The Academy Award Nomination And The Baseball Hall Of Fame Vote Are Much More Fun To Talk About
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There are two types of movies that come out in early January. First are genre flix that are counter-programming in its truest form. And second are movies that weren’t quite good enough to be released during the holiday season. Sure, there will always be a mix of foreign films and art house fare that would defy these two categories, but those films are released almost arbitrarily throughout the year as XYZ art house theater in NYC or LA or Chicago needs something new. In other words, the art house fare doesn’t count. There is actually a third hollywood category on weekends like this, the films that were in limited release in December to qualify for awards that “go wide” this weekend. So here is my problem, what is there to say about any of these except to tell you in which category they fall? And the problem with that is it is really obvious which category each new flick fits into.
Here, I’ll show you what I mean:
Category 1 (genre flix/counter-programming)
A Haunted House (Interest Level 4) – The latest “spoof” movie that looks painfully dumb but we should all know by now that we should never underestimate the potential success of a parody starring one of the Wayans. They all do much better than you realize.
Category 2 (weren’t quite good enough to be released during the Holidays)
Gangster Squad (Interest Leve 6) – A classic example of a movie that has a lot of elements that should make me at least a little bit excited (great cast, a director with a solid history, etc.) but much of that excitement goes away based on the release date. If Ryan Gossling or Emma Stone are great in this Gangster Squad gets at least a limited release in December so they have a shot at a Golden Globe at the very least (the Golden Globes are notorious for nominating good looking actors just so they will show up on their red carpet). Instead it comes out January 11th. This is Lawless 2.0, another period gangster flick with a strong cast and pedigree relegated to an obscure weekend because the studio knew it was at best good not great.
Category 3 (going wide after an award eligible early release)
Zero Dark Thirty (Interest Level 8) – More and more people are saying it is long and boring. I still want to see it, but I’m just sayin’ the word on the street isn’t as glowing as it seemed three weeks ago (and Katherine Bigelow not getting a directing nod says a lot too).
Quartet (Interest Level 4) – Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut had award buzz a year ago before anyone saw it, at least as a vehicle for Maggie Smith or Michael Gambon to getting some acting notices. Now it is relegated here as inoffensive little movie about a concert at a retirement home for professional musicians.
And that’s it. Well except for the festival darlings that studios are clearing out before The Sundance Film Festival next week so they have room to grab the best of the films coming from Utah…
Fairhaven (Interest Level 0) – A Chris Messina/Sarah Paulson diddy about a guy returning home to Massachusetts for his father’s funeral. He runs into a bunch of old friends and has some kind of eye opening experience (as people are want to do whenever they return home for a funeral or reunion).
Struck By Lightning (Interest Level 0) – Glee fans no doubt will be thrilled to see their favorite (I think Kurt is the favorite, isn’t he?) whatever-the-glee-clubs-name-is star have his own movie. This is the story of a dead kid who had been blackmailing his fellow high school students into providing material for his literary magazine. It’s supposed to be a dark comedy.
The direct to VOD/DVD action movies we all love so much…
The Baytown Outlaws (Interest Level 4) – Who cares what the plot is, it is a bad action movie starring Billy Bob Thorton and Eva Longoria. What more do you need to know?
A random documentary…
$ellebrity (Interest Level 4) – Did you see what they did with the title? Pretty clever. If you ever wanted to know the not so secret way the paparazzi and publicists and tabloid stars work their respective magic this is the doc for you. It’s actually supposed to be good and surprisingly clever, so when it is playing on IFC in a year or less I’ll likely check it out.
And a few foreign films…
The Tower (Interest Level 6) – Think a modern day The Towering Inferno in Korean.
Matru ki Bijlee Mandola (Interest Level 0) – A Bollywood hit that is some kind of complex love triangle coupled with a father’s plans for his children. I’m sure it is terrific for what it is, just what it is holds no interest for me.
Storage 24 (Interest Level 6) – A SciFi thriller mixed with horror elements about a group of people who get trapped in a storage facility with a very unwelcome guest from England looks pretty good and may be worth a chance.
Now, that is really it.
Can you see my dilemma now? Why write about those movies when I could write 2,000 words about why Sam Jackson should have received a Best Supporting Actor nod and why the two 12 year old leads of Moonrise Kingdom (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) should definitely have received Best Actor and Best Actress consideration and how it is insane to me that Moonrise Kingdom isn’t a part of the Best Picture discussion or that Wes Anderson didn’t get noticed in the director category and how we were always told that expanding the Best Picture category up to as many as 10 nominations would end the problem the Academy has always had with nominating popular movies (in that they used to never nominate popular movies) and yet you still past on any of the years big hits (really, you couldn’t throw The Dark Knight Rises in there just to show you are aware of what movie fans actually like?). Or I could have written 5,000 words on the self righteous insanity of the BBWA in refusing to vote anyone into the Hall of Fame this week as a part of the most immature protest in recent memory and another example of how the baseball writers and the Hall of Fame are hurting and holding back baseball more than they are helping it build a future (part of the 5,000 words would be a diatribe about how PED’s were the best thing to happen to baseball). Instead I am stuck writing about the director of Zombieland making a cross between The Untouchables and LA Confidential and not coming close to reaching the level of either… oh well, such is life. I suppose since I write this thing just for the fun of it I have no one to blame, not that there is really any blame to go around anyway.
But hey, what do I know? I’m fat.