The really good movies are here! Let’s get ready to rumble…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, b-rollers – awards season! I know it’s freaking endless, but have I mentioned I’m a fan? This is the week things really got rolling, with some initial awards – not the “let’s get drunk on television”-type awards (though we’re only 6-ish weeks away from the Ricky Gervais-hosted Golden Globes, folks!), but the critics’ choice awards designed to establish front-runners and tell us what the hell we should see before the season wraps up in August late February.

A caveat to that last point, though: I recently started reading a biography of Pauline Kael, the legendary film critic (I know, only I would be nerd enough to find this interesting), and I’ve gotten two key things from it: 1) I am pale with envy at her intellectual dexterity and incredible writing ability, and 2) One should always trust his or her own opinion when watching a film. Ironic that lesson should come from a critic, but there you go. It’s an important thing to remember this time of year, when every movie is supposed to be life-altering, and how did you not “get” it, you moron? Case in point: When the New York Film Critics Circle chose its winners earlier this week, it selected Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams as the year’s best documentary. I didn’t get to see as many docs as I wanted to this year – among others, I’m waiting for The Interrupters, Senna, Project Nim and Being Elmo to arrive on Netflix – but I can definitively say that I liked several docs a lot more than Cave of Forgotten Dreams. I’d heard that it was a 3D film that made extraordinary use of the technology; I left thinking that if I had to watch one more tracking shot of those horse drawings, I was going to break my 3D glasses over Werner Herzog’s head. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me what I’m missing here, but if the explanation is as long as the final montage, let’s not and say we did.

So, all of this is a long way of saying that let’s just watch these movies and judge for ourselves, shall we? We can agree to disagree when we must, because we all have valuable opinions – and we can all share them on the internet, with heavy doses of sarcasm, just as God intended. Let’s reconvene here and do so.

I’ll start with my thoughts on this week’s awards news:

  • My current “haven’t yet, but must see” awards-season list (and yes, I am in some cases basing my decisions on critics’ favorites): Hugo (just won the National Board of Review top prize today), The Artist (bumped up from “that looks interesting” to “can’t wait” based on stellar reviews/early awards), My Week with Marilyn (for Michelle Williams), Shame (ditto Michael Fassbender), The Descendents (George Clooney, that is all), Margin Call (timely, and doing really well with the indie awards/nominations). I’m sure some others will pop up as well.
  • Speaking of the National Board of Review, notable on their top 10 list was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (loved the Swedish version, cautiously optimistic) and the final Harry Potter, which was, in my opinion, a great film and the best of the series. I think it’s a worthy inclusion, but one that will surely surprise/irritate a lot of people. Also, I’m a huge Potter fan, so, context. They also included The Ides of March (which I thought was very meh – sorry, George) and excluded Moneyball, which I liked, but not necessarily in an “Oscars, here we come!” kinda way. Still, I probably would’ve flipped the two.
  • Also seeming to fall off the radar with minimal nominations/awards this week: The Help and Martha Marcy May Marlene. I liked both, but they seem to be losing momentum; here’s hoping they don’t completely stall.
  • I have not seen Tree of Life. I heard that you either love it or hate it, and if you hate it, it’s because you were bored silly. Since I have the attention span of a hummingbird – at one point last night, I watched TV while simultaneously on my laptop and iPhone – this didn’t bode well for me, so I skipped it. That may have been a mistake, but it is what it is. What the hell is this craziness about a dinosaur?
  • Much as I love The Muppets – and to reiterate, blog post upcoming, I swear to Kermit – I don’t see the movie getting recognition beyond original songs, though I know many Muppet fans are campaigning hard for more. That being said, this year the Oscars will be broadcast on (Disney-owned) ABC, so there is no way in hell we aren’t getting a consolation appearance of the entire Muppet gang singing “Life’s a Happy Song,” “Rainbow Connection” or a Glee-style mash-up of the two. Mark it down.

Thoughts? What have you seen/are dying to see? Think the Muppets have a shot? Talk to me, b-rollers.


  1. The acting 4 this year may comprise Streep for a Phyllida Lloyd movie, Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs and two men. Already, I die. McTeer is tornadic, rips up the stage, that is the only word I have, and that was a Phyllida Lloyd play. If it’s them PLUS Rickman, I will, like, die. Indeed if it’s a Meryl-Glenn Close Oscars, we are SOOOOO having a watch party.

    Movies were kerrap this year but if it ends up Streep-McTeer that sets it all right.

  2. Just saw The Descendants. George has my vote for Best Actor. He was just sensational as was the setting, Hawaii!! Loved it, go see it.

  3. Saw “The Help”. Thought is was overrated at the time (but the actresses were terrific) so not upset it’s falling off. Just hope they remember the actresses.

  4. I think the actresses are the best part of “The Help,” though I liked the movie overall (I loved the book, so I was inclined to like it). I hope they don’t forget Viola Davis, who was magnificent. I’m excited for Descendents, curious about Albert Nobbs. Don’t think Rickman has a shot, though HP8 was Snape’s finest hour.

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