Friday, January 23, 2015

Can we talk for a second about the final scene of American Sniper?

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Whew..... So I just got home from the theater.  I will have some very long thoughts upcoming about my feelings on this film, but for now I really need to get something off of my chest.  Spoilers unrelated to the central plot of American Sniper follow below...

******  SPOILERS *****  SPOILERS *******

The final scene of Clint Eastwood's film begins with Bradley Cooper portraying a happy and healthy Chris Kyle (permanently home after his multiple tours in Iraq) sneaking through the house playfully with a revolver in hand.  This is a real revolver and obviously not a toy.  He gestures to his 6 or 7-year-old daughter (playfully, again) to be quiet, steps over his 11 or 12-year-old son who is playing video games, and enters the kitchen to "sneak up" on his wife.  He points the gun at her, cocks it (you clearly see him pull back the hammer), and jokes to her "drop your panties".   They have an adorable, innuendo-laced, short conversation all the while with a cocked revolver in Cooper's right hand.  He then realizes it is time for him to leave.  He rushes out of the house (for what is pretty clearly a day-long excursion) and places the gun on the top of a cabinet beside the doorway.

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!  WHAT!?!?!?!?  WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Problem #1:  GUNS ARE NOT TOYS!!!!  My Dad taught me this at a very young age.  If the character were holding a plastic cowboy toy with a red tip, this scene would've been a little cute (still a bit strange, but cute nonetheless).  This man was playing with a REAL handgun in front of his two children!!!!

Problem #2: YOU ALWAYS ASSUME A GUN IS LOADED!!!!  Yet another lesson that even hyper-liberal-old-me learned as a child.  It is never mentioned whether or not the gun was loaded, but it absolutely DOES NOT MATTER!!!  You never EVER cock a gun and point it at someone unless you intend to KILL THEM.....

Problem #3:  If you absolutely must have firearms in the same house as your children, THEY SHOULD BE LOCKED UP!!!!!  Especially if you leave the house!!!!  The news is littered with stories of kids stumbling across guns and killing themselves, a sibling, or a friend.  Even the most conservative card-carrying members of the NRA should be a little squeamish to see a father leave his two young children playing in a room next to a room with an unlocked handgun...

I have absolutely no idea what Eastwood was going for with this final scene.  Maybe I missed something and there is some symbolic meaning in the portrayal of the treatment of firearms by the supposedly-cured-of-PTSD Chris Kyle.  Feel free to respond if you have some explanation for this scene.  I am sincerely dumbfounded......

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Oscar Ballot

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Oscar nominations come out on Thursday!!!  I don't have a real ballot (YET!), but here is what my nomination ballot would look like for 2014 if I did:

Best Picture: Selma
Best Director: Richard Linklater - Boyhood

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Best Actress: Jenny Slate - Obvious Child
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton - Birdman
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game
Best Original Screenplay: Top Five
Best Cinematography: Birdman

Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Film Editing: Boyhood
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score: Birdman
Best Original Song: "Glory" - Selma
Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound Editing: Guardians of the Galaxy
Best Sound Mixing: Into the Woods

Best Visual Effects: Guardians of the Galaxy
Best Animated Feature: Big Hero 6

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Golden Globe Extravaganza

For me, this Sunday night's Golden Globes award show is the beginning of a two month thrill-ride to try to see as many movies as possible to prepare for Oscar night (the "real awards"). Still, even with the "ugly" stepsister level of notoriety the actual show is a whole lot of fun.  I'll certainly be there as Amy and Tina guide us through the best of movies and TV from 2014.  Here are my quick thoughts on each category so that you can dominate your office Golden Globe pool (which most certainly does not exist).  NOTE: This is probably the hardest awards show to predict because: 1. It's still relatively early in the season, 2. I haven't seen quite a  few of the films, and 3. The voters are the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who tend to oftentimes have a much different view of what constitutes a good film or performance.  "My Pick" is who I think will win. "I'm rootin' for" is pretty self-explanatory. "Shoulda been here" represents who I think got snubbed or deserved recognition.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
My Pick: Selma
I'm rootin' for: Boyhood
Shoulda been here: Most of my favorites that I've seen are either comedies or are already listed here.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
My Pick: Reese Witherspoon - Wild
I'm rootin' for: Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Shoulda been here: Scarlett Johannsen - Under the Skin

Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
My Pick: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
I'm rootin' for: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything\
Shoulda been here: Ellar Coltrane - Boyhood

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
My Pick: Birdman
I'm rootin' for: Pride
Shoulda been here: Chef

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
My Pick: Amy Adams - Big Eyes
I'm rootin' for: Quvenzhane' Wallis - Annie
Shoulda been here: Jenny Slate - Obvious Child

Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
My Pick: Michael Keaton - Birdman
I'm rootin' for: Michael Keaton - Birdman
Shoulda been here: Jon Favreau - Chef

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
My Pick: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
I'm rootin' for: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Shoulda been here: Imelda Staunton - Pride

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
My Pick: Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
I'm rootin' for: Edward Norton - Birdman
Shoulda been here: Chris Pine - Into the Woods

Best Animated Film
My Pick: The Lego Movie
I'm rootin' for: Big Hero 6
Shoulda been here: none; these 5 are perfect

Best Director - Motion Picture
My Pick: Richard Linklater - Boyhood
I'm rootin' for: Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Shoulda been here: James Gunn - Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
My Pick: Boyhood
I'm rootin' for: Boyhood
Shoulda been here: The One I Love

Best Original Score
My Pick: Interstellar
I'm rootin' for: Birdman
Shoulda been here: Big Hero 6