Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oscar Snubs and the Importance of Awards Season

Yeah, yeah, yeeeeah, I'm still talking about nominations. Early last Thursday morning, golden tickets to Hollywood's biggest night were handed out, andas it goes every yeara flurry of opinions are being pelted around the internet regarding blasphemous snubs and undeserved nominations. This video by Nick Bosworth from JoBlo does an A+ job in covering what was passed over for a chance at Oscar Gold:
From what I've seen and heard (especially on the comments section of this video), two general opinions have formed regarding this year's Academy Awards:
  1. It needs to allow for more nominations in each category (This year it's 9 nominations for Best Picture and 5 nominations for all other categories).
  2. It holds no importance whatsoever and we should not even waste our time talking about it.
After some intense soul-searching over a turkey sandwich this afternoon, I'm leaning toward the first point of view.  If we were to completely disregard award shows, what would happen?  Sure, we'd put ourselves above the disagreements that can arise over movie opinions or Oscar ballots, but that's the fun of it! I don't ever want to lose the consolidative sport-like aspect of awards season!

I read once that people love following professional sports because it's something bigger than themselvessomething beyond their control. Fans don't invest in a game with the intention of personally influencing the score; they're doing it to be a part of something: to put a personal stake in an enormous occasion and watch with white knuckles as it unfolds. Movie-lovers should be treating the Oscars like THAT instead of trying to exert control by undermining their significance.

So, while I agree that there were some shocking snubs and mind-boggling nominations this year (Alan Arkin?!) I'm learning to take the nominations for what they are. Just as a diehard football fan would still attend a Super Bowl party despite his or her home team not playing in it, I will most definitely sit down with friends and family to watch one of the greatest events on televisionno matter who or what was snubbed. Let the games begin! Let's make the Dolby Theater our arena, y'all.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Playing It....SAFE!

I've been on a magazine binge these last few weeks, and... 
Elle! Vogue! Marie Claire! The combo is back with a vengeance, it seems. While I don't find it to be the most exciting of styles, it's a great staple to have in your closet. I just can't imagine a wardrobe made up of only these colors, though. Lookin' like a referee all day, every day? Flag! This ref calls foul due to a violation of fashion-funtimes.
And the kick is gooooooooooooood!
Blazer: Marshall's. Similar style.
Top: Urban Outfitters. Similar Style (without beads).
Leggings: Forever 21. Similar Style.
Shoes: Ruche! Get 'em here.
You know what else is good? 
Having a brother named Joseph who is willing to take pictures of his sister in cold weather. Here's the ol' scallywag. He made this face for the entirety of our little photoshoot. I think it might actually be stuck like this forever:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

Before I let these feelings fly outta my fingers, I have to share the unusual circumstances in which I saw this movie. I headed on over to the theater around 10:30 (on a SCHOOL NIGHT! I lead a wildly daring life) and there were only four or five people in the theater with me. I looked around during the pre-movie bombardment of television ads, and surprisingly, I saw that we all came alone. It sounds terribly depressing, but it was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. We all felt free to belly laugh or audibly react when the film got intense, and we did so together. The weird sense of camaraderie escalated to the point where I thought we'd huddle up with a pen and paper and write a letter, Breakfast Club-style. It would be full of movie praises and compliments regarding the theater's cleanliness instead of sassy statements directed toward a vice-principal, of course, but I think it'd still make for a good read. Long story short: Take two hours for yourself and see a movie on a weeknight! It's a splendid time.

OKAY. The movie. Let's talk.
Silver Linings Playbook
It's about a man named Pat Solitano, (Bradley Cooper) who has just finished a stint in a Philadelphia mental institution. He's adamant on mending his relationship with his estranged wife, but after he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), an in-your-face widow who recently went through some personal problems of her own, things get a little complicated in the romance department.

Bradley Cooper was f a n t a s t i c.  Before Silver Linings Playbook I had only seen him in The Hangover, so his vulnerable, ulfaltering performance was all the more surprising. Due to his character's recently diagnosed bipolar disorder and tendency to "snap" in high-stress situations, his moods had to be all over the place, and Cooper played every mental state with enough heart and authenticity to send me careening off on an emotional tilt-a-whirl. What I really loved was how he made his mood swings and incredibly blunt social behavior seem understandable and even endearing, despite the possibility of them simply being the result of chemical imbalances in his brain.

And Jennifer Lawrence! Heavens to Betsy! She is everything anyone's ever cracked her up to be. At only 22 years old, I'm convinced she could play Betty White in a biopic and somehow make it great. Tiffany, like Pat, is a little socially unorthodox, but Lawrence also finds a way to make her boldness and outbursts seem rational.  I was driving home from the movie and belting out to Miley Cyrus's See You Again (just s-s-succumb to that beat, you guys) when a car pulled up next to me at a stoplight. I looked over and had an internal argument with myself in the span of 3 milliseconds: Oh God those are boys in that car. I should stop dancing. Stop it, Kati--hey wait, what would Tiffany do in this situation? She'd keep dancing! Then I did a final head thrash, turned up the volume, and drove off, leaving those boys in the trail of dust and flames my minivan left behind. What I'm trying to say is, Tiffany's "I'mma do whatever the heck I want" attitude really stuck with me, and I send out a big virtual hug to Jennifer Lawrence for playing her with such confidence and ingenuity.

I know Academy Award nominations just came out this morning (STILL CRYING ABOUT LEONARDO'S SNUB), but can we just ask Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone to make an addendum and tack on a Best Supporting Ensemble category? Because the talented ladies and gents that played the tertiary characters in Silver Linings Playbook are so, so deserving of recognition. They were my favorite part of the movie, actually. 

First you have Jacki Weaver, who plays Pat's loving, clucking, adorable mother, and I just wanted to squeeze her and watch football with her and gobble up all of her delicious "braciole, crabby snacks, and homemades." Whatever those are. And then there's Robert De Niro(!) who was in top form as Pat's dad: a bookmaker with slight OCD tendencies, who expresses his love in peculiar but well-intentioned ways. "I only talk about football because I love you and want us to have a common interest! I'm going to bet my entire life savings on this football game just because I LOVE you!" He was wonderful. And my goodness, the actors who played Pat's friends often stole the show. I hadn't seen Chris Tucker (Danny) or John Ortiz (Ronnie) before, and I can't wait to see more of them! They brought such understated humor and lightness to a movie that touched upon some heavy subjects.

And now to put a cork in my gushing: there were some aspects of the film I wasn't crazy about. Like how it was brought to a close. Up until the last 15 minutes, I was amazed at how fresh of a romantic comedy it was.  The dialogue and the direction of that dialogue was consistently impressive while still being subtle, and the actions of the main characters were never predictable. But then, after the Little Miss Sunshine-like "climax" of the movie--which I found difficult to be emotionally invested in--David O. Russell seemed to just abandon all the realistic aspects of the plot and turn it into a straight-up clone of the endings found in any number of the forgetful love stories Hollywood churns out each year. Even more aggravating was how Pat and Tiffany seemed to lose their "crazy" by the end! Poof! All chemical imbalances can be cured by the clarity of love, apparently. The messier sides of mental illnesses that were well-addressed earlier in the film are pushed aside to make room for a happy ending, which knocked me off of my movie-watchin' cloud and brought me back to reality before the credits rolled. Oooooooh well. I'd still recommend seeing this, even if just for the performances, skillful directing, and soundtrack. Gotta find those silver linings, you know?