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Sunday, February 25, 2007

random observations

Scroll two entries down for the list of predictions and favorites.

I posted my Oscar list last night. Several categories were extremely difficult this year. Sometimes, one just has to make a choice and move on.

BEST PICTURE
I predicted Babel because Hollywood loves easy liberalism with a supposed Important Message For Our Time, even if that message is obvious and tedious. Then again, what do I know? Babel was the one film I refused to see this year.
Why did I favor The Queen over The Departed as the best film nominated? I think it came down to degree of difficulty. The screenplay and the two principals were impossibly true to what I remember and know (and assume) about the time and the people. Also, it broke my heart to recall so palpably how earnestly and hopefully we believed in Blair once upon a time. It may take an entire generation or more to undo the harms wrought upon the world by the twenty-first century's original sin: the stolen U.S. presidential election of 2000.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
How did Michael Sheen not get nominated for playing Tony Blair? He deserves the award, and Ken Watanabe should be the runner-up. I saw three of the nominees—Sunshine, Departed, and Dreamgirls—and Arkin, Wahlberg, and Murphy all have strong cases for the award, but I'm going with Marky Mark. ('Feel it! Feel it')

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
What knuckleheads voted to give the Golden Globe to Jennifer Hudson? Her face is blank and her elocution inexpressive, anachronistic, and muddled throughout the movie.
If there were an award for best casting of a supporting actress, it would have to go to Pedro Almodóvar for bringing back Carmen Maura. Yay.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
How on earth was Children of Men nominated for screenplay? I discussed the problems with its screenplay in my entry for January 25, 2007. I can't think of a less appropriate nomination.
Borat belongs to a category of its own, but best screenplay? Can it be said to have a screenplay? What we see on the screen is largely the result of editing, not writing.
The Departed: what is it but a great adaptation? That was easy.

FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
I chose The Lives of Others, but the three films I saw in this category were all contenders. I was sure until last night that I would pick Pan's Labyrinth. For me, it was the first film I saw after returning from a trip to Spain where I spent a lot of time reflecting on Spain's history of the 'Reconquest' and Franco's fascism. (See blog entries for early January.) After facing its reality in person for a week, I came home to see it treated as fantasy. What an inspired idea and what a great movie.
Indigènes, released here as Days of Glory, tells the story of North African soldiers who fought to liberate their oppressor, France, in World War Two. I'll blog more about this film later this week.

SOUND MIXING
I predict Dreamgirls, but it is one of the worst movies for sound ever made. The songs were produced according to twenty-first-century pop conventions where all levels are played at the same high volume. Such music has no background. That's not what Motown sounded like!

Random categories
Most under-nominated nominated film: Volver
Best male dialogue: The Departed
The only feature film of the year not based on characters (not that that's a criticism): United 93
Worst screenplay: Dreamgirls
Most disappointing: The Go Master, directed by Tian Zhuangzhuang, China
Most boring: Letters from Iwo Jima
Most surprising discovery: Leonardo DiCaprio can act as an adult.
Most hair-raising relationship: between Ryan Gosling and Shakeera Epps in Half Nelson
Very satisfying plot twist: the mascot in The Last King of Scotland gets spanked.
Worst documentary ever made: The U.S. vs. John Lennon
Funniest movie I've ever seen: Borat

(The blog entry below this one lists all the 2006 films I saw at its first comment.)

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8 Comments:

Anonymous David said...

I didn’t like “The Last King of Scotland” so that coloured my view of Forest. Didn’t like the supposed story of the doctor and the partial glossing over Amin’s cruelty. I would have preferred the real story of Amin rather than half fiction eg the doctor.
I loved “Ghost Dog” so greatly enjoyed Forest in that.

6:15 PM, February 25, 2007

 
Anonymous Blair said...

Jeff, don't you mean "Leonardo"?

11:29 PM, February 25, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

I don't mind historical fiction per se, as in Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia, which I hope to blog about this week, but I don't typically like adding fictional characters to historical events. Even so, The Last King of Scotland was not a bad film. If white audiences need their hands held by a white character in a film ostensibly about Uganda, then at least the white mascot character got his comeuppance for once. And how.

1:04 AM, February 26, 2007

 
Anonymous Dr Dre said...

The sound mixer on a film is not responsible for the way the songs used in the soundtrack are produced.

2:54 AM, February 26, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

Thanks to Dr. Dre for the correction. Could we possibly ask for a greater authority? Who then is to blame for the flattening of the songs in Dreamgirls?

3:09 AM, February 26, 2007

 
Anonymous Dr Dre said...

That would be the mastering engineer(s) on the original recordings - but, to be fair to them, perhaps on the insistence of the client, as is usual these days.

4:24 PM, February 27, 2007

 
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