Thursday, January 16, 2014

Globes and Oscar and Cinema 2013

Last year I did it. Settling into a seat, watching lots of trailers, I saw every one of the Oscar Best Picture nods and most of the Actors, leading and supporting.  This year I (we) have made a start.

American Hostle

American Hustle was our first. Tons of nominations and deserved.  Perfect 1978 set and costumes, great writing, unpredictable twists (unless you remember Abscam) and the dream ensemble cast that David O. Russell seems to enthrall, including an un-credited list of actors as long as your... well longer! ... that included Robert De Niro. Must see.

Bruce Dern and June Squibb
The next day we went to "must see more."  Nebraska came highly recommended by a movie buff friend which made me leery.  Black and white, small town story.  I was thinking quirky and maybe a bit of what we call "poverty porn."  But, oh my, no.  This was the movie of the year for me. Plain folk, being plain, and sweet and funny but so subtly.  If anyone deserves best actor, it's Bruce Dern and the writer and director that made this character perfect.  It so easily could have gone pathetic.  Crazy old guy that gets the "You have won one-million dollars..." letter.  Of course the fine print be damned, he was determined to walk to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim his prize. Avoiding any pathos, or cliché, this movie takes you on a journey through small town America and small town family life with gentle humor and love.  Nothing saccharine.  The acting, cinematography and music vanished into the reality of Nebraska so well that it was nothing short of brilliant.  I would love to see June Squibb win an Oscar.  The Golden Globes seemed to miss the brilliance of this film. I expect even less of the Oscars.  Dern might have a chance though because of the voters.  He is "an actor's actor" and that body-of-work thing might kick in.  I think he deserves without any of that.

August: Osage County (Margo Martindale, right) 
The next day it was August: Osage County.  Poor timing.  The antithesis of Nebraska this we acting to beat the band.  Too gritty. Too present. Too obvious.  Streep was Streep. Roberts was trying to keep up. Kyle's comment was "I liked it the first time.  When it was called Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff?" The unsung actor of the film, the only one believable and the only one deserving an award was Margo Martindale.  She acted circles around Julia Roberts who got a nod from the Academy.  Not even  a wink for Martindale.  Another dysfunctional family story where the family has no one to blame but themselves.  Actorial masturbation. Who cares?

Her:  Phoenix meets OS1
Tonight it was Her, where Joaquim Phoenix falls in love with his computer OS.  Nice concept. Explored some interesting areas.  But too long.  Not enough material for a 2+ hour movie.  Joaquim was fine as well as the ubiquitous Amy Adams.  Best Picture? Nope.  Surprising it got a slot.

Quite few more important films to see by so far Nebraska is way ahead of the pack.

Monday, January 6, 2014

UT Becomes CA 2012

Utah has become California as it was before the Supreme Court allowed lower court rulings that Prop 8 was unconstitutional to stand.  Now Utah has three classes of citizens, Lesbian and Gay folks who are legally married in Utah, Lesbian and Gay people who cannot get married in Utah and the other citizens of Utah who can legally marry someone of the opposite sex.

Those gay and lesbian residents of Utah who were poised to get married the minute the opportunity was available, are married.  Those who might have seen the dream of  proposing and planning the wedding of their dreams, inviting family and friends to celebrate their joy have had the rug pulled.

It's a Jim Crow like position we find ourselves in as Gay Americans in 2014. We live in and travel to and through states where our marriages might or might not be recognized.

This decision, while disappointing, is not surprising.  The Supreme Court's decision on Prop 8 was not based on the merits, but of the standing of those that appealed.  The State of California refused to appeal the overturn of Prop 8 recognizing that it was unconstitutional. The State of Utah is appealing.

This may be the case in which the idea that people can deny marriage as a right is decided.  Let us hope and pray that the Court will act boldly to to be on the correct side of history.  If one were to ask me I would say I am an American before I would say a New Yorker.  Marriage equality must be an American right.