And the 2016 Oscar Goes to…

Oscar night is like the Super Bowl in my house. Well, ok, the Super Bowl is like the Super Bowl, but the Oscars are a big deal for us, too. And just like a couple years ago, Tall Guy and I were able to watch every Best Picture nominee in preparation for the Oscars this year! For once, I was actually interested in seeing every movie on the list, which made the experience a little more fun than some other years, when it felt more like a chore.

If you haven’t been able to watch them all, hopefully my recaps will help get you through tonight!

In order of appearance…

Mad Max: Fury Road

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We actually saw this in theaters, much to my dismay. This was one I didn’t really have any desire to see, but Tall Guy was REALLY looking forward to it. So there we were, in the theater, me with zero idea what was going on and Tall Guy totally loving it. I have, of course, never seen any of the Mad Max movies, so Tall Guy actually leaned over and apologized a few minutes in because there was very little backstory given and I was, clearly, completely lost. In the end, I enjoyed the movie a bit, and definitely think it was beautifully shot. It also wins for best action sequences, in my opinion.

My rating: ***
Tall Guy’s rating:****

The Revenant

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Tall Guy was pretty excited about this movie. I didn’t quite share the same feelings, but was interested in seeing it nonetheless. It was pretty good, one of the stronger ones out of the Best Picture nominee lineup, but something missing that I just can’t quite put my finger on. Leo was seriously great (fingers crossed for that Best Actor win!), as were the supporting actors. The cinematography was probably the best in the group, as well. But it was long… Or I should say, it felt long. Not quite what you want out of your Best Picture winner. The director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, directed last year’s Best Picture winner, Birdman, so it’ll be interesting to see if he gets the win again this year.

My rating:****
Tall Guy’s rating:*****

The Martian

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I was a little leery about Matt Damon as an astronaut again (after his role in Interstellar a few years ago), but he killed it. The film managed to stay entertaining despite the fact that it’s basically 1 guy by himself for the majority of it. The plot was interesting, the action was exciting and it was also really funny. Definitely one of the stronger films on the list.

My rating:****
Tall Guy’s rating:***1/2

Spotlight

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I was pretty disappointed in this film. The trailer made it look really good, but the movie fell flat. It seemed like it was trying a little too hard. The story was interesting on its own, but the film just didn’t grab me at all. There was very little character development, so any drama surrounding how the story affected their lives got lost. Instead the story just kind of plodded along, with a lackluster payoff.

My rating:**
Tall Guy’s rating:**

Room

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The strongest film all around. It was hard to watch in the sense that the story is so depressing. Even though it has a “happy” ending, I was left feeling very down. But that’s not to say the movie itself wasn’t great- the plot drew me in and kept my attention throughout, something other films in this category weren’t able to do as well, if at all. The story moved at a good pace, and was exciting even though the summary gave away a major plot point. This might not win, but it definitely deserves to.

My rating:*****
Tall Guy’s rating:***1/2

The Big Short

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I fell asleep watching this movie. Twice. I liked it, though, I swear! It was actually pretty interesting, and gave a good look into the 2007 stock market crash. I loved how it was told in a unique way, with the characters occasionally breaking the fourth wall and little breaks with real pop culture footage from the time. And apparently Christian Bale, whose character in the film had a glass eye, didn’t use a prosthetic, but can actually move (or in this case, not move) one eye independently of the other. If that doesn’t win you an Oscar, I don’t know what does.

My rating:***
Tall Guy’s rating:****

Brooklyn

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I was surprised to see what I thought was a romantic comedy in the Best Picture nominee lineup. Telling the story of an Eilis (pronounced Ay – lish), an Irish immigrant in Brooklyn, NY, it’s more than just a romantic comedy. The story held my interest throughout, and the acting was great. It moved a little quickly in the beginning, so I had very little vested interest in the family Eilis left back in Ireland, which came back to haunt things towards the end of the film. While it was a good date movie, I don’t see it as the winner this year, but I did enjoy it nonetheless.

My rating:***
Tall Guy’s rating:***

Bridge of Spies

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Tall Guy couldn’t sit through it, which made it hard for me to get through it as well. The ending was good, but it took way too long to get there and was very predictable. I can see why the majority of Oscar voters (cough cough white men over 60) would like it, though.

My rating:**
Tall Guy’s rating: “Pointless talking for 2 1/2 hours for an obvious ending. Would have been better on the History Channel as a documentary.”

My Picks
Dark horse: Room
Runner up: The Martian
If it was up to me: Room

Tall Guy’s Picks
Dark horse: Room
Runner up: The Big Short
If it was up to me: The Revenant

And our Oscar goes to… The Revenant

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And the Oscar Goes to…

Tall Guy and I made it a point to see every film that’s an Oscar nominee for Best Picture. (Apparently he does this every year. He is a crazy movie geek… I maybe am jealous that I’ve never done this before… Don’t tell him I said that.)

On the off chance you haven’t seen all of them, here’s my spark notes review of each one that you’ll hopefully find helpful come March 2nd. Ratings are done on a 5 star scale.

In order of appearance…

Gravity

I was under the impression that this entire film was about Sandra Bullock being trapped alone in space.. So I went into it wondering how, exactly, they filled an hour and a half with that story line and was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did the movie have substance, but it kept a pretty good pace, too. The CGI looked real, save for one scene in the very beginning where the spaceship looked like a piece of paper floating across the screen (this might have been a product of the contrast, brightness, angle and size of my TV, though), so I imagine it will at least win that category. I love Sandra Bullock and Clooney, and the two of them worked very well off of one another. Tall Guy was unimpressed with Clooney’s performance, saying it was a typical Clooney role and he would like to see him play something different, but I kind of like the way the performance was so comfortable for Clooney. It made it feel almost familiar, in a good way. (Does that make sense?) Definitely see this movie if you have the chance.

