily write off as preteen angst but it was a really hard time for me when I lost all my friends and cried almost every day. However, during one lucid day, I stood in front of a mirror and thought to myself, "You think you're ugly and dumb and not worth anything. What do you need to do to be satisfied with yourself?"

And that's the only step to being cool: Don't give a damn what anyone else thinks of you.

This sounds simplistic, I know, but for most people it's impossible to fully accomplish or at least takes many years. You need to throw out everything you know and start from the beginning. Stop paying attention to trends or at least stop caring about them. Don't buy any clothes you don't absolutely love just because you think you need more. Style your hair the way you think looks best. Decide "social acceptability" is just a hindrance on your happiness. Search deep for music you really enjoy that makes you feel something real and ignore the radio. Stop doing things because you think you have to and try to figure out what will really make you happy and then work towards that instead. Throw out idealism for goals that are reachable even if they take work to achieve. Make efforts towards improving yourself in the way you think is most important. Want to be smarter? Read more. Want to be funnier? Watch how others do it and learn how to think on your feet. Want to be kinder? Do more for others and it will come naturally. 

Eventually once you are far enough into this mindset, you will get better and better at expelling outside influence. You will probably lose friends but you will make new ones better suited to you as you really are now. You might realize that when you really stop and think hard about your own life, that you will need to change everything you thought you would do and that's okay. As long as you are living, you get as many chances as you need to pick a new path. 

And if you are someone who is able to really detach so fully from all the world is trying to tell you, you will start to realize that people look at you differently. Even if people don't like you (and this process will likely increase the amount of people who don't like you honestly) they will probably respect you deep down. People might start telling you that you are cool or that they love how you are so "you."

And if this has really worked, you won't care at all. Once you are truly cool, being thought of as cool is something you couldn't care less about. You will like who you have become, the people you surround yourself with, and the way you live your life and who cares if someone else likes it or not.

Cool people do not need approval. That's what makes them cool.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Discussing "Lord Of The Rings" Via Text

Not long after I read Lord Of The Rings for the first time and finally got what all the fuss was about (I had liked and seen the movies a couple times, of course, but I wasn't obsessed and I found The Hobbit novel to be only okay) my friend Caroline, a LOTR fan since she was a kid, decided to relisten to the audiobook. Here are texts exchanged between us on the topic, only lightly editted to make them easier to read.

The Fellowship Of The Ring

Caroline: I'm doing a LOTR re-listen.
Kay: I'm on a LOTR binge after reading the book. Adam and I are in an extended edition watch. This Friday is Two Towers. And Zeyd and I watched the Rifftrax in Italy.
Caroline: Nice! Had you read the books before?
Kay: No. First time. Zeyd helped with some details because his friends are obsessed so he knows by association. Adam too. It was his copy I borrowed.
Caroline: LOL. I also know many things. I just got to the hobbits meeting Stryder so I'm very excited.
Kay: That's when shit gets real.
Kay: Oh man, you should have seen the commentary I had going with Zeyd while I was reading. So many thoughts.
Caroline: It is! Plus every time I go through it, I am reminded that Aragorn is SKETCH AS FUCK and also my favorite.
Caroline: I am SO DEPRESSED that I missed out!
Kay: I could find some of it. I did it while watching the movies too. There were a lot of comments like, "Wow. There's a lot more romantic tension than I remember. It's like everyone is in love except Merry and Pippin who are just bros" and "it's distressing how Aragorn is hot but Viggo Mortensen isn't. How?"
Caroline: That is confusing. He was HELLA HOT in the movie and not otherwise.
Kay: Right? Also definitely hotter the grungier he was.
Caroline: I feel like everyone else thinks Merry and Pippin are in love.
Kay: Probably.
Caroline: Very true.
Kay: Also while reading I may have sent a few messages to Zeyd that said something like, "OMG FARAMIR AND EOWYN."
Caroline: RIGHT. Movie Faramir is such a fail compared to Book Faramir.
Kay: Right? After reading I was so ANGRY none of that made it into the movie and so much was changed.
Kay: YESSSS. When I rewatched the film I was like WHAT WHY
Caroline: I was SO MAD. I love Faramir.
Kay: Agreed. I really should have texted you more while reading. Haha
Caroline: You should!
Kay: I'll try to find some of the weird things I said. I remember bitching about how long it took Frodo to start his journey.
Caroline: He fucked around 5ever.
Kay: So many real estate issues. Also fuck Tom Bombadil.
Caroline: LOL. Right? I almost didn't start it because I'd have to get through that part.
Kay: Yeah, it's a little rough for the first 100 pages. Once they get to Bree the plot picks up quickly. I breezed through Two Towers and Return.
Caroline: Yes yes. Although I really like that the movie alternates between the ring story and Aragorn's story. Just reading the ring story for hundreds of pages is rough.
Kay: Especially at the end. Frodo starves for a long time before they destroy the damn ring.
Caroline: Yeep.

