Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - SPOILER

After it was nominated for 13 Oscars, my hubby and I thought that we had better see Benjamin Button. husband wanted to see it when it opened, but I was dragging my the very least, I knew it would end badly.

As Daisy Williams lies dying in a New Orleans hospital on the day hurricane Katrina is about to hit, she asks her daughter, Caroline to read to her from Benjamin Button's diary. The Epic fantasy love story begins with Benjamin being born as New Orleans celebrates the end of World War I. Distraught by his wife dying shortly after the birth of their son and horrified by the sight of the baby, the father (owner of the button factory) leaves his son on the steps of a retirement home. Queenie, a loving black woman who runs the home, takes Benjamin in.

A doctor is called in to look at the child and Queenie is told that he will die soon. He was born with the health conditions and skin of someone in their eighties. Benjamin fits right in with the old people that he lives with. And they seem to forget that he is just a child. One day, a little girl (the young Daisy) comes to visit her grandmother. She is able to see through his exterior and knows that he is a child like her. And thus begins the romance that is doomed from the beginning.

Just like the rest of us, time marches on for Benjamin Buttons...even though it marches in reverse. Growing up in a retirement home, Benjamin got to see death close up and chooses to experience life to the fullest. But he understands more than anyone the challenges that will face him as he grows younger. Even he cannot cheat death.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button totally dispells the rumour that youth is wasted on the young.

This 2 hour and 45 minute movie was based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. That should give you an inkling of the pace of this movie.

The cinematography of the movie was wonderful. Shot after shot was stunning and could be hung on your living room wall as art. Watching it, you just felt you were seeing something Oscar worthy. But as many movies are, it was shot with that dark look that just added to the melacholy mood. And just about the time that you were about to start slitting your wrists, it would flash back to Mr. Daws, a retirement home resident that had been struck by lightning 7 times. Fortunately, for all of us watching the movie, he had been filmed each time he was struck by lightning and each one was quite humorous.

Two and a half hours into the movie, I was reminded of a Seinfeld episode where Elaine goes to see The English Patient and she is shouting, "die, die already". I never shouted for him to die and I'm glad I saw it, but please don't make me see it again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar Nominations - Where's the Fun

It’s that time of year again…the Oscar nominations are out. Is it just me or do the Oscar noms get more depressing and more obsure every year. Okay, I have at least heard of all of the best picture nominations this year, but where’s the fun?

It seems that the films that are released in Havey Weinstein’s living room get more attention than movies that make 200 million. I know they make the blockbusters so that they can make their small “important” films, but please. I used to like the Oscars when I could really pull for a film. Most of the time my film was way too commercial to win. But at least it was nominated and there was always the chance that a couple of the artsy films could knock each other out and my film could reign victorious.

In recent years, I’ve found myself pulling against films, rather than for one. I go to an Oscar party every year and the year I won our prediction contest, I was predicting the films I didn’t want to win.

The Oscars have thrown the fun seekers a bone by now having the Best Animated film of the year. “Bolt”, “Kung Fu Panda” and “Wall-E”, those are some films I can pull for. But I’m afraid that soon Death & Grief R Us Productions will realize that happy films are snagging oscars and they will start whipping out politically dark animations.

I can’t tell you who walked away with the Oscars last year, but I can tell you Katherine Heigle looked great in a one shoulder red dress, and I loved Jessica Alba’s hair. Amy Adams was stunning and looked like Rita Hayworth at her best and Tilda Swinton wore a…sack.

Because most of the nominated films no longer inspire me, I’ll just have to get used to watching the Oscars for what it’s become for a lot of Americans…a fashion show.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Synopsis: Korean War vet Walt Kowalski tries to help his neighbor, a young Hmong teenager, become a man.

GRAN TORINO is definitely not a chic flick, but one of my favorite films of the year.

Clint Eastwood plays recently widowed Korean War vet, Walt Kowalski. A curmudgeon that seems to be a boat adrift without his wife to be his ballast. He spends his time with his cooler full of beer and his white lab out on his front porch pelting passer-bys with his racial epitaphs and threats.

He doesn’t seem happy that his old Detroit neighborhood has been taken over by Asians…but he probably wouldn’t be happy if the neighborhood was full of other old Polish-Americans like himself. It’s not just his Hmong neighbors that feel the wrath of his racial slurs, he and his bar buddies slam each other with equal venom.

His spunky teenaged next door neighbor Sue, is able to put a slight crack in his cranky armor. When her cousin tries to draft her little brother, Thao, into his gang, Walt is pulled into the battle. And even though his character is the antithesis of Politically Correct, he is a man of conviction and you can understand why his generation is known as the greatest generation.

At 78, Eastwood is still able to pull off the quintessential tough guy. His performance is as cool and vintage as that 1972 Gran Torino that is his character’s prized possession.

The movie will make you cry, but give you lots to talk about. Highly recommend!

BEST LINE from the movie: “Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while that you shouldn’t have messed with? That’s me.” (It’s the very type of line that you would imagine an aging Dirty Harry would deliver.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Words of Wisdom

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Thomas Edison