Thursday, February 19, 2009

Everything Matters - 2/19/09 - Academy Awards Edition - Part 2

Everything Matters – 2/19/09 – Academy Awards Edition – Part 2

FILM EDITING – the nominees are The Curious case of Benjamin Button,
The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and Slumdog Millionaire.
Now the CC of BB was nominated for just about every possible Oscar and it can
make history by not winning the most Oscars in history. So let’s keep that string
going here. The CC of BB, nope.
The Dark Knight, maybe the best comic book movie ever. But that whole subplot
with Harvey Dent as TwoFace? That’s where a good film editor was needed. Nope.
Frost/Nixon, god, did I hate this movie. Phony history and the jowls of Frank Langella do not, I repeat, equal gravitas and a good movie. ALSO, the history in the movie is phony, false, A LIE. NIXON NEVER APOLOGIZES FOR WATERGATE OR ANYTHING ELSE. AND THE WHOLE DRUNKEN PHONE CALL THAT THE PLOT RESTS ON – IT NEVER HAPPENED!!! The only thing I hate more than the phony history of this movie is the real history of Richard Nixon. Nope.
Milk, a wonderful movie about a great man, great writing, great acting, and great editing. But sorry. There’s another movie called –
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE that is transcendant. The Oscar goes to Slumdog.
Because yes, it is written.

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT) – the nominees are The Conscience of Nhem En, The Final Inch, Smile Pinki, The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306.
There will be no snark. There will only be honor and respect and gratitude that people dedicate their lives to bringing the subjects of documentaries such as these to light.
(synopses from
The Conscience of Nhem En - In the wake of Cambodia's takeover by the Khmer Rouge in 1975, a sixteen-year-old soldier named Nhem En was instructed to photograph the tens of thousands of citizens who passed through a processing center on the way to their execution. Impossible to read that without tearing up, close to sobbing.
The Final Inch - Contributing to the global efforts to eradicate polio worldwide, dedicated individuals in India travel throughout the country urging parents to vaccinate their children against the disease.
Smile Pinki - Pinki, a girl in rural India whose cleft lip has made her a social outcast, has a chance for a new life when she meets a dedicated social worker.
The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 3006 - The Reverend Samuel "Billy" Kyles, a witness to Martin Luther King's assassination, reflects on King's life and legacy as he recalls the events surrounding his murder.
Sadly there is only one Oscar. Luckily there may be more than one heaven. And that is where the subjects and the makers of these films will find themselves someday, among the honored and exalted.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – the nominees are The Betrayal (Nerakhoon),
Encounters at the End of the World, The Garden, Man on Wire, Trouble the Water.
(synopses from
Again, these subjects and filmmakers deserve our honor and respect. This is a no-snark zone.
The Betrayal - The life of Laotian immigrant Thavisouk Phrasavath serves as a metaphor for the far-reaching repercussions that are still felt from America's involvement in the Vietnam War. When his family suffered persecution following the U.S. withdrawal from Southeast Asia as a result of his father's work for the CIA, Phrasavath's mother fled with eight of her ten children to a life of poverty in Brooklyn.
Encounters at the End of the World - In the extreme conditions that define existence in Antarctica, filmmaker Werner Herzog explores the range of personalities who have been drawn to spend their working lives in one of the world's harshest environments. From research scientists to blue collar workers, Herzog's subjects demonstrate a self-reliance and intrepid sense of adventure that both equip them for their frigid surroundings and place them outside the mainstream of society.
The Garden - In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, a fourteen-acre expanse of city-owned land in a South Central neighborhood was developed by local residents into one of the country's largest community gardens. In 2003, the tract was sold back to its original owner, whose plans to develop it prompted area residents to organize in an attempt to stop efforts to oust them from the land.
Man on Wire - In 1974, French performance artist Philippe Petit hid with several friends after hours in the World Trade Center, strung a high wire between its Twin Towers...and walked between them for the better part of an hour, to the amazement of New Yorkers on the streets below. How Petit planned and executed his spectacle is detailed in extensive interviews with Petit and those who helped him achieve his dream.
Trouble the Water - As the drama of Hurricane Katrina unfolded, New Orleans resident Kimberly Roberts recorded the chaos and devastation of her own experience on videotape. Her footage forms the heart of this portrait of Roberts's long journey with her husband, from the early days of the storm to their subsequent evacuation, resettlement in Memphis, and eventual return to the decimated city.
I have seen Man on Wire and I have seen Trouble the Water. Again, just split it five ways and we all win.

COSTUME – the nominees are Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,
The Duchess, Milk, and Revolutionary Road.
Okay, back to sniping and snark.
Australia? Dusters and Oz-inspired Calvin Klein? Jesse James in the Outbaack with the occasional loincloth? Not a chance.
The CC of BB? Brad wears Steve McQueen chinos and t-shirts and sweatshirts and even rides a motorcycle. It’s like a spread from Men’s Vogue:Brad is Steve Issue. But an Oscar for what you can buy at K-Mart? Nope.
The Duchess – was this a movie? Did anyone see it? But it has a name that means a previous century and that means Costumes. Looks like a winner.
Milk – the least fashion-conscious movie ever made about gay men. Nope.
Revolutionary Road – mid 1950s, late 1950s, we’ve all seen it on Mad Men and it looks just fine there. Maybe if the movie had any shelf life?
The winner – The Duchess. And under his breath, Gus van Sant mutters, “Bitch.”

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