Dress: Ann Taylor Loft;
Tights, boots: Target.
The "Best Picture" Showcase Part One at AMC Theater was so much fun yesterday! As I mentioned in my last post, AMC Theaters does a movie marathon every year with the movies nominated for the "Best Picture" Oscar. Because there are 10 nominees this year, the marathon was split up over two weekends, and Saturday was Part One. I went with Jeremiah and his sister, Rachel this year.
1) Unlimited Coke Zero and popcorn for the day. I have a soda addiction and this was not helping, but boy was it great to break the rules Saturday. After years of going to this movie marathon, I knew to pace myself because if you don't, you seriously start twitching during the fifth movie.
2) Winning trivia three times. We each answered a question correctly and won prizes! It almost wasn't fair, but since we've been doing this for four years now we knew to study up on our Oscar/movie trivia during the year. I won a "Precious" poster, Jeremiah won a "This is It" Michael Jackson shirt (ha I'm keeping that for myself) and Rach won a "Team Edward" shirt, and we all got movie tickets. I think Jeremiah and I are going to use ours on "Alice in Wonderland" (!!) and "Shutter Island."
3) Talking to some other movie goers who were just as enthusiastic about the Showcase. One of them had gone to the Showcase a couple of times before so we got to chat about "The Reader" (both our favorite from the previous year).
4) Finding this "Alice in Wonderland" poster and wanting to pose next to Johnny Depp. Sorry for the lighting in the pictures but finding this giant poster was enough to brave unflattering lighting. You'll notice that I'm wearing my "go-to" outfit for The Dress Project -- I wanted to be as comfortable as possible at the movies but still retaining a bit of my personal style. I'm not wearing any jewelry -- who wants to get popcorn butter on that?
Here are my thoughts on the movies I saw yesterday. No spoilers, I promise.
1) "Avatar": I will admit, I wanted to hate this movie because I am an unashamed movie snob. Going into it, I thought it was overhyped and I was biased in thinking it would be a teched-up Pocahontas story. And in a way, it was on the latter. Jake Sully is a handicapped Marine in the year 2154 who is pulled into an expedition to the planet Pandora after his twin brother, a Ph.D scientist who experimented with avatar technology, dies. Sully is trained to use his brother's avatar body to communicate and ingratiate himself into the Omaticaya native clan, so that humans can drill for the nearby natural minerals. I ended up thinking the movie was better than my expectations. The story was engaging, the visuals were stunning and it was suspenseful the entire time. The 3D imagery was impressive because this is one of the first movies to use it extensively, but it wasn't as if I felt like I was there along with the action and it certainly was not the strongest part of the movie -- the visuals of Pandora's nature were. Because of the strength of imagery, technology and likable plot, I wouldn't be surprised if this won "Best Picture" (as of right now, it's one of the front-running contenders). (I also kept my 3D glasses because they were cool-looking.)
2) "Up in the Air": I had already seen this earlier in the year, so you can read my thoughts on it here. I will say that a second viewing of it made me like George Clooney's performance even more.
3) "Precious": Oh, what to say about this movie. "Precious" is the story of an overweight, black and sexually abused teenager Precious Jones who daily struggles with her home life, school aspirations and second pregnancy. She spends some of her time daydreaming about having a better life -- by having a light-skinned boyfriend with a motorcycle, walking the red carpet or being a blond, skinny teenager. Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique's performances were especially strong, thought-provoking and real (I think Sidibe is deserving of the "Best Actress" win, and Mo'Nique is surely a lock for "Best Supporting Actress"). Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz are almost unrecognizable and transformed in their roles. I also really liked Paula Patton's performance as an alternative school teacher. Make no mistake -- this movie is depressing and poignant and deals with the heavy subjects of sexual abuse and poverty. I spent some of the movie crying and peering through my eyes during suspenseful moments. It's worth seeing at least once for Sidibe's and Mo'Nique's performances alone.
4) "The Blind Side": By the time this movie came around, it felt lighthearted considering the heavy subjects that "Up in the Air" and "Precious" had tackled. This one is based on the true story of Michael Oher, an NFL quarterback who escaped childhood poverty when a wealthy and supportive Memphis family welcomed him into their home and eventually adopted him. Quinton Aaron did a fantastic job as Oher, and Sandra Bullock was funny and believable as the whip-smart adoptive mother Leigh Anne Tuohy (she's up for "Best Actress"). I don't know if I see this as a big "Best Picture" contender, though, because at times the dialogue and the scenarios were sappy and predictable, but it was enjoyable. As an alumna from an SEC university, some of my favorite scenes include cameos from coaches from some of the SEC schools, as well as ESPN football analyst Lou Holtz.
5) "Inglourious Basterds": My favorite movie in this entire lineup -- Quentin Tarantino did not disappoint. This movie is based on a revisionist history look at World War II. It involves two concurrent plots in occupied France -- in which a Jewish American Allied squad and a French theater operator both plan to kill Nazi leaders. As a history junkie and Tarantino fan, this may be my favorite movie of his since "Pulp Fiction" (and that's saying a lot, because I loved the "Kill Bill" series). The visuals, the dialogue, costumes, action and performances were amazing, and as with most Tarantino films, the concurrent plotlines were funny, suspenseful and well-written and acted. Christolph Waltz is up for "Best Supporting Actor" for his role as a Nazi officer and if he doesn't win I will be really sad. Brad Pitt's, Diane Kruger's and newcomer Melanie Laurent's performances were great as well. I really loved this movie and though it may not have a chance to win the "Best Picture" Oscar ("Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" are the favorites right now), I would be incredibly happy if it did. Seriously, go watch the previews, read the IMDB entry and find a way to watch this movie soon.
Overall, it was a great day and the best part is that I get to do it all again next weekend with Part 2 of the Showcase. Because there are 10 "Best Picture" nominees this year, AMC split up the marathon to two weekends. Next up will be "An Education," "District 9," "A Serious Man," "The Hurt Locker" and "Up." Yay!
Edited to add: In case any of you are interested in doing Part 2 of the AMC "Best Picture Showcase," many cities around the U.S. are participating, so you can check here to see if a theater near you is doing it next week. I know some theaters did a 24-hour marathon this past Saturday, but many are still showing half the nominated movies this upcoming Saturday.