Friday, February 26, 2010

Oscar Watch Review: The Blind Side

THE BLIND SIDEImage by CityTalk via Flickr
Film: The Blind Side
Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress

The Blind Side is one of those films that people just can't help but rave about. It's the touching true-life story of Michael Oher's rise from the projects to the NFL thanks to the loving efforts of his adopted wealthy white Christian family, and everyone you talk to either loved it, really liked it, or is dying to see it.

There's no real reason why this shouldn't be the case. The film is expertly written, well-crafted, flows effortlessly, and pulls all of the predetermined heart strings in the proper order. And while no movie based on actual events is ever one hundred percent accurate, there don't appear to be any overly judicious edits or white-washing of the story like A Beautiful Mind; elements and details have been tweaked for dramatic (or comic) effect, but no one is coming out to challenge the story or its merits. This is just your average true-life Horatio Alger Rags-to-Riches story, delivering the heart-warming message that anyone is capable of achieving their dreams.

So why does it leave a bad taste in my mouth?

There's nothing bogus or unbelievable about the story; the Tuohy family did indeed take Oher in as one of their own (presumably because people with hard to read last names need to stick together), looking beyond the barriers of race. The fact alone that this actually happened should make me feel all warm and fuzzy about how far we've come in this country as far as race relations go. But after awhile, it feels like the whole racial element of the story has been sort of glossed over or, excuse the pun, white-washed. (On second thought, don't excuse that pun. I don't need your sympathy).

I know, I know; the Tuohy's overlooked race, why can't I? But no matter how much I try, it still nags at me. While the film does take a couple of brief trips to the projects where Michael came from to provide a little contrast, the rest of time is spent following a specific pattern. Racial prejudices or tensions are brought up briefly in solitary conditions, laughed off or comedic effect, then quickly stowed away again so we can get back to main task of watching this big lovable oaf blunder around winning our hearts while Sandra Bullock barges into every scene doing her best Erin Brockavich impression. The latter isn't surprising considering Julia Roberts was originally approached for the roll, but it also isn't what I would call a breathtaking Oscar-worthy performance.

This approach towards racial differences isn't just casual, it feels almost dismissive. Yes, it is brought up, but always in single moments with solitary characters seeming almost out of place in their reactions. Take the scene at Michael first football game. Are we really supposed to accept that not only is there just one racist spectator at a southern private school sporting event, but that the best insult he can come up with is "Black Bear"? I'm not suggesting that outraged bigots should have rushed the field for an impromptu lynching (is there any other kind?), but one extreme seems just as unlikely as the other. And don't forget the Tuohy's private conversation at the beginning of the scene, "Have you ever seen so many rednecks in one place?" This decidedly self-conscious attempt to separate this charitable and colorblind family from the rest of society is the film's way of almost admitting how unrealistic this race-free zone eventually becomes.

Maybe it would have been easier to take if the filmmakers had just pretended there was no such thing as racism. Then it would have been easy to become immersed in the multitude of heart-warming scenes involving this loving family taking this young disadvantaged child under the wings and showing him how to fly. But it just can't help but set up little laugh-at-racism tension breakers every ten or fifteen minutes, whether its a drunk uncle calling to ask if they know there's a "colored boy" on their Christmas cards, or Leigh Tuohy shaming her  "unenlightened" sister for asking if she's nervous about Michael being accessible to her teenage daughter. If racial equality is such a non-issue, why keep bringing it up for comic relief?

But does the film really need to delve into such murky waters when all it is trying to do is entertain and inspire? Well, no. But then again, race is why this became such a popular story in the first place. Plenty of black football players have escaped the ghetto, and there are plenty of upper-class white families with sons in the NFL. The novelty of a rich white family adopting a black teenager and lending him the family structure he needed to excel far enough in his studies to even be eligible for a football scholarship, is what makes it a story worth making a major motion picture about. You can't tell a story that is a testament to overcoming prejudice while being almost completely dismissive about the reasons why it is a testament and not the norm. It would be like making a film about teenage pregnancy that avoids the subject of sex; well-intentioned, but missing the point.

