Posts Tagged 'Oscars'

Oscar Movie Marathon: Year 3*

*technically this is my 4th year of doing the movies, but the 3rd year there have been more than 5 and I’ve blogged about it

If you were paying any attention to the world a few weeks ago, you probably knew the Academy Awards happened.  My family continued our tradition of participating in AMC Theaters’ Best Picture Movie Marathon.  This year we had an even bigger group (11!) of family and friends who traveled from out of town or cleared their weekend to watch 9 movies back to back in a 24 hour period.  The marathon started on the Saturday before the Oscars at 11:00 am and ended on Sunday morning around 8:30.  Overall, the 9 movies were great.  I liked them as a whole better than the 10 from the last two years.  Last year wasn’t bad, but I was excited to see more of these movies.

The movies (in the order I saw them) with my thoughts:

Hugo (in 3D)

I enjoyed Hugo but definitely not as much as everyone else.  It’s a good, interesting story, and from what I can remember it was true to the book.  But I just didn’t LOVE it.  I think I had a problem with some of the acting.  There would be some pauses before dialogue or I didn’t understand why Hugo did some of the things he did.  A lot of us picked it for Best Picture though, so if you haven’t seen it, go and make your own decisions.  I give it a 3/5.

The Tree of Life

You guys, I did NOT get this movie at all.  I knew going into it that it was going to be a very unique way to tell a story, but even that didn’t help.  Some of my family had already seen it, and they all really liked it, so they were excited to see it again.  They did say that when they saw it the first time, they discussed it for about 2 hours afterward – which is one of the big problems with doing a movie marathon – no time to digest a film.  Maybe I would have liked it better if I had been able to really talk about it with someone afterward.  I can see why it was nominated.  The three little boys are really great in it too, but I just didn’t get it.  Rating: 1/5

The Help

I really enjoyed this book, but I was really unsure how the movie was going to be, especially after seeing some of the trailers.  It was better than I had expected.  The acting was good, but I’m not sure I was really WOW-ed.  Jessica Chastain was great as Celia Foote though.  It was quite a switch from her role in The Tree of Life but she was great in both.  Not really much to say beyond that; I don’t think it had a shot at winning Best Picture.  Rating: 3/5

The Artist

This movie was great!  I kind of knew I would end up liking it though because I love old black-and-white movies, and this really feels like one of those old classics.  I don’t think I’ve seen a true silent film though, and this was so much fun!  The music is wonderful, the acting is excellent.  (Jean Dujardin is so good!)  I highly recommend seeing it.  Maybe you’ll discover you like the feel of older films.  It’s just a good refreshing alternative to today’s modern films.  I’m really glad it won Best Picture.  5/5!

The Descendants

This film felt similar to last year’s The Kids Are Alright with the family issues.  I liked it a lot, but I didn’t feel it was worthy of the best pick.  It’s set in Hawaii, which was interesting.  The acting was good – especially the girls who played George Clooney’s daughters.  I’m always impressed with child actors – when they’re good.  Consider yourself warned that George Clooney looks much older than you’ve ever seen him.  Movie rating; 4/5.

Midnight in Paris

This is the only film I had seen before we started.  I enjoyed it just as much, probably a little more, than the first time.  It’s a great throwback to the people, culture, life of Paris in the ’20s.  I won’t tell you much more, and I don’t suggest looking into the film much before you see it.  And you should see it.  It’s a wonderfully fun, kind of quirky film. Rating: 5/5

War Horse

I have to admit that this was probably the film I was least interested in seeing.  I’m not really a big animal movie fan, and I don’t know much about or am really interested in horses.  That said, it was better than I expected.  A little long at times, but it’s covering World War I, so there’s a little bit of an epic feel.  See it if you’re interested in horses, WWI, or need to see all of Spielberg’s films.  FYI: I think this was one of the films where afterward we played “Did you spot the Harry Potter actor/actress?”  Rating: 2/5


Besides animal movies, I’m not much of a sports movies fan.  However, it did hold my interest most of the time – toward the end, they show a lot of clips of a game, and I may have started to doze a little bit.  Of course, this one started at 4 am, so that probably had more to do with it.  It probably held my interest so much because Aaron Sorkin was one of the screenwriters, and I love the way he writes.  The acting is pretty good – both Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are good, but I didn’t expect either to win.  The best part of the movie may have been the girl who plays Brad Pitt’s daughter who plays guitar and sings Lenka’s “The Show” a few times.  She is SO GOOD!  Oh and Chris Pratt shows up in this movie.  It’s kind of weird to see him play a real adult when you’re used to Andy Dwyer, but he was great too.  Rating: 3/5

 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Since I absolutely LOVE this book, this movie was one I was most interested (and scared) to see.  I didn’t expect much going in, since I’d read some less-than-great reviews, but I was pleasantly surprised.  There are several things different, but I think I can live with it for the movie.  I know a lot of people didn’t like the movie, but I think it’s because they haven’t read the book.  It’s hard to get the full picture when you’re missing the other peoples’ stories that help tell the complete story.  Still, the movie hits pretty close to the tone and emotions for Oscar’s story in the book.  Thomas Horn who plays Oscar is phenomenal.  I wish he had earned some kind of recognition for his acting.  Fun fact: He won the Kids’ Jeopardy tournament.  🙂  Rating: 4/5.

