THOUGH I WAS PREPARED FOR a long show, by the time it actually ends it always seems so much longer. Not that I am complaining about it since I know when you have people talking off script it is hard to peg an actual ending time. Personally I prefer the winners to come prepared with their acceptance speeches. The reason I say this is because there have been so many times where a winner gets up in front of the audience and can only sputter out sporadic words of thanks. Of course I am all for an off the cuff remark or something fun; but walking up and pretending you are totally in shock (especially if you are one of the odds on favorites) and not having anything written down makes me suspicious. Oh wait, maybe that is supposed to be ACTING!
COMPARED TO PAST SHOWS THIS one was not one of my favorites, though nowhere near the one Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted one year. Overall Jimmy Kimmel did a decent job; not a laugh out loud type stint at hosting, but he had some good segments. I actually thought he was a bit restrained. Where the Jet Ski joke was fun (don’t you love Helen Mirren?!) I thought going over to visit the movie patrons next door was a waste of time. It is funny my first thought when the lights turned on and they stopped the feature film was I would have been so upset if I was in the audience and they stopped the movie in the middle. The whole stint was similar to last year’s joke that went a bit sour when it was discovered one of the tourists had recently gotten out of prison.
ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FOR me was hearing all the nominated songs being performed by their original artists. I enjoyed the staging especially for Remember Me from Coco and This is Me from The Greatest Showman. Another high point for me was Frances McDormand’s acceptance speech. Granted I wish we lived in a world where we did not have to classify or label a person’s gender or race to their profession, but I totally understand why it needs to be done presently. Maybe it is just me but I do not focus on whether a woman or man wrote the screenplay; I just want it to be a well written script. However if a person is being discriminated because of their race, religion, gender or gender identity; then I would have a problem with it. I noticed many of the celebrities were wearing a particular pin on their clothing. Showing your solidarity with a cause is admirable and I do not want to downplay the action. The question I have is are they just wearing the pin to wear it; did they pay for it and the money is earmarked for a good cause or are they actively trying to cause change in a broken system? You know how much I love the movies but like sports figures, I think something is askew when people who act are given huge amounts of money while many school teachers are being forced to foot the bill to supply their class with fundamental utensils for education.
OVERALL I WAS SATISFIED WITH the voting results. There really were no surprises per se. My only wish is I would like the better made movies to be spread throughout the year, instead of the film studios holding what they believe will become Oscar nominated pictures towards the end of the year. The other thing I would like to have is more quality made movies; this year had more than the usual amount of films that got a low star rating from me. But enough of that; let me end on a happier note. How many of you absolutely loved the introduction of Rita Moreno, who wore the exact same dress she wore when she won her Oscar for West Side Story? That took place over 55 years ago! Now one more comment; I thought it was an excellent idea to bring back Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty to get a 2nd chance to name the correct picture. Now that they are done don’t bring them back.
WELL THAT IS ALL I have to say about the show. Another year closes into the record books. I have gathered up my reviews from the past year and put them in a time capsule that looks suspiciously like a box that once held a humidifier inside of it, hung up my Oscar predictions on the corkboard, recycled my plastic water bottle and watered my poor neglected plants before I checked on what movies would be opening this weekend. In case I have to see three films in a row I better get on the treadmill to prepare myself. Everyone thank you for following me the past year; I hope I was able to save you from spending money on the poorly made films and let you become surprised on some new discoveries. A happy and healthy year of movie watching I wish for each and every one of you. Thank you.