Caroline: Traveling with a broken sword seems bad for self defense.
Kay: Yes but it depends on the way, I think.
Caroline: Oh?
Kay: A broken sword could become a dagger.
Caroline: True, although I don't know that Aragorn was using shards of Narsil as a dagger.
Kay: Right, right just saying. I'm sure he has more than a broken sword but he does show it as proof of not having a sword. He's sketch as hell yo.
Caroline: So sketch. What does he do? Fist fight people. It's almost as concerning as Legolas' never ending arrows in the movie.
Kay: So weird. Why do archers never run out of arrows?
Caroline: At least Katniss spends a fuck ton of time thinking about it. And does run out once.
Kay: True. Not in the movie but in the book she's always on that shit.
Caroline: Mhm. I'm always amused by people who act like the fact that Katniss doesn't get her period in the arena is a logic fail. Like they stop everyone from growing BODY HAIR. I'm betting they have the power to stop that too.
Kay: Right? You can stop your period in the world as it is right now!
Caroline: Exactly. Remember that time Aragorn decided that they should go to Weathertop and DICK AROUND on the off chance that they'd accidentally show up at the exact moment as Gandalf?
Kay: Ranger skills!
Caroline: Didn't work.

Caroline: "Where is Sauruman? What is his council?" "It turns out Sauruman is suffering from a touch of . . . evil."
Kay: Haha. Adam and I watched Two Towers extended last night.
Caroline: I love Two Towers.
Kay: I love when Sam says in Osgiliath, "We aren't even supposed to be here" because no, no you aren't. This didn't happen in the book.
Caroline: RIGHT? I forgot, did you watch all of How I Met Your Mother?
Kay: I have.
Caroline: Listening to LOTR on audiobook is funny because every once in a while when they say "ringbearer" I think of Barney saying "ring bear."

Caroline: You'd think it would have occurred to Sam that bringing a pony along on a journey on which all of the people, hobbits, elbows, dwarves kind of think they might die might be bad for the pony.
Kay: Poor Bill. Also, elbows. Damn you autofill.
Caroline: Yeah, I was texting with Siri.

Caroline: It's always interesting how truely unfit for this kind of journeying the hobbits are. Sam is not at all built for this but here he is. Frodo is the only one who had any idea what he was walking into.
Kay: Yeah, true. Also amazing: the lack of maps.
Caroline: Right? I'm not sure that "we sort of know where we're going" was really the best idea in terms of directions.
Kay: Yeah, let's just take off without a guide. We'll be fine.
Caroline: "Let's not consider the possibility that we might have to go to Moria and not make any contigency plans."

Caroline: Poor Boromir. So grumpy.
Caroline: Legolas is bitchy and really into trees.
Kay: Well, he won't have much to grump about soon.
Kay: And yeah, that's Legolas. He loves those freaking trees.
Caroline: Ouch. He'll have to get through Lorien first.
Caroline: Legolas: "I love these trees. I am so into these tres. I'm going to climb this tree and marry it. Or sleep in it at least." Pippin: "Slow your role, dude. I can't really sleep in a tree." Legolas: "Bitch, dig a hole then if that's what you freaks do. But you better dig fast."
Kay: Legloas' true love is indeed a tree. But since the tree cannot consent to being with him forever he defaulted to Gimli.
Caroline: True. Although he and Gimli are still in the "enemies" part of enemies to lovers where I am. Gimli just got un-blindfolded.
Kay: Racist elves, man.
Caroline: So racist. "It's not ME who's racist! It's just our super racist laws."