Of course, raising questions like these threatens to land you smack in the middle of a classic Catch-22 scenario. One group of people complains that the film is yet another racist example of rich white people thinking that they are the only ones who can solve the problems of lower-income minorities. Another group responds by claiming these reverse-racist accusations are what white people get for actually doing something right for a change. Then another group describes the film as an elitist-liberal-democrat wet-dream, which prompts another group to identify it as a one-in-a-million story used as a shield to hide the white guilt of rich pseudo-conservatives. Everyone's either being too sensitive or not sensitive enough. If you think I'm exaggerating all of this, just do some Google searches and see what pops up.

So maybe that's why the simplicity of The Blind Side's story leaves me feeling a little uneasy. Because if the reactions from all of these groups (none of whom I think I want to personally identify with) are any indication, the racial implications and ramifications aren't as simple and easy to overlook as the film might want you to think, no matter how true-to-life its true-life-fairy-tale origins may be. And while simplistic might be the perfect recipe for a well-received feel-good hit of the year, it isn't exactly what I would call a top priority for a Best Picture nomination.
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Oscar Watch Review: An Education

Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus in  Spider-Man...Image via Wikipedia
FilmAn Education
Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress, Adapted Screenplay

The Oscars just wouldn't feel right if there wasn't at least one obnoxious period-piece British romance to pander to the tastes of the more "sophisticated" members of the Academy. Surprisingly, even with the number of Best Picture nominees bloated to an inexcusable Ten this year, there's only one real qualifier among the chosen. Even more unusual, it takes place in a different decade instead of a different century. For the Academy's consideration: An Education.

An Education follows the delightfully un-torrid affair of sixteen-year-old Jenny, a witty and intelligent daughter of a stuffy middle-class family with a bright scholastic future waiting for her at Oxford. All of that takes a backseat the moment she gets a ride from an older man who introduces her to an extravagant lifestyle and seeks to steal her away from her parents, school, and oh-so-bright future.

All of this is way to obviously good to be true, so the minute these two meet the entire film becomes a rather drawn-out exercise in waiting for the other shoe to drop. Cinematic tours of sixties-era England and France punctuate countless scenes that are drearily low on charm and sexual tension, two things you would expect a storyline like this to stock up on. By the time the big reveal of David's horrible secret (which is almost as dull and underwhelming as his previously revealed "secrets"), all you can do is wonder how long they're going to take to wrap up Jenny's end of the story.

It doesn't take long, and that's probably one of the most frustrating things about the film. This is a story about a young teenage girl who is seduced by an older man, lured away from her home, sexually propositioned, pulled out of her scholastic career, and left to pull the pieces back together after the whole thing falls apart. Not only does she manage to do so, but she does it with such a minimum amount of time and effort wasted that by the time the credits role there appear to have been no consequences whatsoever. Coming-of-age stories usually involve major life-changes, positive or negative, that alter not only the evolving character's world view, but their present and future as well. By the time An Education neatly wraps itself up, the only thing that seems to have changed in Jenny's life is her answer to the "Are you a virgin" question. Middle-school crushes end more dramatically and devastatingly than this. Being lied to by a man trying to get in your pants isn't an education, it's a undeniable fact of life.

It doesn't help that the characters in the film don't sell you on any of it. Jenny is played up as such a smart, intelligent, and resourceful young woman, it's hard to feel sorry for her when she willfully ignores glaring reality after glaring reality just so she can go to concerts and feel grown-up running of to Paris. It seems more important for the deceitful David to be boyishly charming that his cons feel more like childish pranks than criminal deceptions; sort of like Mamet's House of Games starring the Little Rascals. And let's not forget Jenny's proper English father, the strict disciplinarian with far-reaching plans for his daughter's future, who switches from "Oxford or Death" to "Drop Out and Marry the Older Man" so fast it almost gives you whiplash.

None of this blame deserves to be heaped on the performers. Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard and Alfred Molina all turn in wonderful performances, and they can't be blamed for the fact that the shallow characters they play change emotions and perceptions not when they should, but when it is convenient for the script. All of these actors manage to make you feel more for these characters more than they should, and almost make their illogical actions seem human. This is especially true for Molina as Jenny's Father, a character that makes the split personality of Doctor Octopus seem like a rational internal debate.