Has anyone seen any of these yet?  What did you think?

– Jill

Family Traditions – Oscar Movie Marathon

If you’re a long-time reader of our blog, you’ve probably seen my two previous posts about the Oscar Movie Marathon that I’ve attended.  But it actually started before then…

As far as I can tell, the marathon hosted by AMC began in 2008 with 5 Best Picture nominees (2007 movies):  No Country for Old Men, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, and There Will Be Blood.  My aunt and cousin Jess attended that one that started it all.

The next year, my aunt, cousin Josh, and I realized we’d be in the same area when the 2009 (2008 movies) Best Picture marathon would occur.  The movies?  Milk, The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, and Slumdog Millionaire.  Now I actually only saw the last 4 because I, with the other NerdGirls, was busy MEETING MEG CABOT but I remember thinking that 4 movies in a row was pretty intense.

Then came 2009, when the Academy decided to increase the number of Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10.  We were all atwitter to find out how AMC would run their marathon.  They soon announced that they would break it up between 2 Saturdays (5 movies each) and people could opt for 1 or both days OR you could go hardcore and watch all 10 in a 24-hour period.  Not only did my aunt, cousin Josh, and I decide to do the 24 hour marathon, but my cousin Jess and sister Jamie decided to join us.  And yes, it was intense and disorienting, but it was also awesome.  Not only did I got to see all of the “best” movies for the year, but I got to do it with some pretty cool people and discuss our opinions instantly with each other.

This year the 2010 movies were again 10 and we all decided to continue the tradition of attending the 24-hour movie marathon.  And we also added on 2 people, friends, that meant we had a group of 7.  Again, it was awesome.  And watching the movies all together just before the Oscars made watching the Oscars a lot of fun.  Although the wine, various delicious cheese and veggie dips, bingo, and prizes probably helped make our Oscar party fun too…

So, if you like to see great movies and are up for intense, but fun!, situations, think about joining us next year for the 24-hour movie marathon in Chicago.  🙂

– Jill

I Still Have a Girl Crush on Anne Hathaway

I totally and  completely love Anne Hathaway.  She is one of my favorite actresses and I think she is one of the most beautiful women in the world.  So pretty!!!!

I am excited and terrified for her because she is hosting the Oscars with James Franco.  This is like a really big deal!  I assume she is one of the youngest hosts ever, if not the youngest.  Normally I watch awards shows with the sound off because it is just way too awkward to listen to celebrities try to read from a teleprompter (it’s not that hard people!!!!) and engage in funny banter (that is never actually funny).  Plus, the only reason to watch any of those shows is to see how beautiful (or awful) everyone looks.

Well, this year I might have to listen to the show as well just to support Ms. Hathaway in her efforts.  I have a good feeling that she and James are going to make a good team.  I have always been kind of iffy towards James Franco, but the promos for the show give me hope that he is going to be great too.

Here is the first ad that aired for the show.  There is a split second when Anne screams that she is totally Mia Thermopolis.  I love it!!

Heeheeheee…..I also think the other promo is cute too.

So I will be watching on the 27th, hopefully to see The King’s Speech kick some ass!  Will you be watching Anne and James?


Oscar Movie Marathon

A few weekends ago I watched 10 movies in one day.  You think I’m crazy now, right?  It was for AMC Theater’s Best Picture Movie Marathon.  This is the fourth year they’ve hosted a Best Picture marathon, but the first year there have been 10 films.  My older sister, two cousins, an aunt, and I spent about 24 hours in a movie theater – ok, well, we did run out a few times to walk around and get real, non-theater food, but the first movie started at 12:01 AM Saturday morning and the last one ended around 11:45 PM Saturday night.

But you know, it really wasn’t that bad.  After the first few, when it was finally Saturday morning and I knew it was light outside, I wasn’t as tired.  There were definitely some times when I closed my eyes for a little bit and just listened to the dialogue, but I never fell asleep.  Basically I was awake from 7 AM Friday morning until about 1:45 AM Sunday morning.  That’s the longest I have ever been awake, and I probably will only do it again for a good reason.  Like next year’s Best Picture Movie Marathon.  🙂

Here are the films I saw and what I thought.  Spoiler-free!