My rating: ****
Tall Guy’s rating: *** ½

The Wolf of Wall Street

I wanted to like this movie. With Scorsese directing and Leo starring, I REALLY wanted to like this movie. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t there for me. No, I wasn’t shocked and awed and disgusted at the antics that DiCaprio’s character engaged in on a daily basis (“hookers and blow,” as Tall Guy likes to sum it up), I was actually kind of bored with them. Once you get over the initial “this guy is disgustingly rich and pretty much does whatever, and whoever, he wants,” there’s not much left to the film. The movie kind of just dragged on and on and was the same thing (read: hookers and blow) for its entirety. Jonah Hill’s character was pretty funny, and there were definitely comedic moments here and there, but nothing about this film really impressed me.

My rating: ***
Tall guy’s rating: ****

American Hustle

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Another movie I really wanted to like. OK, I did like most of it. It started off really strong and definitely drew me into the character’s lives quickly, but then got a little lost in itself in the middle. (Side note: I was also really tired when I watched it, so that probably didn’t help.) I really like all of the starring actors, and, aside from Amy Adam’s on-again/off-again accent, which Tall Guy REALLY got annoyed with, they didn’t disappoint. I thought the ending was pretty strong, as well, and really liked how it all wrapped up. I won’t elaborate any more than that for fear of spoilers…

My rating: ***
Tall Guy’s rating: ***

12 Years A Slave

I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this film. Yes, I was sure it wouldn’t disappoint in terms of story, but I was really dreading watching something super depressing. I ended up really liking it, though! Sure, some scenes were hard to watch, but I was prepared for it to be way worse, sadness wise, so all’s well than ends well, really. The story was portrayed in an artsy way, but not too artsy that it became hard to follow and the acting was superb. Definitely deserving of its Oscar nod.

My rating: ****
Tall Guy’s rating: ***

Philomena

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This was a really upsetting film. I wasn’t super prepared for it to be SO sad, so that was difficult, but it wasn’t at all hard to get through. Judy Dench is great in anything, and her portrayal of Philomena did not disappoint. I didn’t realize there would be a birthing scene, either, so that was unfortunate since I reallllllly hate watching birthing scenes. Seriously- I had to close my eyes. I’m sure there’s some deep-rooted issue as to why I can’t/refuse to watch birthing scenes of any kind that I’ll have to work out with a therapist some day…

My rating: ***
Tall Guy’s rating: ***½

Dallas Buyers Club

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I feel kind of weird saying that I love something that’s centered around a rather morbid subject like people dying of AIDS, but this was a really strong film. The acting was AMAZING. Seriously. I’ll be mad if Matthew and Jared don’t both win their own statues… On top of the acting, the story was really solid, flowed well and kept me interested through and through. And Jennifer Garner was the icing on the cake (I LOVE her).

My rating: ****
Tall Guy’s rating: **** “Acting was flawless”

Nebraska

Oof. It had its moments, but was pretty painful overall.

My rating: **
Tall Guy’s rating: **½

Captain Phillips

Definitely the movie that held my attention the most out of this group. The action started maybe five minutes in and was constant throughout the entirety of the film. I generally like Tom Hanks in the roles he plays, but this one might be my favorite. The story (based on real events) was compelling and complex, and the supporting cast was great, making this, in my opinion, the most well-rounded movie of all the nominees this year.

My rating: *****
Tall Guy’s rating: ****

Her

“The future: where no one wears belts.” – Tall Guy

Better than I thought it was going to be, albeit I was picturing more of a comedy than the depressing film it actually is. I don’t even really know what to say about it.. Pretty blah. Could have been clever given the fact that the main female lead is never actually seen on camera, but the love story was pretty typical, making ScarJo’s character your typical female lead, standard relationship complaints and all.

My rating: **
Tall Guy’s rating: **

My Picks

Dark horse: Philomena
Runner up: 12 Years a Slave
If it was up to me: Captain Phillips

Tall Guy’s Picks

Dark horse: Philomena
Runner up: The Wolf of Wall Street
If it was up to me: Dallas Buyers Club

And the Oscar goes to… Dallas Buyers Club

Grim Grinning Ghosts of My Childhood

When I was little, my favorite video was Disney Sing Along Songs (yes, we’re talking old-school VHS tape, people). I loved it so much that I would cry when the final song, When You Wish Upon a Star, came on, and make my parents rewind it so I could immediately watch it over again.

Not too long ago, my roommate and I got to talking about that video and realized it was a staple in both of our childhoods. So, naturally, we had to see if we could find it on the internet. Low and behold, Youtube had the video in its entirety. (I could have SWORN it went on for hours when I was younger, but it’s actually only about half an hour.. Ah, childhood memories.)

There was one song in the collection that I didn’t love, however. And it wasn’t just that the song wasn’t exactly my cup of tea- It downright terrified me. In fact, I thought it was SO scary that I would make my parents fast forward through it because watching it gave me nightmares. Seriously, this song was legit.

If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, let me give you a little background. The tape is chock full of different (sing along) songs and you watch as an unbelievably lucky group of kids run around Disneyland singing said songs and getting into trouble with the Disney characters. I’m not still bitter that I wasn’t part of this group, I swear…

The song that gave me nightmares is called Grim Grinning Ghosts and features all of the Disney villains that we know and love in the CREEPIEST setting ever – at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

Tell me that isn’t the creepiest video you’ve ever seen! Ok, at least admit that 4 year old you would have been a little freaked out by it…

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! x