Most credit An Education to being based on the memoirs of Lynn Barber, when the truth is more along the lines that both the Nick Hornby screenplay and Barber's memoirs are based on a previously published article by Barber, which almost reads like a synopsis for the film. This leaves us with another overly-dry and forcibly-witty Hornby screenplay based on a memoir expanded from an article whose autobiographical validity has been questioned by some critics, and which broaches the topic of the seduction and deflowering of a young girl with the cool distance of a self-aggrandizing socialite (The sex was lousy and it was all daddy's fault). To this end, you can't really begrudge Hornby his Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, as he did remain faithful to the source material. But when it comes to Best Picture, you have to ask yourself if the source material was worth all of that effort in the first place.
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James Cameron's AVATAR = Satanic Pandering to the Illuminati!

If there's one thing I enjoy more than bashing Avatar, that's religious conspiracy theories. Now, much like the proverbial bar of chocolate and jar of peanut butter (isn't it sad that advertising is our generation's Aesop?), these two great tastes are now better together!

Join J.R. Church and his guest as they discuss the religious implications of Avatar, how James Cameron has twisted the teachings of the bible (yep, add God to the list of authors ripped off by Cameron), attempting to make us believe that possessed demons are good and man, the Son of God, is inherently evil.

Is Avatar to the Illuminati what Battlefield Earth was to Scientology? Will the novelizations of the film tie-in with the Left Behind series? Is James Cameron the Anti-Christ? Watch the videos below, get informed, and stop letting those heathens in Hollywood pull the wool over your eyes!

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Oscar Watch Review: Avatar

FernGully: The Last RainforestImage via Wikipedia
Film: Avatar
Nominations: Art direction, Cinematography, Directing, Film editing, Original score, Best picture, Sound editing, Sound mixing, Visual effects

In our goal to give somewhat fair (we're not going to pretend to be completely unbiased here) and fully-informed coverage of the Academy Awards this March, Joey and I are determined to not only view every film up for a major award, but to review them as well.

With this in mind, it would seem a bit unfair not to mention Avatar with the others as we review them. However, our opinions have been broadcast quite clear; we have talked about the film in ad nauseum on the MovieSucktastic Podcast, and have covered it in numerous blog posts.

So, just consider this a quick recap:

Avatar is, without a doubt, the most popular film of the year, and most likely one of the most popular films of the decade. A mega-budget sci-fi fantasy space epic that takes place on a completely CGI-rendered alien planet, Avatar is filled with some of the most impressive displays of computer animation and 3D film-making to date. It is truly a stunning visual spectacle to behold.

It is also a film that features a shallow, thin, and decidedly unoriginal plot. Pointed out by many critics to be nothing more than a literal copy of Dances with WolvesPocahontas, and even Ferngully (which has seen a rocketing increase in sales and rentals due to the unfavorable comparisons), Avatar has received so much deserved criticism regarding the screenplay that director James Cameron has had to come out and publicly respond to accusations of blatant plagiarism. It is an overly simplistic plot that is more suitable for its cartoon feature predecessors, and barely manages to hold together the overly-long 162 minutes special effects extravaganza, especially considering that the PG-13 film was geared towards children and family audiences.

Avatar deserves most of its Oscar nominations. The sound, score, direction, editing and visual effects are all noteworthy for what they achieved. But primarily, all of this is driven by a film's story, the vehicle that drives everything that takes place on screen. As a whole, the excellence of what takes place on the screen in Avatar is weakened and diminished by the inadequate and generally lazy screenplay. The fact that this shallow spectacle has actually garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Picture is nothing more than an insult to all of the other films, past and present, that bothered to lend as much attention to the craft of the storytelling as they did for the visual effects utilized to enhance it.

The truly sad part of it is, Avatar might not have gotten its Best Picture nomination if the Academy hadn't bloated the size of the category to ten nominations The previously sufficient five slots wouldn't have left them enough room to also nominate District 9, so they wouldn't look like complete idiots for passing over a film that managed impressive special effects and a great screenplay (which it has also been nominated for, by the way) at a fraction of Avatar's ridiculous budget.

It is also my theory that the only reason they didn't try to nominate Avatar for screenplay isn't because it was a weak script, but because it would be hard to rationalize whether it belonged in the Original or Adapted category.

There, I think I'm done now.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oscar Watch Review: In The Loop

Promotional poster for In the Loop parodying t...Image via Wikipedia

Film: In the Loop
Nomination: Best Adapted Screenplay

A while ago, I surprised a lot of people by expressing my lack of enthusiasm for the film Superbad. My reason perplexed them even more, as it was the incessant vulgar language, which comes out of the gate at top speed in the opening scene. While being far from easily offended type, and not adverse from using my own collection of colorful language, I couldn't really find the humor of these teenagers cursing up a storm while raiding a convenience store for snacks. It just felt forced, and despite some actually humorous scenes scattered throughout the rest of the film, I couldn't get past the feeling that the film's main motivation was to shock the audience with a cacophany of cursing.