On the upper half of the poster are the faces of a man and a female blue alien with yellow eyes, with a giant planet and a moon in the background and the text at the top: "From the director of Terminator 2 and Titanic". Below is a dragon-like animal flying across a landscape with floating mountains at sunset; helicopter-like aircraft are seen in the distant background.  The title "James Cameron's Avatar", film credits and the release date appear at the bottom.


Plot (from imdb):  A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.

Opinion (of me):  Not impressed.  It probably didn’t help that there was so much hype, but I was not a fan of this movie.  It was too long, too preachy, and not unique.  I admit the special effects were good, but after awhile I started to get bored and just wanted it to end.

UP (3D)

Plot:  By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn’t alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.

Opinion: This is the only one I had seen before, and I still liked it a lot the second time.  The animation was still cool, the funny parts were still funny, and the sad parts were still sad.

A man standing on the roof of a house


Plot:  A black comedy drama centered on Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern professor who watches his life unravel through multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking for meaning and answers he seems to stay stalled.

Opinion:  I hadn’t really heard anything about this one, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I ended up liking it a lot though.  There were several funny parts, which I appreciated.  And the ending left me…surprised.

On dirty dusty ground a black and white target practice poster of a bipedal insect-like creature stands, riddled with bullet holes. Barbed wire runs behind the poster and a large circular spaceship hovers in the background.


Plot:  An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.

Opinion:  Really good.  I love films shot like a documentary.  If you’re ok with movies about aliens, I recommend it.


Plot:  In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis.

Opinion:  Great!  One of my favorites of the whole day.  I’m not a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino (or Brad Pitt movies lately for that matter), but this movie is really good.  Christoph Waltz, who won the Oscar for Best Actor, totally deserved it.  Totally.  Brad Pitt was actually really good in this too.  The movie is funnier than I expected, and I love it for that.  I would watch this again…and I don’t watch too many recent movies more than once.


Plot:  The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.

Opinion:  I’m not a big fan of sports movies, but this one was better than I expected.  Everyone in it was great – I was kind of surprised by Tim McGraw – and Sandra Bullock deserved her Oscar win too.  Not a spectacular movie, I’m not sure it would be included if there were only five films nominated, but overall good.


Plot:  A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age.

Opinion:  I didn’t know much about this one before seeing it either, but it was good too.  It was an interesting story, the acting was good, and the plot had a surprising twist.


Plot:  In Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Opinion:  This is the one I least wanted to see, but after watching it, I’m glad I did.  It’s good.  It’s very tough to watch and see what her life is like, but it’s really well done.  Mo’Nique = incredible.  P.S.  If you watch this, keep your eye out for Lenny Kravitz.  I was the only one who caught him in it.  Oh, and Mariah Carey’s in it too.  But not Alicia Keys, even though I SWORE she was the teacher.  Apparently, it’s not.

The poster of an airport window looking onto the tarmac with a Boeing 747 at the gate. An airport sign at the top: "George Clooney", "Up in the Air", "From the Director of 'Juno' and 'Thank You For Smoking'". Three travelers silhouette from left to right: Natalie Keener (Kendrick), Ryan Bingham (Clooney), Alex Goran (Farmiga). At the bottom, tagline: "The story of a man ready to make a connection." and "Arriving this December".


Plot:  With a job that has him traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham leads an empty life out of a suitcase, until his company does the unexpected: ground him.

Opinion:  Loved it!  Right up there with Inglorious Basterds, with this one maybe slightly ahead because it’s less violent and easier to watch.  George Clooney is great in it, but Anna Kendrick is amazing.  I had a soft spot for her before this movie because she’s so funny in Twilight and New Moon, but she really gets to shine in this movie.  Great movie all around; I’d definitely watch it again and highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet.

From above a flat and dry desert floor, a person in a green military uniform with heavy padding holds red wires attached to seven pill-shaped bomb canister scattered around him. At the top of the poster are three critics' favorable opinions: "A near-perfect movie," "A full-tilt action picture," and "Ferociously suspenseful." Below the quotes is the title "THE HURT LOCKER" and the tagline, "You don't have to be a hero to do this job. But it helps."


Plot:  Iraq. Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

Opinion:  Another film I didn’t know anything about before I saw it.  And another film that was good and I’m glad I saw it, but I’m not sure I’d see it again.  It was suspenseful and the acting was good, but I have issues with the cinematography and I got a little confused during parts of the story.  I expected it to win though because of the subject.  It is a good movie, and I think everyone should see it since it shows you part of the Iraq War.  I could go on since it reminds me of what we talked about in my film class in college, but I’ll spare you.  🙂

That’s it!  All 10.  Have you seen any of these?  What did you think?

– Jill