This is the first time in ages that, for the most part, I liked the movies nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.
I wasn't super hot on Babel (2006). Why do people wet their pants over intertwining storylines that all connect up at the end? Have we all not watched enough "Seinfeld" episodes? Otherwise, though, I am going to have a very difficult time putting my best pic picks in order.
The Queen (2006) was fantastic. Besides the brief ham-fisted stag imagary, it was an interesting story speculating on what was going on in Balmoral Palace those days after Princess Diana died. Helen Mirren put in a great performance of the human, but still somewhat brainwashed (in my opinion) Queen Elizabeth II. I went in to the movie not expecting much because Holly wasn't very fond of it, but I was pleasently surprised.
I think you can all guess what kind of reaction I had to Little Miss Sunshine (2006). I saw it in London when I was in England because I was afraid it wouldn't come to theatres in Charlottetown. Then it did. And I saw it again at City Cinema. Then I rented it when it came out. And I will buy it when I find it cheap enough. While I would love to see this sweet, funny, family story win best picture, I can't see it happening. Comedies rarely win best picture. I don't think there's been a solely comedic winner since 1977. Well, American Beauty (1999) was funny in parts. And so was Shakespeare in Love (1998), I suppose, but I wouldn't qualify them primarily as comedic movies. Was Driving Miss Daisy (1989) a comedy? I didn't see it. Anyhow! The point is, the Academy loves epic dramas, so, too bad for you, Sunshine.
I saw Letters From Iwo Jima (2006) when I was in Toronto this month. While it was good, I don't think I liked it very much. I'm not big on war movies, even though this one was moving and interesting. It showed a time when the Japanese army was moving between old and new military strategy. Bad timing, that's all. I wonder when the last time a sub-titled movie won best picture? There was quite a bit in Dances With Wolves (1990), I guess.
I rented The Departed (2006) this week. It was fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. I think it is now my favourite cop movie, up there with The Untouchables (1987). It was all down to strong performances, including Scorsese's direction. While it did, at times, violently sneak up on you, I was drawn into this story of rotten Boston cops, undercover cops, and an organised crime boss. I agree with whoever said that Leonardo DiCaprio deserves the Oscar nomination this year, but he got it for the wrong movie - it shouldn't be Blood Diamond (2006), but The Departed instead. Rent this movie this weekend if you haven't seen it already.
This is hard. Ok:
I'm going to go:
Little Miss Sunshine
Letters From Iwo Jima
I'll check back in on Monday for a post-mortem.