Caroline: The Legolas and Gimli bromance is on. Flowery much, Gimli?
Kay: Flowery?
Caroline: In his speech. His creepy obsession with Galadriel has begun.
Kay: Oh yeah. An obsession that takes him to the Undying Lands. Or maybe it's Legolas' love that does. I like to think it's both.
Caroline: Probably both.

Caroline: Boromir is such a dick.
Kay: Very corruptable. Decent minion potential.

Caroline: I like that Sam is the voice of reason here. "He's not wondering which way to go. Literally why would he go to Minas Tirith?"

The Two Towers

Caroline: I forgot Boromir doesn't die in The Fellowship Of The Ring book.
Kay: Yeah it feels weirdly cliffhangery compared to the movie.
Caroline: It also makes somewhat more sense to finish Fellowship with the fellowship completely split.
Kay: Yeah, it really does. I count this one of the biggest improvements the movies made.
Caroline: Agreed.

Caroline: We've got Eomer up in here.
Kay: I love the ambiguity of this text. Are you reading Two Towers or have you seen someone who resembles him (or is he in your house!)?
Caroline: Lol. All you really know is that he's somewhere.
Caroline: I started Two Towers.
Kay: That would have been the guess but I was sleepy when I read the text.
Caroline: I very much enjoyed your alternate theories.

Caroline: I like that Gandalf isn't like, "Yo! Bros! I'm back!" He just sucks around and lets them think he's Sauruman.
Kay: Gandalf is such a troll.

Caroline: Theoden be like, "I've realized Wormtongue is a douche. Let's RIDE TO WAR IN THE NEXT COUPLE HOURS. Who needs a plan? WE'LL FIND WAR SOMEWHERE."
Kay: Theoden got out of his trance like, "Shit, my muscles haven't atrophied?! I need to punch something!" He should punch Wormtongue really.
Caroline: Pretty much. "We're going to war?" "Which war, sir?" "Just fuck me up."

[insert discussion of Kay trying to explain to Caroline what the "Bone of Gondor" is and that it's a sex joke. She seems to finally get it at this point]
Caroline: I'm glad Aragorn has come to finally take the Bone of Gondor.
Kay: All night long.
Caroline: I hope he takes it gently. It's been a long time for Gondor.

Caroline: Gandalf: "Oh, I didn't do anything." Everyone else: "Dude, there's a motherfucking TREE ARMY."
Kay: Gandalf is a lying liar.

Caroline: I can't even deal with how dumb Rainbow Sauruman is.
Kay: Um, Rainbow Sauruman?
Caroline: Sauruman of Many Colors.
Kay: I think I missed this somehow.
Caroline: Yeah, he gives up being Sauruman the White and and becomes Sauruman of Many Colors. White is lamesauce.
Kay: Wow, I missed that entirely. I'm imagining Sauruman dressed like a pride flag.
Caroline: Right? It's not supposed to be but that's what I always picture.
Kay: So, where are you in the story?
Caroline: Theoden has just told Sauruman to go fuck himself.
Kay: Ah, yes. Theoden is back and ready to pick fights because he can.
Caroline: Yeeeep. And Wormtongue is about to throw shit. Also Legolas and Gimli have their honeymoon planned.
Kay: And Theoden is about to throw him.
Caroline: Nah, Theoden already did that.
Kay: Ah, I'm all backwards.
Caroline: They're at Isenguard. Helm's Deep is over. Fangorn and Helm's Deep.
Kay: Oh, okay. THAT time he tells Sauruman to fuck off.
Caroline: Right. To his face.
Kay: Yes. As opposed to cursing his bloody name in private.
Caroline: Right.
Kay: I think it was at this point that I stopped imagining Sauruman as this super powerful dude and more like an "I'll get you next time!" villian with his bumbling assistant.