Why do I bring this up? Because In the Loop contains enough foul language to make Betty White blush, enough inventive insults to put Don Rickles to shame, and enough F-Bombs to start a war of its own.

It is fucking brilliant.

Of course, there is so much more to In the Loop than the language. This spin-off of the popular British television show The Thick of It is a political satire involving the behind-the-scenes events taking place during the run-up to the Iraq War, and the mid-level government officials in both England and America scrambling to either jump-start the war or stop it dead in its tracks. This might sound like a topic for a serious made-for-TV mini-series, but the approach that writer/director Armando Iannucci and his co-writers successfully finds the dry and abrasive humor in the origins of a war that both nations are still mired in today.

Many critics and reviewers have chosen to compare In the Loop to Dr. Strangelove, no doubt because both are political satires with a strong anti-war message (and both featured British comedic talents), but this comparison tends to ignore the vast difference between the nearly surreal slapstick comedy of Strangelove and the exceedingly dry and uncomfortably abusive humor of Loop. With this in mind, Loop would be far better described as an Anti-West Wing crossed with The Office, on crack and with Tourette Syndrome.

Did I mention the abusive language? Much like Kevin Spacey in Swimming With Sharks or Jeremy Piven in Entourage, most of the cast of In the Loop bulldoze through their scenes verbally assaulting anything that gets in their way, while the remaining dazed and startled characters do their best to get out of the way. But unlike Superbad, here the language is not only justified, but an integral part of the atmosphere. The dog-eat-dog nature of these behind the scenes power plays and struggles are so brutal and bare-knuckled, you keep waiting, even hoping, for someone to snap and throw a punch. These profane diatribes and stinging insults are the weapons of choice for this battlefield leading up to the real battlefield, and fit right into the hectic, paranoid and franticly paced atmosphere these characters work in on a daily basis.

This might be a bit oppressive for some viewers, especially when considering that there are few if any characters worth rooting for. Armando Iannucci has a talent for presenting characters multifaceted enough to prevent them from filling the traditional roles of Heroes and Villains. Initially meek and soft-spoken characters (in comparison to others, at least) such as those played by Tom Hollander and Chris Addison are charming and likable at first, but they eventually show weaknesses and flaws that prevent you from fully feeling any real sympathy for them, while even Peter Capaldi's complete and utter bastard Malcolm Tucker (one of only two returning characters from The Thick of It) is given a moment or two of undeniable humanity. There are a couple of points in the film in which you will be unsure of who to root for, and other's still when the side you chose might shock or even shame you a little. No clear lines are really drawn here, even when it comes to where the humor stops and the serious issues begin.

It is this kind of complexity that makes In the Loop a strong contender for Best Adapted Screenplay, despite having more foul language than a double feature of Scarface and Reservoir Dogs. But you don't have to take my word for it. IFC has made the screenplay available for free download. Read it and judge for yourself.      

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

This Valentine's Day, Give the Gift of Penis

Or, to be more precise, give the gift of MovieSucktastic Episode #11, the Valentine's Day Special. The focus of this episode? Full frontal male nudity in film.

In their last episode, Joey and Scott spent a fair amount of time discussing the lengthy nude wrestling scene between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates in the Ken Russel film Women in Love. As much as they tried to put it behind them, this flagrant display of thespian penises left a taste in their mouths that they simply couldn't ignore. The idea of full frontal male nudity in films kept growing in their minds, until it was far too hard to keep down. Finally, the decision was made: A Penis Episode must be recorded.

Here it is, just in time for Valentine's Day, an episode sure to fully satisfy the hopeless romantic residing deep inside you. In this special Valentine Day Penis Episode, Joey and Scott take a long, hard look at the films in which they have been exposed to male genitalia in their cinematic past, stretching from the recent viewing of Women in Love all the way back to their first traumatic childhood glimpses of nude actors in film.

So, join the proudly erect co-hosts of MovieSucktastic as they pay homage to the male actor's package this Valentine's Day. Download it from iTunes, Podcast Alley or, and give it to that special someone who makes you throb whenever they are near. They will thank you in the end.

