OMG, you guys — the Academy Award nominees will be announced on Thursday! Time to get your scorecards ready, settle down in front of the television, see that there’s a Hoarders marathon on Bio, and then forget about this until you see it on Google News sometime next week. Let’s get down to our picks.
- Magic Mike
- The Dark Knight Rises
- A Fantastic Fear of Everything
- The Five Year Engagement
- 21 Jump Street
I chose these films because they were the only ones I saw in 2012. I rented 21 Jump Street from our public library eight months after its U.S. premiere. I watched the first three-quarters of The Five Year Engagement on an airplane until my daughter woke up from her nap, and finished it two months later on a different airplane flight. The rest I saw in theaters.
One of the things people don’t tell you about having children is that, for most parents, going to the movies really just doesn’t happen anymore. If my husband and I were passionate cinephiles, the kind of people who read film blogs and know about upcoming movies even before their ads appear at bus stops, then we would probably make more of an effort to include them in our lifestyle. As people who enjoy movies a completely average amount, however, the economics of post-baby movie dates simply don’t work.
Between the cost of four hours of babysitting (travel time to and from the theater, ticket purchase, previews, film, one trip to the restroom) and the staggering price of London movie tickets (up to $29 each), a trip to the movies for two of us is about a $125 investment. Figures like that really make a person question how badly they need to see Sparkle.
Note: I may have seen another movie while visiting family in California this summer but I can’t remember what it was. In trying to recall it my husband and I had the following conversation via text.
— Besides Batman, what did we see in CA?
— I don’t remember, sorry.
— That may have been the only one.
— I thought we might have seen two, did you see any at the cheap theater?
– –I can’t remember.
Let’s assume that this elusive seventh movie was forgettable enough not to include in our Best Picture nominees. Also, if there’s an exact opposite of “sexting,” that conversation might be it.
Best Actor: Christian Bale, The Dark Knight Rises. This is more of a compensatory Oscar for his unrecognized work as Laurie in 1994’s Little Women, like Denzel Washington’s Oscar for Training Day that was really for The Hurricane. My husband sold me on going to see The Dark Knight Rises by pointing out that it starred Tom Hardy, because he knows I really enjoy watching films with Tom Hardy in them. Yes, Tom Hardy is technically in this movie, but in a way that wastes everything I most enjoy about Tom Hardy films. Totally specious.
Best Actress: Emily Blunt, The Five Year Engagement. I chose her for two reasons: This was the only movie of the six in which I can remember a woman doing anything (is this a bad sample, or is the thing about women in Hollywood real?) and this scene with Blunt as Cookie Monster and Alison Brie as Elmo made me laugh harder than anything this extremely primed moviegoer saw all year. Relevant to this discussion of my current relationship to pop culture is the fact that I heard the Cookie Monster cover “Share it Maybe” before I heard “Call Me Maybe,” and when I hear the song now the first thing that comes to mind is still
Me just met you
and this is crazy
but you got cookie
so share it, maybe.
Best Supporting Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike. I have been on the record with my support of McConaughey for the Oscar since I saw this movie. Who else is on deck for this one? Robert De Niro? Philip Seymour Hoffman? That’s nice. It’s McConaughey’s year.
Best Supporting Actress: Alison Brie, The Five Year Engagement (see above)
Best Costume Design: Simon Pegg’s underpants, A Fantastic Fear of Everything. We bought discount movie tickets on Groupon, and this was the least-terrible movie playing in the very narrow window in which these Groupons were valid. We left A Fantastic Fear of Everything thinking it was great. We still drop it into conversations so that we sound like people whose weekends are full of Ethiopian restaurants and quirky independent films. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 41 percent rating. I look at the Internet, and people say that maybe this wasn’t the best movie of the year. Maybe not even a really good one. Huh.
This is a good example of the Mamma Mia! principle: A friend of mine with two kids saw this on her first trip to the movies in more than a year and found herself thinking, This is the greatest film ever made. Later it occurred to her that, wonderful as Meryl Streep is, her assessment of the film might have been biased by the sheer joy of leaving her house. Takeaway: Simon Pegg = great! Simon Pegg + sitting quietly in the dark for two hours without being harassed for more juice = astounding.
Best Screenplay: Wired magazine, for Argo. Great as the movie is, the Wired article by Joshuah Bearman that inspired the screenplay is even better. Runner-up is 21 Jump Street, for this line: Stop f—ing with Korean Jesus! He ain’t got time for your problems!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, sums up 2012 as a year.