LIFE as you know it can burst apart in a seismic moment when you are introduced to your new baby sister or brother. If you are the first born it probably is a bigger adjustment than it would be for those born after you. When you are the only one, you benefit from your parents devoting their attention solely on you. With multiple children in the family the parents may feel as if they are spending equal time with each child; but the perception from the child’s point of view may be totally different. It stands to reason before that baby arrived the only child was the sole focus; now 2 siblings will vie for the attention of Mom and Dad. It does not stand to reason that the scope of your parents’ attention will double with each new child coming into the household. If that was not enough then there is the whole issue about birth order and the characteristics associated with it; such as the middle child gets the least attention and the youngest of the siblings gets spoiled. THE thing that stuns me the most about families with more than one child is how these early, shall we say, landmines can lead to the deterioration of family ties. I recently was talking with someone who expressed they do not talk to their brother. When I asked what they meant, they told me they have not had any communication with their sibling for years. Personally I cannot understand how siblings could dissolve to a level where it was preferable to end all communication between each other. One has to wonder where the parents and their involvement in the upbringing of these children were during the siblings’ formative years. The answers may be found in this animated family comedy. THERE was something different about the baby, voiced by Alec Baldwin (The Departed, 30 Rock-TV), who came into the life of Tim, voiced by Miles Christopher Bakshi (Shrek franchise). For starters the baby was dressed up in a suit. This movie was geared towards the older siblings of a family. I felt part of the humor and sight gags were pointed more to the 6-10 year olds; however, a good portion of the script had the parents in mind, with the type of jokes and references on display. I am not sure if younger children will have as much fun watching this film. Alec was perfect in the role, though Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs, Fargo) as Francis Francis, TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel as Dad and Lisa Kudrow (Easy A, The Comeback-TV) as Mom held their own. What I enjoyed about this movie besides the humor was its retro look; the visuals reminded me of some of the cartoon shows I used to watch when I was a kid. Underneath all of this I thought the writers did a wonderful job in introducing the lesson of the story. Maybe parents will see the lesson to learn early on, but for children it came across in an imaginative way. Pitting this against other recent animated films, this one may not have all the bells and whistles; however, as the baby of the family I refrain from making such comparisons. There was a brief extra scene in the middle of the credits and another extra scene at the end.
2 3/4 stars
PACKING up my homemade treats, looking over my predictions with the list of winners, using eyes that were strained and tired from staring at the television screen for hours; I was ready to go to bed. Another year is now in the record books for a lot of reasons. Of course the biggest surprise was the mixup for the last category, best picture. Reading and hearing about the different theories on the how and why it happened did not provide me with answers to a couple of simple questions. Assuming Warren Beatty has all of his mental faculties, I just do not understand why he did not say he had the wrong card. It was obvious to me he was flustered, looking back to the side stage and around; he did not know what to do. Of all things then why would he throw Faye Dunaway under the bus. He could have whispered in her ear to see if she agreed, but since the surveys said La La Land was going to win, Faye possibly saw that on the card first instead of Emma Stone’s name when he showed her. The two of them knew they were giving out the best picture award, wouldn’t seeing Emma Stone’s name on the card be the first clue something was wrong and it would be perfectly okay to say so? This is just my opinion.
THE opening was refreshing to me. Since host Jimmy Kimmel is not a song and dance type of comedian like Billy Crystal, I liked the way Justin Timberlake sang his Oscar nominated song which loosened up the audience. Because of this, I felt the crowd gave off less of “aren’t we great, idolize us” vibe and more of an earthiness if you will. In fact, I thought Jimmy did a wonderful job in being down to earth. He avoided the mean spiritedness that some jokes could have taken on while he kept things moving on. The candy drop and the busload of tourists were my favorite segments, though the Matt Damon feud thing was more outrageous on the big stage. My favorite part was when Jimmy was conducting the orchestra to drown out Matt during his presentation.
MAYBE it is me but I thought the speeches were shorter this year and surprisingly were more personal when politics was brought into them. My favorite speeches of the night came from Viola Davis and the reading of writer and director Asghar Farhadi’s acceptance speech. Viola was so passionate and sincere, I loved how she talked about actors taking on the lives for those who no longer can speak. I laughed at Jimmy’s comment that she would be nominated for an Emmy with her speech. As for Asghar’s speech, I had just seen his winning film The Salesman the afternoon prior to the show and appreciated his thoughtfulness and heartfelt words. Gael Garcia Bernal was one of the presenters that touched the perfect balance of personal without the hate. Speaking of presenters I felt Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae were lovely while on stage as they brought out Katherine G. Johnson, the NASA mathematician that Taraji portrayed on screen. It was such a touching moment.
EVEN with the long telecast, as I reclined across my sofa my desire to be a seat filler was just as strong today as it has been all the past years. Just once I want to be part of the red carpet pre show activities, the ceremony and just be able to walk around and soak up the whole atmosphere of the event. With that said it has been a year of ups and downs with movies. I feel I saw more poorly done films than wonderful ones; but I would not trade a minute of it since I still love the whole movie watching experience and the ability to write down my thoughts to share with you. So tomorrow we will start all over for the new Oscar year in search of that 4 star picture. I look forward to another year talking and commenting on the movies with you. Thank you for all of your support, I deeply appreciate it.