one of the things i am obsessed with (yes, i have more than one obsession) and look forward to every year is awards season-- especially the oscars and everything associated with them. the history. the pageantry. the masturbatory nature of the accolades. i heart every part of it. but in recent years it has come to my attention how woefully unversed in the trivia of the oscars i am. for instance, a trivia question for you. how many women have won more than one oscar for best actress? twelve. no, seriously. twelve! now name them. i realized that my lack of cinematastic trivia knowledge probably originated in my incomplete library of movies viewed. i mean, grease 2 is seriously a fab movie, but michelle pfeiffer did not an oscar win (though she was absolutely robbed based strictly on this performance alone). something had to be done and the 52 new things offered a unique opportunity to address this deficiency. so for my new thing this week, i took amc theatres up on its kooky offer and watched all 5 2007 best picture nominees in one sitting. yes, that's right. 12 1/2 hours in a movie theatre with only one comedy (and some would argue a black comedy at that) to get me through. bring it on!
*SPOILERS AHEAD* shield your eyes to avoid plot points!
opening credits: setting the scene
i drove out to typical suburbia to the colonial 18 and what i thought would be a mostly empty theatre. surely there weren't many people crazy enough to sit through 5 movies in one sitting? apparently i was wrong. the movie theatre was sold out, filled to the gills with over 300 people ready to stick it out through a corrupt lawyer, a crazy oil man, a wrongly accused housekeeper's son, a quirky pregnant girl, and a homicidal maniac-- all in the name of oscar love. i was given a rocking commemorative pass telling me when all the movies started (atonement third? really? can't we lead with the crap and save the good for last?) and offering brief descriptions of the films for easy reference, a coupon for a free refillable large popcorn (refills? seriously?), and a piece of paper meant to be used as a seat saver. apparently these movie people are cut-throat about their seats. if you leave, your seat becomes a prime piece of real estate to be fought over. and woe be the girl who accidentally chooses a seat next to an odorific gentleman or chatty cathy. i got lucky. quiet girl to the left. nice couple to the right. let's get this party started.
the set up: the corrupt lawyer
michael clayton-- staring george clooney, tom wilkinson, and best supporting actress winner tilda swinton-- was your typical thrilleresque whodoneit. would tom wilkinson take down the destructive chemical company? would george clooney save tom from himself? would tilda ever stop sweating? all in all, i was invested for the entire film but as the credits rolled (on a tracking shot of george clooney in a cab for more than 10 minutes) i realized michael clayton did not amount to anything more than a million movies i had seen before. good but not best.
collins rating: eh, it was good.
pre-emptive strike: the crazy oil man
there will be blood was a tour de force of a magnitude one does not find very often. from the opening 10 minute long introduction of best actor winner daniel day lewis's daniel planiview to the bizarre closing scene of daniel and a preacher, a discussion of a milkshake and a bowling pin as a death keal, this movie rocked my face off. the cinematography deserved to win the oscar (from the wide shot of a desolate parched swath of land to the steady cam one shot of the chaos of a steam gyser defeaning daniel plainview's "son" h.w.) and daniel day lewis was a genius as the crazed oil man with one of the most unique, unsettling accents in movies. his best actor win cemented his place among the greatest actors of all time and showed-- yet again-- how obsessive a character actor he is. daniel day lewis does not play characters, he becomes them. he was christy brown. he was nathaniel poe. he was bill the butcher. and when he bludgeoned eli sunday to death with a bowling pin after the brilliance that was the "i drink your milkshake scene" i found myself grinning from ear to ear, scanning those near me to see if anyone else recognized the sheer genius that we were witnessing. i drink up your performance mr. lewis! i drink it up!
collins rating: hell yeah! this movie was the most awesomest thing eva!
suicidal tendencies: the falsely accused
atonement-- easily the most disappointing of the 5 films-- left me wishing i personally had access to the bowling pin from there will be blood so that i could bludgeon myself and put myself out of my misery. jesus, this movie was bad. the only redeeming qualities were the green dress and the music (sweet use of typwriter key stricking to drive the texture and tone of the score). otherwise, it couldn't end soon enough. keira knightley has excelled at not living up to her potential, james mcavoy bored me to tears and supporting actress nominee saoirse ronan wasn't even in half of the film. when the last third of the movie was revealed to be a ruse, a story made up by a pentatent child to atone (get it?) for her lies that ruined so many lives, i found myself wanting to throw my mostly full large bag of popcorn at vanessa redgrave on screen while yelling "are you frakking kidding me?" this movie blew.
collins rating: hell to the no! that's 2 1/2 hours of my life i will never get back.
at this point it was 645. i had spent more than 8 hours in the movie theatre and i was definitely getting a little stir crazy. but i had just powered through what i hoped would be the low point of the evening and-- thanks to the wonderfully giving couple to my right who "paid" me for guarding their seats while they were at dinner (during atonement...you have chosen wisely)-- i had a huge assortment of sushi to stuff in my gullet before the next movie. three down, two to go.
comedic relief: the quirky pregnant girl
what can i say about juno? screenwriter diablo cody is quite possibly the coolest person ever. while she received some backlash, the oscar for best original screenplay was totally deserved. she managed to create her own language, the junoverse and teenagers everywhere found their voice. second only to the script was the work of ellen page. only she could deliver the words of this crazy woman in such a dry overtly irreverant manner as to make them believable. and it helps that she might be batting for our team. hey, we need as many good ones as we can get to cancel out ones like this. daaaannnnnggggg ellen page, you are my hero.
also, the supporting cast deserved way more accolades than they garnered (heh, that's funny...). jennifer garner as vanessa loring, the insecure adoptive mother-to-be, showed great range and represented her best work in film so far. (side note: how did j. garner manage to never win an emmy for her work on alias? that's just wrong. and why must the hollywood foreign press be so much better at this stuff than americans? they gave her a golden globe before a full season of alias had even aired. way to be late again america.) allison janney-- who apparently loves rock band-- and j.k. simmons as juno's parents were on point and made juno's oft-maligned quirkiness totally believeable. and jason reitman, oscar nominated director, seems to have run a tight ship.
collins rating:brills! single serving of quirk and wit. loves it!
final act: the homicidal maniac
the last film of the night-- no country for old men-- disturbed me to no end, with its air "gun" assaults and animal cruelty. but javier bardem's turn as dorothy hamill look-a-like serial killer anton chigurh was the least surprising and well deserved win at the oscars. while i feared him, i didn't hate him. in fact, i felt like there wasn't a clear villian in the film. the greatest injustice about this movie (other than the fact that i don't believe it was a better movie than twbb) was the snub by the academy of josh brolin, aka mr. diane lane, as llewelyn moss (quite possibly the best character name of the season). he absolutely deserved a nomination for supporting actor alongside javier. one could not have succeeded without the other and each man's performance would have been poorer for the lack of the other's presence.
collins rating: totally worth it, friendo.
so as my evening wound down and i stood to leave at 1130PM, after 12 1/2 hours of straight sensorary overload, i contemplated whether ellen page could win the best actress oscar (she didn't), if there will be blood would pull out the best picture win against the front runner no country for old men (it didn't), and what films would be nominated next season.
as i stretched out my bum left knee, i realized that this movie marathon might have actually been the beginning of a new love affair with cinema. but not until a couple weeks of complete avoidance to cleanse the palate.