Caroline: Sauruman thinks Gandalf is exactly like him.
Kay: Sauruman is a dumbass. I mean, he thinks conquering the Shire is a decent alternative to being Sauron's right hand man.
Caroline: It's ABOUT the same.

Caroline: The Rohan half of the book has ended and now I'm stuck with trying to get to Mordor.
Kay: Oy. At least you have Gollum being a weirdo instead of slow starvation.
Caroline: Lol. True.

Caroline: I feel like they should have taken more than one person who could use a bow.

Caroline: Currently, Gollum showed up five minutes ago and I already want to shoot myself in the head because of his dialogue.
Kay: Hobbitses.

Caroline: Gollum is now legit conversing with himself.
Kay: Well, when everyone else is sleeping what are you going to do? I'm watching the cast commentary on Fellowship.
Caroline: Nice! It's been ages since I watched it. Let me know if anything funny comes up.
Kay: Well, Dominic Monaghan likes pointing out whenever he thinks he looks handsome.
Caroline: Well, thank God you have that information.

Caroline: Do we think that anyone had a plan for getting into Mordor other than knock at the front door?
Kay: No. That was the whole plan.
Caroline: That plan needed some work. What was their next cunning plan? "Everyone at the count of three?"
Kay: Trojan goblin?
Caroline: Best. Plan.

Caroline: "I would not take this thing if it lay beside the highway." YEAH
Kay: I forgot that line.
Caroline: Canon Faramir is the bestest.
Kay: Fact. No lie, Faramir is my favorite dude.

Caroline: Obnoxiously meta discussion of stories.
Kay: What?
Caroline; Frodo and Sam are on about what it would be like if they were in a story.
Kay: Shh, don't tell them.

Caroline: Hobbits: "It seems like daylight isn't a thing that happens anymore. What's with that?" Me: "You're standing on the doorstop of Mordor and knocking. TAKE A GUESS."
Kay: Aside from like, the smoke and orcs and general evil, Mordor seems like a good place for a vampire like me.
Caroline: Yes.

Caroline: Sam defending Frodo is getting kinda . . gay.
Kay: The whole Shelob scene is a romance as far as I'm concerned.

The Return Of The King

Caroline: Pippin: "Why would Aragorn coming be a problem for Denethor?" Me: "Pippin, a turnip has a greater understanding of its life situation than you."
Kay: Well, Pippin also decided to pledge himself to a mad man without establishing any boundries. He's got some issues.
Caroline: LOL. Turnip.

Caroline: Pippin is currently kicking it with a 10 year old.
Kay: Well, they're the same height. Bere-whatshisface who thinks his dad could beat up your dad.
Caroline: Yeeeeep. That's the one.

Caroline: "There will be no dawn. The darkness has come."  Did we . . . know this was going to happen? I feel like people should have been warned.
Kay: "People of Gondor . . . I hope you stocked up on oil for your lanterns."

Caroline: Be literal worst thing that has ever happened and Pippin's entire life is food rationing.
Caroline: Siri decided to send that even though it made no sense.
Kay: Are these two things connected? Is the worst thing ever Denethor being a turd?
Caroline: LOL. Let me try again.
Caroline: The literal worst thing that has ever happened in Pippin's entire life is food rations.
Kay: Ohhhh okay. And yes.
Caroline: He's fled the pursuit of Nazgul, walked through the mines of Moria, and been dragged across Rohan by an army of Orcs. But give him a too small pad of butter and his life is over.
Kay: Hobbit priorities. Maybe they starve to death quicker than men.

Caroline: Today on Worst Dad Ever, out contestant is: DENATHOR.
Kay: He's the only contestant.

Caroline: Alas. Theoden was mighty, but he hath kicked the bucket.
Kay: RIP.

Caroline: I'm back on Return Of The King. In true Tolkein fashion, I will list 45 dead people. You've heard of two and you already know one is dead.

