Oscars Death Race: Week in Review

Inspired by Tomato Nation and my own inner stupid overachieving pop culture glutton, I’m once again attempting to see all this year’s Oscar-nominated films before the ceremony. Here’s how it’s going so far.

I’ve been slacking, both on seeing movies and writing about them. At this point, I will certainly fail. But why would I let that stop me?

Restrepo: After the whole GasLand thing, this was kind of filmic relief. Restrepo owns up to its biases, and doesn’t reach too hard to get its messages across. There are some really effective battle scenes, but most telling are the one-on-one interviews with the soldiers themselves. They could have made a whole movie based on Hijar’s face alone.

Salt: There are better action movies. The whole feminist angle — Jolie’s character was written as a man — entertained me for awhile; at one point she tells a little girl how much she hates math, which made me laugh out loud. But mostly, it’s just silly. If it were on tv and I had nothing better to do, I still probably would not watch it.

Toy Story 3: Everyone told me how much I was going to love this movie, and … I kind of didn’t? I mean, it was cute and all, but I definitely didn’t weep openly at the end like several people told me I would. Forced to choose between this and How to Train Your Dragon, I go dragons every time.

Black Swan: In a nutshell, OMG. This one got to me. I was right there in the middle of Portman’s crazy for just about all of this movie, so much so that I seriously wondered if I was okay to drive home from the theater. I was prepared to sneer and be all “whatevs” about this one, but instead I just kept jumping and kicking the chair of the poor guy in front of me every couple scenes. Aronofsky gets a bit too indulgent at times — did I need several minutes of nonsensical strobe-lit club dancing? no — but overall: yes. Just yes.

127 Hours: No. Just no. Franco does a great job with what he’s given, but I started looking forward to the end while the movie was still at the very beginning. It’s not so much a story as an experience, a really awful experience, drawn out for the length of a feature film. And the whole “what I learned” message feels forced. (Am I the only one who half-expected J. Walter Weatherman to jump out at the end, saying “And that’s why you always leave a note”?)

Death Race Tally: 21 seen, 35 to go.
Remaining films:

Another Year
Barney’s Version
Blue Valentine
The Confession
Country Strong
The Crush
Day & Night
God of Love
The Gruffalo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I
The Illusionist
In A Better World
Inside Job
Killing In The Name
Let’s Pollute
The Lost Thing
Madagascar, a Journey Diary
Na Wewe
Outside The Law
Poster Girl
Rabbit Hole
The Social Network
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Tempest
The Warriors of Qiugang
Waste Land
The Way Back
Winter’s Bone
Wish 143


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