People always ask me, “Hey Josh, what movie do you think will win the Academy Award for Best Picture this year? Who do you put your money on?” To which I usually reply, “Sure, it’s 4:47.” Because once people start talking about the Oscars, my brain shuts down and I start thinking about interesting things, like wondering if I could handle the cinnamon challenge.
But this year, you’re in luck! I happened to have seen all 9 movies up for best Picture and am perfectly willing to do a quick synopsis of each, followed by my, set-in-stone, pick for the winner. So pick out your finest overalls and dust off your fanciest Tevas, because tonight we hit the red carpet on our way to see…
1. War Horse
War Horse is a tragic tale of loss, redemption and murder. Starring Vincent Price, Charles Bronson and Paula Poundstone as the titular War Horse, this movie takes place during the Trojan war, when large armies fought epic battles all for the sake of holding the tv remote. This five-hour long movie shows the journey Paula Poundstone takes from being a forest of living, healthy trees, to a giant, hollow, wooden horse occupied by soldiers who use her to enter the city of Troy and give everybody wet willies.
My favorite aspect of this movie is that it feels timeless and like an instant classic due to the fact that they didn’t use as CGI effects. Director Werner Hertzog believes in realism and practical effects and that shines through in this delightful picture. If you haven’t yet, go see this movie. It’ll change your life.
2. The Artist
The Artist is quite an interesting movie, if only for it’s bold approach to its subject matter. Staring a watermelon and three grapes, The Artist tells the story of fruit, long abandoned by the people who purchased them, who are forced to come to terms with that abandonment. Shot in real time, this movie is innovative as it shows the three-week process of fruit rotting. It’s powerful and will tug at your heartstrings, whatever heartstrings are, I’m not a cardiologist.
3. Midnight in Paris
The first thing you need to know about Midnight in Paris is that it takes place in Bakersfield, CA. Often mistaken for the pornographic movie One Night in Paris’ Herpes-Riddled Vaj, Midnight in Paris is actually the thrilling story of a man and a woman and their struggle to finish the Friday version of the New York Times crossword puzzle. Ned Flanders and Cher struggle to finish the puzzle while juggling the responsibilities of cleaning the floors of movie theaters. If you’re in the mood for a taut thriller with superb acting, in Korean with British subtitles, then this movie is right up your alley!
Moneyball is a documentary about Lance Armstrong’s battle and triumph over testicular cancer, and his subsequent sex-change operation to join an all-female wrestling league. The pacing is great and the story is brimming with good humor and much pathos. This is by far the best animated documentary I’ve seen this year and I can’t speak highly enough about it. Moneyball is sure to warm the cockles of even the grinchiest heart.
5. The Descendants
The Descendants is this year’s only sci-fi entry. Starring Diablo Cody and Spuds MacKenzie, and directed by George Takei, The Descendants flies us up into outer space where our heroes must do battle against the forces of evil, in the form of intergalactic postal workers. The special effects and make up are great, all the way down to Diablo’s double space labias. I highly recommend watching this movie after drinking seven cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
6. The Tree of Life
I’ve seen The Tree of Life four times and I have absolutely no idea what it’s about. Something about dinosaurs, trees and life. Also, I think I saw a hippo and a giraffe copulating in the background in one scene.
7. The Help
The Help is a foreign movie, straight from China and director Robert Rodriguez. It’s not often that martial arts movies become Best Picture contenders. In fact, I believe the last one was in the early 70s, the Dolomite sequel The Human Tornado. Unfortunately, it lost to Somebody to Shove, a movie about love and punching people in throats.
The Help, is about Bruce, a drug-addicted ping pong paddle, who fights his way through the Toronto underground, to get back the woman he loves, played by MC Skat Cat. The fighting scenes are very well choreographed and the action is non-stop! So be sure to snort at least two grams of cocaine while watching this to feel fully immersed in the action.
Hugo is the coming-of-age story, starring George Burns as Hugo. Hugo is a young boy sent off to Christian Bible Camp one summer by his nephew, as a cruel joke. Throughout the movie Hugo has to learn important bible skills during the day and secret study the Torah at night, because he’s Jewish and Australian. Oh, did forget to mention that? Because it’s vital to the plot. Also, he has two left arms and he’s a robot with laser-vision.
I really liked this movie because I could totally relate to Hugo. He had all the problems I had when I was his age, Jewish and Australian. Then I converted. The ending is the saddest part, when Hugo uses his newly acquired Christian skills to baptize himself to death.
9. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a silent movie about people who get off on rubbing on other people in tightly-packed buses and trains. Filmed as a mockumentary, this is a hilarious look at this disturbing subculture of perverted freaks. Featuring cameos by Michael J. Fox and the ghost of Bernie Mac, this story is great for the whole family and extremely funny and incredibly hilarious (see what I did there?) Rated NC-17.
Well, there you have it. A rundown of all the movies in this category and how good they are. Each one is a work of art and they are all worthy of being chosen as the Best Picture for 2011 (except for Tree of Life). But if I had to pick one to win, I would have to go with a film that was, in my opinion, snubbed and wrong excluded from the category, and that would be The Twightlight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. Go team Edward!*
*Just kidding, that’d be a cruel joke. I actually think that The Human Centipede II should win.