Caroline: "How dare you deny me the right to burn my own son alive?" "Look crazypants this may come as a shock, but the rest of us LIKE Faramir."
Kay: Haha, also he's a little not dead so maybe you wanna hit up the Houses of Healing instead of the pyre just yet?

Kay: Arr.

Caroline: "Gee, we haven't had a king in hundreds of years, but it sure would be fantastic if we had one now! The hands of a king are the hands of a healer." "Thanks, conveniently placed bearer of seemingly erroneous prophesies! We happen to have a king!"

Caroline: Poor Pippin is not cunning enough to get that the Mouth of Sauron totes told them that he didn't actually have Frodo.
Kay: Poor Pippin. So slow.

Caroline: SOME OF US have become rather too attached to our evil jewelry.
Kay: Haha. It goes so well with his cape!
Caroline: Sam's in the process of rescuing Frodo.

Caroline: They're cosplaying as orcs!
Kay: They'll be a hit at Gondor Comic Con!
Caroline: Totally!

Caroline: "The King? What king?" Did none of you pay EVEN A LITTLE ATTENTION?
Kay: Memos are slow in Gondor.
Caroline: And hobbits are slow everywhere.

Caroline: In a modern AU, Legolas is a musical theatre student who bursts into song every 10 seconds.
Kay: Yes! Adam and I kept shouting "No one asked you, Legolas" every time he opens his mouth in the film.
Caroline: LOL.

Caroline: Warden of the Houses Of Healing: "OMG YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE UP!!!1" Eowyn: "Isn't there somewhere I can go to find an honorable death?" Warden: "Ummmm n-o-o-o?" Eowyn: "Who the fuck is in charge here?"
Kay: Haha. Oh Eowyn, there's no death over here but there's a man who really wants to make a garden with you.

Caroline: Eowyn and Faramir are engaged. You are now at the point where you're like, "Yay! Almost done!" And then you remember, "Oh fuck. Sacking of the Shire."
Kay: Here's where I peace out and go read Farawyn fanfiction because I'm trash.
Caroline: LOL. Probs less exhausting than the Sacking of the Shire.
Kay: It's at this point in the story that Sam realizes he left the oven on and comes home to find that it's not as big a deal ass he thought.
Kay: as* WOW.
Caroline: LOL. It worked.
Kay: And don't forget the appendixes. I literally was so excited about those when I read it. I wanted more even though the journey had been long and sometimes painful.
Caroline: Impressive!
Kay: What is?
Caroline: Still wanting more.
Kay: Maybe I'm that special person who would read The Silmarilion and not hate it.
Caroline: LOL. I don't hate it. It's just got . . . sections to skim.
Kay: When I have less on my plate I'm totally gonna read it.

Caroline: "We come now at last to the ending of the fellowship of the ring." My feels!
Kay: Well you still get to read about how everyone weirdly decides when they get to die except Sam, Legolas, and Gimli who ultimately peace for the Undying Lands.

Caroline: We've let Frodo sail across the sea and reached The End.
Kay: Looking back, that took you very little time. You must audiobook it up a lot.
Caroline: I do! I walk two miles a day to and from work, I put it on when I drive, when I do chores . . .

And some Bonus Movie Rifftrax Commentary:

Caroline: I'd forgotten in the movie that Gandalf told Frodo that he'd meet him in Bree. Tends to lessen the "Where in all fuck is Gandalf?" drama.
Kay: True, true. I mean he's never there when he says he will be but at least you have a chance he might be instead of having no clue.
Caroline: Right. And he's not missing as long.
Caroline: Movie Pippin is HELLA stupid.
Kay: Yes. Are you watching Fellowship?
Caroline: Rifftrax, yeah.
Kay: Ahh, delightful.
Caroline: Why is Legolas Aragorn's biggest fan at the council of Elrond?
Kay: They go way back.
Caroline: Is the audio sync robot crying?
Kay: it might be. I can't remember but I think you're getting to my favorite part.
Caroline: "Crabine from Dunland!"
Kay: They get so excited about it.
Caroline: These guys keep trying to drive.
Kay: Drive what?
Caroline: To Mordor! Rental cars, cabs . . .
Kay: Haha. "So you wanna rent a car? Avis has a great deal going."
Caroline: "The one belt buckle to rule them all wasn't avalable."
Kay: Haha. I think you're past it now. I love the bit of "You have my sword" "And I'd like it back please." And then Boromir: "And you have my Glock."
Caroline: LOL. Way past it. Yeah. That part was great.
Caroline: OMG the number of Tom Bombadil jokes.
Kay: Yeah, they really miss him. Or like making fun of him.

