Oh my gosh, I keep forgetting to do this. Tsotsi, as everyone reading this probably already knows, won the Oscar for best foreign language film. Which it deserved (say I, having not seen any of the contenders. Go me and my opinions!) The lead, Presley Chweneyagae, was just brilliant, and I found myself thinking what a different (and -awful-) movie it would have been if an American studio had taken the same basic premise. This one, however, was complex and moving. Thumbs up.
So Sunday I was having one of those days where I was slowly dying of boredom, and if I didn’t take myself to a movie, I would just go home at 4 and go to bed. Since that would mean missing out on Stitch & Bitch, I grabbed a Stranger for the movie times and wound up going to V for Vendetta, which was a good use of the afternoon. Since I hadn’t paid that much attention to the film aside from some business issues on Hollywood Elsewhere, there was a good deal of HITG squee, which is always fun. It sort of seems like if you know the graphic novel you hate the movie, and if you don’t know it you love it. I haven’t read it, and I am somewhere in between. Bits of it are muddled and bits of it are fantastic. And there are more fantastic bits than muddled bits. So there you go.
Now is the time on Sprockets where we catch up! I bought Walk the Line the day it came out, and I watched it last week. Still awesome. Possibly because I am a sucker for biopics and films about music and also I was raised country.
Also awesome is that “Doctor Who” is now showing in the States. We got the first two episodes of the Ninth Doctor on Friday night. I intend to enjoy SciFi while I have it. (Though I have to say, I was mid-row at the end of “The End of the World” and wound up watching ten minutes of SGA. That show is just bad. Not that I was in danger of adding that fandom before, but now, definitely not.)
The housemate rented some more DVDs, so last night I finally got to see The Constant Gardener, which was just a gorgeous film. Fernando Meirelles is one hell of a director, but I have to say that City of God was better. And Rachel Weisz was excellent, but if I had been a voting member I probably would have given that Oscar to Michelle Williams. Well, maybe not. I didn’t see two of the nominees after all. Not that that stops many of the voters.
(Hrm. The bitterness, I see, has not yet passed.)
ANYWAY. The Constant Gardener. Good stuff. Better corruption film than some of the others that got more press this year, and also, I’d dare say, better film on race as well. Beautifully filmed & acted, strikingly edited.
Last night I finished the Ninth Doctor episodes of “Doctor Who”, and I can feel myself teetering on the edge of fannishness. This is BAD. This is going to make it That Much Harder to argue that I am not a geek.
But oh, there is so much love! And then at the very end we see Ten and I just die of the awesome. I would have a much harder time letting go of Nine if it wasn’t for the glory that is Tennant.
(And here I didn’t intend for this to become Fangirl Central. Must beware.)
I feel like rambling a bit about Jeffrey Wells today. He’s easily my favorite film/entertainment journalist, and I’ve been reading his column, following him from site to site, for nearly ten years now. Which is forever on the internet. I don’t agree with him on everything (the things he’s said about The Lord of the Rings make me wonder if we watched the same movies), but I agree with him enough to make it worth it, and especially now that he runs the Wired blog he’s a great way to stay on top of industry buzz.
He saw Brokeback Mountain in Toronto back in September, and posted about it here (scroll down to “Hurtin'”)*. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the infamous journalist who stood up at a Toronto Q&A and apologized for calling it “the gay cowboy movie”. In this write-up (first of many reflections on the film) he says: I never thought I’d say this because I don’t tend to like (i.e., respond to with comfort or true openness of feeling) gay-guy love stories, but I felt this one…it got through and I let it in.
I wasn’t going to see it for another three months, and so it meant a lot to hear this admission from a guy who was not exactly the film’s target demographic. He went on to blog the release and award season more throughly than anyone else I read.
I was going to wax poetic a bit what this meant, but Wells did it himself. In a later column he writes
I don’t tend to like gay-guy love stories. I don’t respond to them with comfort or true openness of feeling…but I felt this one. … I’m pretty average 7-11 so maybe this means something …or not.
