2011 Best Picture Showcase: The First Weekend

It begins.

Today is the first weekend of AMC’s Best Picture Showcase. I’ll be watching 5 of the 10 films nominated for best picture for the 2011 Oscars. Between showings, I’ll be coming back here to give you my impressions. If you catch the post between viewings, all that extra cruft is because writing HTML code on an iPhone blows chunks and i don’t feel like doing all that tedious formatting work between shows.

Since the theatre with the best amenities is on the other side of town, I’ll be leaving around 9:30 to allow for plenty of time for parking and seat staking-out before the first film starts at 11:00. I’ve prepped my purse for the day and hopefully it won’t get searched thoroughly enough for them to catch the stash of pappy’s meat I’m saving for dinner. They’ll hopefully overlook the unmarked bag of soy crisps and the fruit concentrate I’ll be snacking on as part of my crazy protein diet. If I have to, I’ll blow the $10 gift card that comes with the package on bottled water. It’s not like I can eat anything else at the concession stand.

I’m ready. My family is more or less ready to spend the day without me. It’s almost time to go.

I’ll update the rest of the post as the day goes on.

Pre-Show Entertainment

10:32 am I’m already regretting not bringing the kindle. I’ve got 30 minutes to burn before the first show and I don’t want to drain the battery on my iPhone before I’ve begun.

I got to the mall/theatre about when I’d planned and picked up my super sexy lanyard and useless giftcard before taking a quick stroll around borders to see what was available at the store-closing discount. I pulled myself away from the graphic novel section (later there may be much pillaging, but not until the discount gets a bit steeper) and headed back up to the theatre.

sadly, but not surprising, most of the aisle seats were taken (either by actual people or draped coats). still i managed to get an aisle seat on a row that was more or less where I wanted. since I started typing this, the seats near me have filled up in such a way that unless this party has a surprise guest or the theatre fills up, is should be neighbor-free. hurrah.

first up is TS3, which as I said below, I’m more or less unexcited for. I don’t feel any more in the mood for sad story about leaving your toys behind today than I did last night.

already I’m wishing for 2 things: an iPhone that doesn’t hang for minutes at a time while I type and someone to guard my chair while I pee.

that’s it for now. pre-preview previews are starting and I’ve got a battery to preserve!

Toy Story 3 – 11:00 a.m.

Expectations: (2/18 10:54pm) The first of the “homework” films: I know I should see it and I’m sure it’s very well done and I’ll probably like it, but for whatever reason (hype and “warnings” in this case) I just don’t wanna.

Now That I’ve Seen It: 12:50 pm “How to Train Your Dragon” doesn’t stand a chance. If it’d come out any other year…

Definitely not a kids movie, like everyone says. Holy Christ, though. Taken as the finale to the trilogy, it’s flawless. As a stand-alone movie it holds its own as one of the best of the year.

Also, my kids are going to grow up. I’m never going to be ready for that.

Grade: A+ (I’m not like those other judges who pull back on the first few contestants. flawless movie is flawless.)

Other Between Show Thoughts and Observations:12:56 pm I skipped out of the beginning of the credits to take a “bio break”. looks like my sweater was enough to keep seat snatchers at bay. Not sure whether I should eat during 127 hours or not. being starving during it might add to the experience.

Restarting my phone didn’t fix the text lag. :(

127 Hours – 1:00 p.m.

Expectations: (2/18 10:54pm) Another “homework” film. James Franco piques my curiosity, though. He makes really … diverse … choices when it comes to his acting roles. He takes it seriously, but not crazy seriously. He was one of my favorite things about the 2009 showcase in milk and easily the biggest surprise.

Now That I’ve Seen It: 2:51 it takes a visionary storyteller to tell a survival story where the audience knows the ending and more or less the basis of the survival method. Danny Boyle is pretty damn good at that. Franco deserves the best actor nom.

still, there’s something about the way Boyle paints a movie that doesn’t work quite right for me. I don’t know. did we need to make this movie? is it really anything more than a very well done documentary with a bit too much of the director’s flair thrown in? would it have been as good without it? great movie. probably top 10, but not the greatest.