Caroline: I'm back to watching Two Towers Rifftrax.
Kay: Anything good?
Caroline: They just referred to Mordor as "Detriot."
Kay: Haha, wonderful.
Caroline: And more Tom Bombadil jokes.
Caroline: Omg. Now they're making fun of Eragon.
Caroline: Gollum: "Swear on the precious." The guys: "And a nerd's online handle is born."
Caroline: "They always made her be Anakin because of her feelings about sand."
Kay: I love that.
Caroline: Remember that time Aragorn fake died in the movie?
Kay: Haha, yeah and had sex dreams?
Caroline: And made out with his horse?
Kay: Oh my God. Zeyd just said that.
Caroline: LOL. I see we're inventing gunpowder.
Kay: Indeed. And suicide bombers.
Caroline: Fun!
Caroline: "In time, Aragorn will die." A really short time actually. Like 5 minutes.
Kay: "On a post apocalyptic college campus."
Caroline: On the upside Liv Tyler's fake dad is way less scary looking than her real dad.
Kay: Too true.
Caroline: Faramir showed up to be a dick without my noticing.
Caroline: I had one entire wine and I think that, combined with Rifftrax, is making me too giggly to shower.
Kay: He really needs to chill in the movie. Also wish I was there. I am amused by tipsy Caroline.

Here's hoping we will watch Return Of The King Rifftrax together.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 Potentially Oscar Nominated Movies

This year has been a little underwhelming. The movies that were great were just as great as previous years but everything else felt flat and done. I think as a testament to how underwhelming this year was as a whole, I had to add a category for movies I thought were only okay and I had a really hard time putting movies into my created categories because even a movie that got four stars out of me (personal description as "really good"), I still might have put in the "liked it" category on here because it didn't match up to the other four star movies. I guess pay more attention to what I say than where I put things.

I still want to see "Song Of The Sea", "Mr. Turner", the other movies nominated for Best Documentary, and the movies nominated for Best Foreign Film in terms of movies that have been nominated for Oscars but I got mostly everything else. I also put a list at the end of non-Oscar movies I also want to see because I'm so far behind on my movie watching.

As always, the order is nonsense, starred movies are my picks for the five Best Pictures, and ones with plus signs are movies that weren't nominated for Oscars (usually films I saw earlier this year or movies nominated for other awards).

Previous Years: 2014   2013   2012   2011

Movies I Really Liked:

The Grand Budapest Hotel: I think Wes Anderson is actually getting better as a director because this was my favorite of his and I knew it the second it was over. I really liked "Moonrise Kingdom" and "Darjeeling Limited" but man, was this movie fun and so well tuned. 

Boyhood*: For the reference, I was super torn about narrowing down this, "Grand Budapest" , and "Imitation Game" in my nominees. I'm actually more likely to rewatch "Budapest" by far but I felt like this one might have done more as a movie. Ignoring the gimmick (as everyone should) I'll admit I didn't really GET this movie until it got closer to the end and then it clicked and I couldn't call it over-rated like so many are doing.

The Imitation Game*: Let's brush aside how badly I wanted to see this movie for reasons (Allen Leech) and let me just say that I really loved how it is part intriguing historical drama and part character study and balances both so well. I wish the historical inaccuracy didn't bug me so much.

Whiplash*: The fact that I am alive to write this is the only proof that I breathed while watching this movie. When it was over I felt like I was going to have a heart attack or possibly throw up. It was one of the most tense movies I have ever seen, wonderfully directed, and powerfully acted.

