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The Righteous Prick 2012 Oscar Breakdown

The 2012 Oscar Nominations were announced for what I believe was the worst year in movies since 2005 (Crash beat Brokeback Mountain while Munich, my favorite movie of that year, never had a shot despite being nominated).  Well this year has been the movie of the overrated and the boring.  I have some positive things to say about some of this year’s nominees, but that wouldn’t be as much fun so I will try to keep the positivity to a minimum.  For reference here is my recap of 2011 films (before I saw the excellent We Need To Talk About Kevin):

https://jlcauvin.com/?p=3180

BEST PICTURE

In my movie wrap up of 2011 I rated Hugo as the most overrated film of the year and The Tree of Life in the top 5 most overrated films of the year, as well as the most pretentious film of all time.  Both nominated for best picture.  Awful.  And Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is nominated.  It is the only film of the ten nominated that I have not seen.  And I have no intention of seeing it.  Not because of any 9/11 movie fear or discomfort (United 93 is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen, but the academy only had the courage to nominate it for Best Director back in 2006, not best picture), but because I find the child actor so irritating in the commercials and previews that I am glad he lost his fictional father.  That is how annoying I find him.

Wake me up when this horsesh*t is over.

I have no problem with the other nominees and generally found the films to range from adequate to enjoyable.  However here are the movies I think are clear snubs: The Ides of March, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 50/50, We Need To Talk About Kevin and my long shot, but personal favorite Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  The fact that WNTTAK and 50/50 were completely shut out is a travesty.

We Need To Talk About Kevin was original, thought provoking and incredibly creepy. And snubbed.

But thank goodness Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Drive were not nominated for Best Picture.

BEST ACTOR

When is Joseph Gordon-Levitt going to get some goddamn respect?!  500 Days of Summer shut out in 2009 and then 50/50 shut out this year.  It makes me like JGL more to think that he is being stiffed by the industry because he does not play politics.

The nominees are fine I guess with that one omission.  And I am surprised Michael Fassbender did not get nominated for Shame. Or that his penis was not nominated for best supporting actor.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Jonah Hill gets nominated for playing a fat quiet guy.  The fu*k out of here!

Kenneth Branagh should win this, but Christopher Plummer has earned it (and his performance as Mike Wallace in The Insider was not nominated at all in 1999 – my top snub I can remember)

BEST ACTRESS

To quote Bill Burr, “Rooney Mara had to be fu*king Daniel Craig and if she wasn’t she deserves an award for best pantomiming of fu*king a guy.”  Agreed.  She looked great, she was great. I think she should win.  Normally I bet Meryl Streep against the field because she is better than everyone, but The Iron Lady was not good.  Like not good enough to tear her chances down.

She should win. Sorry Meryl, I have rooted for you in every other race.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain was in 147 movies this year so she deserves this. And she was great in The Help. And I think it would be funny if the only award for the The Help went to a white woman.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

They all sucked this year.  Seriously, every animated movie I saw this year sucked. What a disappointment. Shame on you Pixar and shame on you Kung Fu Panda 2. I expect better from you guys.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Rise of the Planet of The Apes – it needs to win something dammit!

Caesar is home and his ass should get an effects Oscar.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Really good category except Tinker Tailor is nominated.  Really – a good adaptation? Was the book long, boring and dreary also or was that the gift of the screenwriter?  Hugo can go fu*k itself.  I think Moneyball wins simply because it was a great book about statistics that was made into a solid (but not great in my opinion) film.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Bridesmaids got nominated for best original screenplay?  So I guess making a slightly less funny Old School/Hangover (I, not the lazy II) is now original!  I’d like to see The Artist win because it would be weird to have a film with 10 words of dialogue win a screenwriting award.

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Movie of the Week: Moneyball

A movie that combines the excitement of baseball with the excitement of statistics was most certainly a tough pitch.  That may explain why Moneyball movie was a struggle to get made.  But it finally got made and is well-acted, pretty well-written and way too long for its subject matter.

The movie is based on the Michael Lewis bestseller that chronicles Billy Beane, the General Manager for the Oakland A’s, who in an effort to make the cash poor A’s compete with franchises like the Yankees, ushered in a statistics-heavy form of scouting for baseball, commonly referred to a sabermetrics.

Do you like Brad Pitt and baseball statistics? Then you may enjoy this movie.

The writer and director do a pretty good job of making this seemingly boring story watchable for about 90 minutes.  Unfortunately, the movie is 126 minutes long and by the end feels like a three hour epic.  The movie is a treat for Brad Pitt fans since he is on the screen about 98% of the time and he bulked up to play Beane, who was described in the book as a fitness freak.  But Moneyball ends up feeling closer to a George Clooney-level vanity project (or in Hollywood speak – a “passion project”).  Jonah Hill is in top cardiac arrest, Type II diabetes form as the Yale grad geek who helps open up Beane’s eyes to the value of using statistical analysis in fielding a successful, but cheap team.  Jonah Hill has proven adept at exactly two things in acting right now – loud vulgar screaming or dead-eyed, lifeless dramatic acting (not saying I don’t enjoy some of his work, but let’s not start hailing his versatility as an actor).  Guess which of the two he uses here (he is given some good lines that do make his character more engaging than the performance, which is basically a slightly less creepy version of his performance in Cyrus).

Like any sport films, the construction of the band of misfits is the most enjoyable part of the film and the recap of the A’s record 20 game winning streak gives the movie a rare jolt of actual sports excitement and drama.

So the movie is pretty well done, but does anyone want to spend 2+ hours for something slow moving, basically about statistics?  In other words, like baseball, it is nice to watch, full of intricate details, and way too long for its own good.

Final Grade – B