Have a Penis Film that you think was unfairly overlooked? Share your soreness with Joey and Scott at, and they'll do what they can to stroke your ego during the next podcast.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bad Movie Alert: MacGruber

MacGruber is not only a completely convoluted and unsuccessful parody of MacGyver, it is based on a commercial. And not even a very popular commercial at that. Wonderful.

Honestly, I think I'd rather see a film based on the exploits of the Free Credit Report band.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Episode #10 - Naked Men, Looker Labs and Avatar Apologists

The newest episode of the MovieSucktastic Podcast is up, just in time for all of those movie-lovers snowed in across the East Coast. This time around, on top of our normal Top Ten review and Finger List nominations, Joey and Scott give their in-depth reviews of the latest round of movie challenges.

Joey's challenge to Scott this episode: the 1969 Ken Russel adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love, one of the first mainstream films to ever feature full frontal male nudity, as well as the first film to win a Best Actress Academy Award for a role featuring a nude scene. That's right, you get to see Glenda Jackson's boobies. Unfortunately (for Scott, at least), Oliver Reed and Alan Bates get much more nude screen time.

Scott's challenge to Joey: The eighties science fiction thriller Looker, written and directed by Michael Crichton nearly a decade before Jurassic Park made everyone forget about this film and Runaway. A scathing indictment of advertising, plastic surgery, and the notion that a sexy model can also be smart, Looker also features a former Partridge Family member in the buff. That's right, you get to see Susan Day's boobies. Fortunately (for Joey, at least), Albert Finney does not strip down for the cameras as well.

On top of all of this retro naked fun, Joey and Scott take a look back at their previous review of Avatar and decide on a new position regarding the film's quality, based mostly on the rabid defense it has received from its almost cult-like fan base. Let's just say they're a little less forgiving this time around.

Check it out on iTunes, Podcast Alley or, and then write to them at and let them know what you think. You've heard from them, now let them hear from you!
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Look Behind You! Scary Mirrors Montage.

Some film genres are defined more by their cliches than they are their achievements. While this might be a bit unfair, it can be pretty funny, especially when the cliche in question is so predominantly embraced by the filmmakers despite its vast overuse.

Next to the Trip-While-Running-Through-The-Woods gag, one of the most popular scare tactics for horror films has been the sudden appearance of someone or something in the mirror behind someone. In celebration of this well-worn gimmick, the darker forces pervading the atmosphere over at FourFour have created this entertaining montage of scary mirror scenes.

Watch it with the lights off. And if see a reflection in the monitor of someone behind you while you are watching, don't worry. It's just me.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Bad Blu-ray Releases for February 9

Running Man (1987) - Most likely the second-worst Stephen King film adaptation ever (with
Cover of Cover of The Phantom
Lawnmower Man (1992) stealing the trophy), nothing begs for a high-definition Blu-ray release more than a Predator (1987) reunion featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger running around in a skin-tight body suit with professional Cuban sidekick Maria Conchita Alonso at his side (kicking, presumably), throwing around cheesy one-liners so bad they make Commando look like a David Mamet production. Rob Cohen's textbook example of what kind of film you get when you burn through director's like soiled tissues.

The Phantom - Billy Zane, Treat Williams and Catherine Zeta-Jones team up in what was for years
considered by many to be the worst comic adaptation ever, until Frank Miller's complete and utter desecration of Will Eisner's The Spirit made everybody forget about Billy and his tight blue costume.

Hard Rain - One of the later films in Christian Slater's "How to Destroy a Promising Career" tour, this Die-Hard-In-An-Abandoned-Town-During-A-Major-Flood was originally titled The Flood, but received a quick name change when test audiences complained that it gave away the ending. Yet another glowing example of how Morgan Freeman's career can survive any kind of natural disaster.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Is this really the Best Picture? Past and Present Oscar Winners.

Growing up, I would always make sure to tune into the Oscars every year. No matter how late it would go I'd watch it. As I became older, I started to get a bit jaded with the whole thing. Don't get me wrong, I still tuned in. But my appetite for it has waned over the years. The Academy has this knack for awarding mediocrity like no other.