The Theory Of Everything: I don't know what I excepted of this movie but it wasn't what I got and that's a good thing. It was a tale of two people, a romance but not how you think and I loved that about it. 

Selma*: It's hard to talk about this without pointing out that Ava Duvernay really, really should have gotten nominated for Best Director over that guy who did "Foxcatcher" (see way, way below). This was a powerful film that seems to cover all sides in a way few historical movies manage to do. That aspect alone would be enough to make this movie notable.

Birdman*: It's honestly between this one and "Whiplash" as to which movie was my personal favorite this year. I love the acting, the black humor, the way it was shot, the social commentary. It was just so damn good.

Gone Girl: It's hard for me to talk about this movie since I saw the book so I know the plot is crazy and unexpected but I can say that I really trust and love the Fincher/Reznor director and composer combination and they did a fantastic job giving the movie the right feeling and balance. Rosamund Pike is mind-blowing, Ben Affleck didn't even bug me, and the rest of the cast was notably great too.

Still Alice: The idea of a language expert losing their words is a bit too on the nose but other than that I thought this movie was incredible. Anyone who has ever had to watch someone decline in a similar way can relate and it's all made even more interesting and terrible by her age and the way her family treats it.

Nightcrawler: It's been so long since I saw a good noir and this movie has kind of an interesting twist on the genre while still evoking the look and feel. The main character gives the impression of a high-functioning sociopath and the progression through his career is disturbing and fascinating to watch.

Two Days, One Night
Very strong character study. Totally straightforward and realist style allowing for everything to be put on the actors.

Wild: Although I find the way her life went off the rails a bit unbelievable, I liked this movie way more than I thought I would. I like the method of story telling and weirdly enough, the way music is used. Another very strong character study.

The Lego Movie: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME. No really. One of the best animated films I've ever seen. The fact that the movie itself wasn't nominated for the Animated Feature Oscar is a crime.

The Tale Of Princess Kaguya: I actually read "The Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter" in my Japanese lit class and I'll be honest when I say that I didn't really get it (I also had a not great professor). This movie made me get it with interesting animation on top. 

Snowpiecer+: Gotta love a beautifully made classist dystropia! My one big complaint about this movie is that the end with the engine creator felt like it went on too long after the rest of the movie had gone at such a steady pace.

Big Eyes+: I seemed to like this movie a lot more than critics did and I am okay with that. Honestly, it was great to see a Tim Burton movie that was actually really good, with actors I like in it, and a plot that was interesting and had a lot to say. I remember hearing someone say that, "women seem to really get this movie" and I can totally understand.

Obvious Child+: The abortion romance is funny and sweet although I find a lot of the main character's behavior inexplicable and therefore a little bit contrived for plot reasons.

The Riot Club+: Did anyone see this British film about spoiled rich kids? It's intense and bleak and I liked it more and more as I watched it while simultaneously getting angrier and angrier.

Movies I Liked:

Citizenfour: This is a very, very significant movie and is about a topic that is difficult to film and these facts alone make me feel bad that I can only really say that I liked it. I gave it four stars and in all honesty, I wasn't crazy impressed with it as a film. I've seen a lot of documentaries, what can I say?

Beyond The Lights: I saw this on a whim with my friend Alex in between seeing plays in New York and we were both pleasantly surprised by how good it was. It's mostly a romance but with heavy themes of the cost of fame, depression (which comes up in the beginning and I was happy they didn't just drop it), and what it's like to be a pop star today.

Into The Woods: Important background information: I have a fierce dislike of the stage musical so my confidence that I was going to enjoy this movie was nonexistent. Funny thing is, I actually liked this. Probably because the songs didn't bother me as much (I hate a lot of them), the dumb humor was all but removed (which most people thought was a negative), and the first act was significantly cut down so I didn't want to leave midway. They took out some of the dark stuff they should have kept (like Rapunzel dying) but overall, I was pleased. "Agony" was flawless but weirdly I was the only one laughing in the theater.

Big Hero 6: I'm pretty sure Baymax made this movie but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's kind of a tech nerd's dream and very cute. Unfortunately, I do need to say that we need to dial back on the superhero everything.