I only know that calling this movie a “gay” anything doesn’t feel right. It’s an American heartland drama about two very decent but confused and screwed-up guys. I’m straight but I related, being a little bit on the denying, screwed-up side myself.
Which, I think, is the key to Wells’ coverage. From the moment he saw it he fought against the gay label and argued the universality of the emotions. Any good tragedy is about the identification and the catharsis anyway, but it was just awesome to have Joe Average straight guy saying this.
In general, he maintains a great balance between what is new and fresh and exciting in film, what is old that we need to remember, and what will actually play well in theaters and make you feel something. His column is syndicated at and the Wired blog is at
*I have to giggle; further down in that column he talks about wanting to club Love, Actually over the head with a tire iron. I can identify!
When I got home last night I found that the housemate had rented a stack of movies. (I wish I had gotten there sooner, because I only saw the last ten minutes or so of Waiting, which looked like it might have been worth it for John Francis Daley alone.)
But The Ice Harvest was better than I thought it would be (though still not actually -good-). There are worse ways to spend an evening, though. One of them was the other option I was given — Yours, Mine, and Ours. Um. No.
I’ve been hearing for some time now that Crash was going to win for Best Picture, especially after it won best ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. (And since they mailed out something like 100,000 screener DVDs.) I had hoped that the ink spilled on Crash vs Brokeback was just bored journalists, but then Tony Curtis went going on the record as saying he wasn’t even going to -see- Brokeback Mountain, and the same was true for other Academy members, well. The win was not a surprise.
And see. I liked Crash. It’s solid. Intense. Excellent performances. But there are some bits where you can tell Haggis cut his teeth on TV, like the montage at the end. I don’t know. I think I’m always going to resent it a little bit. It’s not even that I thought Brokeback Mountain was the best film this year. It’s flawed, and I’ve been a Capote girl from the start. Plus, I know that all of the nominations for various degrees of queer this year are just awesome. But it was the best film nominated (that actually had a chance), and I had really hoped that we were going to make it all the way. It stings that we didn’t.
What I really think gets me about this is the admission that people weren’t even going to -see- it. They went on the record that they were afraid, they were going for the safe choice, and they were going to select a best picture without viewing the competition. -That- kills me. It doesn’t surprise me (I’m sure it happens all the time, and with less controversial films) but it hurts.
(Also, does anyone understand the producer controversy over Crash? I’ve read a few stories on it, and I don’t, so feel free to explain it using small words. Assuming anyone else -knows- that there was a producer controversy.)
ETA Best commentary seen yet. And from an earlier article by the same writer: In other words, if “Brokeback” doesn’t win it’s either a triumph for advertising or homophobia. Either way, the Academy looks bad. Personally, I think it’s a bit of both.
Oscar categories for which I have seen all of the nominees:
- Best animated feature
- Achievement in makeup (hee.)
- Best animated short film
- Best live action short film
Once I see Crash this weekend, I’ll add
- Performance by an actor in a supporting role
- Orignal screenplay
…and Munich will be the only picture of the year and director nominee that I’ll be missing. Not bad. There’s lots I have seen three of, and really, I never let not seeing something get in the way of having an opinion.
This week we caught the live action shorts, which were a mixed bag. My favorite was “Six Shooter”, which contained a surprising amount of dark humor for Academy nominee. Right on. In fannish news, “Our Time Is Up” included Jorge Garcia in a small role, and “Cashback” starred Sean Biggerstaff. Woo.
I continue to love this show beyond all reason. I am number three on the library hold list for season four. Alvarez is AWESOME. Diane is AWESOME. Sister Pete is BEYOND AWESOME. So is Adebisi. And don’t even get me started on Ryan & Cyril. And that they’re played by brothers? Also AWESOME.
Are we detecting a theme? AWESOME.