Grade: B+

Other Between Show Thoughts and Observations: 2:57 really looking forward to the palate cleanser of the next movie. also dinner. there is officially nothing in the theatre concessions stand I can eat. unlimited popcorn refills are all around and someone just brought in some pizza. do you think the smell of pappy’s brisket will carry?

The Kids are All Right – 3:00pm

Expectations: (2/18 10:54pm) The reason I’m doing this! Well, that’s an exaggeration. But still. This is a “regretful DVD” movie. It’s one I’ve wanted to see since I’ve heard about it, but without this showcase probably wouldn’t have been able to catch it until it hit the Netflix queue. And with the rate our consumption is going, that could take a decade.

Now That I’ve Seen It: 5:07 pm hrm. i think this is going to severely suffer from expectation management. it was fine. it was very “real” feeling. I believed everything that happened. I think everyone did a great job. I think the costuming will be under-appreciated, but it was subtle and brilliant.

but if I’m so bored I notice subtly awesome costuming? your movie has problems. I think it was supposed to be boring. maybe not boring, but definitely “not sensational”. I walked away feeling how I expect to feel about “the king’s speech.” it’s a show about some stuff. everyone did fine. except maybe the Ruffalo. jury’s still out on him.

Grade: B+

Other Between Show Thoughts and Observations:5:13 toy story set the bar high, yo.

we are on dinner break. I ate all my meat in the last show and none of the food court options are tempting enough. villagers need caffeine though, so when I finish up here, I’m off to find some. I should charge my phone, too, but since there only one more break, I think it’ll last.

True Grit – 5:45p.m.

Expectations: (2/18 10:54pm) homework. homework. homework. I’m sure it’s great. I’m sure it’s flawless. I’m pretty sure I don’t care about it or want to see it. But at least it’s not The Fighter. 2.18 10:54pm

Now That I’ve Seen It: 7:52 pm battery is running low so I’ll be brief. this is the one to beat. funny. terrifying. high stakes. great acting. great editing. gorgeous and brutal. the ending was a bit … uneven, which is the only flaw. it felt Japanese. like if myasaki wanted to make a western homage to kirasawa. only live action. I’m not convinced Bridges is acting but I don’t care. Damon was epically cast and quite possibly my favorite thing. HBC and the fighter ladies have some crazy competition in the best supporting category.

right. brief. oh well. :)

Grade: A-

Other Between Show Thoughts and Observations:7:58 pm I want popcorn so bad it’s almost worth breaking the diet. I’m staying for The Fighter because everything save 127 Hours has been a surprise. we shall see.

that won’t be updated until I get home. :)

The Fighter – 7:45pm

Pre Showing Thoughts: (2/18 10:54pm)The one film in the entire list that I really, really don’t want to watch. There is something about the films that Marky Mark and Christian Bale pick when they want to get really intense about acting and character that makes me really dislike them (the movies, not the guys). The fact that they’re in this together and it’s about heavily accented blue-collar boxing? ugh. ugh. and double ugh. It will probably be the one I love the best. Or I’ll skip it and go home early and catch the hockey game. :)

Now That I’ve Seen It: 10:45 pm no, it’s not that long. I just drove home first and said hey to my family before i went back to this post.


while watching one of the last fight scenes i started paying attention to the camera work and how incredible the editing is between the fight and the people watching the fight and i knew it was the “best” movie I’d seen today. but ugh.

every criticism i have about this movie is a personal hangup or whatever. christian bale deserves pretty much every compliment he’s getting for this role. he’s amazing. but i pretty much wanted to claw my eyes out every time he was on camera. marky mark wasn’t so bad, but that’s mostly because his character didn’t talk much. melissa leto was literally unrecognizable. honestly. maybe 2 or 3 times i caught a glimpse of her, but had i not known it was her, i wouldn’t have even thought that was an actress i’d seen in anything else. amazing.

Grade: A very, very begrudging A

And that’s a wrap! I may put together a better summary this week, but that seems unlikely with what my week looks like.

Thanks for hanging out with me. I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you.