How To Train Your Dragon 2: What an enjoyable sequel! I kind of wondered what more there could be to the plot of the first and they managed to create a new story that didn't feel forced and didn't result in a quality dip. I can actually believe they could make a good third.

The Boxtrolls: I have been pleased with every Laika movie I've seen and I didn't even feel a strong drive to see this one. It's a standard story that gets amusingly meta sometimes with good animation and an adorable theme song.

Under The Skin+: I like a good slow-moving meditation on humanity as much as the next person but there was something about this movie that made it not quite strong enough for me. It definitely had something to do with how it was told but I'm still struggling to put my finger on it.

Cake+: This movie had really low ratings and I'm not fully sure why. I thought it was a good meditation on pain and loss and kind of darkly humorous on top of that.

The Fault In Our Stars+: Probably the best adaption you could get of this very good book although the book made me cry way, way more.

Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1+: Solid movie although I can see how everyone who has not read the books (and even some who have) could be frustrated by the cliffhanger. Honestly I felt like the end wasn't abrupt enough which I also thought about the wham line at the end of Catching Fire.

Movies I Think Were Okay:

Interstellar: People seemed to either love this movie or think it was like a not as good "2001". I thought it was okay. The plot was okay. The characters were okay. The science was super questionable and didn't make the most sense. I wasn't bored but at the same time it was easily one of Nolan's weakest movies.

Guardians Of The Galaxy: This almost went in the over-rated category because in a way it was better than okay but definitely got more hype than I fully understood. Maybe I'm just over superhero movies with the saturation of films over the last few years but I do have a real complaint: I couldn't follow the plot in the second half. There were so many groups with unclear motivations or explanations of who they are fighting each other that I couldn't follow. The main characters were great and it was funny but man, that second half felt like a mess.

Maleficiant: Well, it's definitely one of the better fairy tale retellings I can remember seeing outside of a Gregory MacGuire novel. The explanation of the universe and motivations of the characters works for me. It wasn't exactly great but with all these retellings it's nice to see one that isn't intolerable.

The Judge: While I don't think this movie was amazing or anything, I think the reviews of it were kind of harsh. Yes, the plot felt done and the music was manipulative and cheesy but there was nothing egregiously wrong with it aside from that. The truth is, it just wasn't anything unique which i guess for some is more of a crime than being terrible. Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall were fun to watch at least..

Movies I Think Were Over-Rated:

Foxcatcher: It didn't surprise me that the director of Moneyball had made another sports movie that I was completely underwhelmed by. The thing is, the story really does make a good basis for a film but the way they went about it put me to sleep. The movie dragged and the way time moved in the story was very strange. I also felt like it lacked the emotional impact it probably should have had. Steve Carrell was good though.

American Sniper: There's nothing more I could say about this movie that I haven't already said here aside from: I've seen better war movies. I've seen better war movies made by Clint Eastwood.

Inherent Vice: This movie was really good at showing you stuff happening without saying how it connected to other stuff at lightning speeds for twenty minutes and then slowing down for fifteen minutes for one long scene that doesn't advance the plot at all. There's a mystery in there somewhere. I almost feel like if this was two parts it might have made a lot more sense.

Movies I Didn't Like:

Divergent+: Here's the thing: this movie was extremely well cast and truthfully very faithful to the book. The problem is that the book isn't very good. This isn't really talked about since it is a very popular book read by many, many teens but it's really not a good book so a movie adaption of it can only be so good itself. Hunger Games it is not.

Winter's Tale+: There's nothing more I could say about this movie that I haven't already said here.

Other movies I want to see from this year but haven’t yet include:
The 100 Foot Journey
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
A Most Violent Year
The Babadook
Bitter Honey
The Book of Life
Bound By Flesh
The Congress
The Dance Of Reality
Dear White People
The Guest
In Bloom
Jersey Boys
Jimmy's Hall
Maps To The Stars
National Gallery
Only Lovers Left Alive
Palo Alto
The Skeleton Twins
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Venus In Fur
We Are The Best!