By Jackie Maggio
Every year the Academy Awards roll around and they announce the nominees for Best Picture. But with the Oscars coming up fast, February 26, maybe you don’t have time to watch all nine of the nominees. So that’s where I come in. This past weekend I sat down and watched all nine of the movies–so you wouldn’t have to.
” The Tree of Life”: I can’t even do justice to the strangeness of this movie by describing the plot, but if I had to try it would be a movie about a boy growing up in the 1950s interlaced with the creation of the universe and dinosaurs. Seriously, the fact that there are dinosaurs in this movie blew me away. Anyway, to the average viewer, “The Tree of Life” would make absolutely no sense. It’s way too avant-garde to be anywhere close to enjoyable. But it seems movies like this are what the Academy is looking for. My money is on this or The Artist to take home the Oscar. 2/10
“Hugo“: The story of an orphan boy who goes on an adventure to solve the mystery of his late father and how that links to a heart-shaped lock. Honestly, I would love to see Hugo win. It was by far my favorite of the nine contenders. The visuals, the story, the symbolism– they all come together to create a fantastic movie. I sound like a Hugo publicist, but seriously if there was one movie on this list that I guarantee you’ll enjoy, it would be Hugo. 9.5/10
“Moneyball“: A baseball manager played by Brad Pitt attempts to put together a baseball team by using statistical analysis of the players, which at the time was unheard of. This movie was interesting, but I wouldn’t consider it Best Picture material. I like baseball, so to me this movie was fun to watch, but I feel like the winner for Best Picture should be a movie that everyone can enjoy. “Moneyball” definitely isn’t a universal movie–I’d compare it to other sports-centric filsm like Coach Carter or Remember the Titans, all good movies but not best pictures. 6/10
“War Horse”: A story set during World War I seen through the eyes of a horse. Despite being amazingly shot and scored, “War Horse” falls short because it tries way too hard to make you care about this horse. I realize it’s called “War Horse” and should therefore be about a horse, but I just can’t feel for this horse when 10 million other men were killed in World War I. I don’t want to be too negative– for what it is this movie was enjoyable. 6/10
“The Artist“: A mostly silent, black-and-white film that barely made its money back at the box office. But the Artist has literally been taking home almost every award leading up the the Oscars. Maybe I’m being cynical but I can’t see many people enjoying this movie. It isn’t appealing enough to me for it to be named Best Picture. Does this movie fit in with recent winners like “The Departed,” “The Hurt Locker,” and “The King’s Speech?” In my opinion, movies have moved away from black and white and silence. A best picture needs to bring all the elements together of what makes a movie a movie in today’s world. A lack of sound and color just doesn’t do that for me. 4/10
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close“: A story about a young boy who loses his father (Tom Hanks) on 9/11 and the journey he takes after he finds a key that once belonged to his father. This one’s hard to review, because while it was a very sad and moving story, at times it became very heavy-handed. Maybe it was because I watched them consecutively, but this movie reminded me a lot of “Hugo.” Both movies are about a boy who sets off on an adventure to discover himself after his father dies tragically. 6.5/10
“Midnight in Paris”: This one’s about a struggling writer (Owen Wilson) who moves to Paris and discovers a way to get transported back in time to a 1920s version of Paris. He meets F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and many others while he’s there. Filled with quirks, this movie was one that stood out to me. With a very original idea and a great cast, I really felt connected to all the characters and what was happening. I would definitely recommend this one to any writer out there, but also to anyone who enjoys smart, romantic comedies. 7.5/10
“The Descendants”: The story of a man (George Clooney) whose wife gets in a terrible boating accident and is forced to deal with the aftermath. I would call it a comedic-tragedy and Clooney does a great job of connecting us to his character. The story has many ups and downs, but in the end we get to see what the word family really means. 7/10
“The Help”: The story of an aspiring author (Emma Stone) who decided to compile a book dissecting the lives of African-American maids in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. I might stand alone on this one, but it really wasn’t great. It was extremely drawn-out and boring, with only a few funny scenes throughout. The story was interesting, but the characters just weren’t gripping and I wish it dealt more with the issues of the time period than just focusing mainly on Stone’s character. 4.5/10
So now if your friends are discussing Oscar nominees you can sound smart and pretend you watched all of them due to my excellent reviews. Or you can actually watch the movies, it’s up to you.