For example, take the 63rd Academy Awards for 1990. Say what you will, Dances With Wolves was NOT the best picture that year. Was it a bad film? Absolutely not. But the winner that year should have been Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, a cinematic masterpiece that was completely overlooked. Dances was your typical historical epic, and we all know how much Hollywood loves epics. Maybe if Goodfellas was named "Wiseguy" after the book it might have been a better contender, but they chose not to stick with it because of the well known TV show of the same name. It was also Costner’s directorial debut. Hollywood loves stuff like that. Scoresese loses, we all move on.

I thought the same thing at the 67th Academy Awards for 1994, when Forrest Gump won. While the special effects were groundbreaking at the time, they are completely dated today. The special effects are one of the biggest reasons it won. It was innovative, revolutionary and had done something we had never seen before. Unfortunately, it just doesn't hold up today. It does have a solid plot and is a good film, but we all know that Pulp Fiction was the clear cut winner that year. Quentin Tarantino lost to a gimmick, an undeniable fact in hindsight.

In 1997, when the 69th Academy Awards were underway, you could just smell that The English Patient was going to win. It had everything the Academy looks for; it was a period piece, it had top notch actors and amazing set design, and the costumes had the authentic look and feel of the time period. Unfortunately, it was also boring as shit. The film that should have won that year was without a doubt Fargo. It was funny, dramatic, touching and sad. It also had a wood chipper scene that probably cost it the Oscar. Should it have won? Yes. Did it? Of course not.

One of my favorite films is one that got snubbed badly in the 71st Academy Awards for 1998. That film was Saving Private Ryan. The very passable Shakespeare In Love won the Best Picture that year. Ryan had everything a Best Picture should have; plot, acting, drama, and directing (which Spielberg won for). Shakespeare in Love was a period piece, which in itself seems enough to garner a nomination. It also was one of the most average films to be nominated that year. Dame Judy Dench also won for Best Supporting Actress for what I believe was only 7 minutes of screen time. Everyone else nominated that in that category that year had every right to be angry. I know I would have been if I were up for Best Supporting Actress.

The 74th and 75th Academy Awards can almost be forgiven for giving the Best Picture award to A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Chicago (2002). It's a well know fact that the Academy was NOT going to Give the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy a very deserved Best Picture for three straight years. Instead they gave it to the two best runner ups those years and heavily awarded The Return Of The King in 2003. As much as it would have been deserved, Hollywood probably would have been shunned for it. I don't agree, but I understand.

This brings me to this year, and the 82nd Academy Awards for 2009. Never have I seen so many uninspiring movies nominated for best picture by the books. This is not to say that there were not a few surprises in there, namely UP and District 9. But for the most part, it is a very unimpressive year. This brings me back to the Academy rewarding mediocrity, which brings us back to this year’s probable winner, Avatar.

Avatar is not necessarily a bad film, but it sure as hell isn't Best Picture material. Now I won't sit here and tell you you're wrong for loving this film (I have Scott for that). What I will say is that it is an average film at best, with a weak plot that barely supports the hefty runtime and generous serving of 3-D CGI. When it comes time to vote, I really hope that the Academy is smarter than it has been in the past. There are so many better films to consider. Hopefully they don't fall into the hype of how it's the "Most Popular" or made the "Most Money" or "Best 3-D". We're talking about Best Picture here, people! If Avatar is the best we can come up with for Best Picture than we are truly in trouble. Tarantino, whose “ Inglourious Basterds” was a far better film, will be snubbed yet again, and by yet another big-budget film with an expensive and over-produced gimmick.

Here's my prediction, and I REALLY hope I’m wrong. I think the Academy will award Tarantino with Best Director so they can feel justified for giving Avatar Best Picture. This is something that has happened in the past and hopefully will not happen this year. All of the things that Avatar does well are nothing more than what the technical awards should handle. Then again, I think it would be damn funny if District 9 were to win Best Special Effects. It would be nice if innovation and skill won out over mega-budget extravaganzas for a change. I was more impressed with D9's effects than I was at Avatar's overgrown Smurfs, and it only cost $30 million in comparison to Avatar’s bloated $400+ million dollar budget. Also, why is Avatar nominated for Best Cinematography? Where is logic behind that? Were they filming on location in Pandora instead of in front of a green screen? I think not.

Will this years awards be as dried out and lackluster as I’m thinking? We'll find out March 7th, 2010. Let's hope I'm pleasantly surprised.

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