Oscar baby

Thanks to various situations where I was stuck in an airplane, hotel room, or at the end of a sold-out movie ticket line, I seen four of the worst movies in recent memory. Mr. 3000, Shark Tale, Fat Albert, and Taxi were good representitives of all the complaints people have about stupid movies with a dumb premise that use every hackneyed plot point you’ve seen a hundred times before. Taxi was so bad I tried twice and couldn’t watch more than ten minutes of it. Pure dreck.

To balance out the cosmic karma, I’ve gone on a quest to see every movie that is up for a major academy award this year (a first for me). I’ve looked to the golden globes and early predictions to get up to speed, but after a long weekend binge, I’ve tackled the following:

Ray
I didn’t think Jamie Foxx had it in him, but he was great, though the story glossed over quite a bit and was fairly straightforward. I’m a longtime fan of Ray Charles (and have the boxsets to prove it) so I liked this film, though wouldn’t classify it as top five for the year.

Spanglish
Adam Sandler does a good job but the best work came from the girl playing Cristina. There were several amazing emotional scenes, but a few so-so other scenes kept this film from being really something.

Finding Neverland
Johnny Depp, as always, did well, and it was a nice little story but nothing to write home about. I don’t know why it’s on anyone’s list as a possible best picture, there was nothing wrong with it, but it just didn’t transcend the “good film” level to greatness.

Million Dollar Baby
Great stuff, and I could see this film rightfully landing in the Best Picture category.

Friday Night Lights
I don’t even like football but I loved this movie. It’s hard to place it against all other films that came out in 2004 (a sports performance isn’t always the best way to demonstrate good acting) but it was definitely the best football film I’ve seen.

Aviator
Meh. I don’t see what all the fuss is about this film, is it all because Scorsese directed it? Sure it looks good, but the story bored me to tears. It glossed over all the records Hughes broke and his innovations while zooming in on how freaky-deaky he could be. I take back what I said about Finding Neverland — that movie should be in best picture lists and not this one.

My goal for the next couple weeks are to catch these films:
– Sideways
– Closer
– Hotel Rwanda
– Kinsey
– Lemony Snickets

I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to meet the Oscars goal early.

update: I’m plucking titles out of the second list and posting short reviews in the first list as I see them.